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THE THOUSAND-MILE WAR: World war II in Alaska and the Aleutians
- 2007-2008 bestselling title from University of Chicago / University of Alaska Press

For years this dramatic history has been its publisher's bestselling title. The campaign in the Aleutian Islands was the only campaign of World War II fought on the United States' own North American soil. Brian Garfield's account is based on official U.S., Canadian and Japanese records (some of which had to be declassified for his use) and on personal interviews and letter-correspondence with many of the participants. The book -- documented in detail, and illustrated with numerous photographs -- brings a savage war to life. It is a stunning achievement.


Publisher's summary:


Since its first printing in 1969, THE THOUSAND-MILE WAR has been acclaimed as one of the great accounts of World War II. Brian Garfield brought his skills as an author of narrative fiction to the history of the Aleutian Campaign, putting together careful research and powerful storytelling to produce this compelling account of the battles of the United States and Japan on the bitter rim of the North Pacific.


Garfield, a novelist and Hollywood screenwriter whose works have sold some 20 million copies, was searching for a new subject for a World War II novel when he came upon the story of the "Forgotten War" in Alaska. He found the account of the brave men who had served in the Aleutians so compelling and little known by the public that he wrote the full-length history of the Aleutian Campaign.


The war in the Aleutians was fought in some of the worst climatic conditions on earth for men, ships and airplanes. The sea was rough, the islands craggy and unwelcoming, and enemy number one was always the weather - the savage wind, fog , and rain of the Aleutian chain. The fog seemed to reach even into the minds of the military commanders on both sides, as they directed men into situations that so often had tragic results.


Now, half a century after the war ended, more of the fog has been lifted. For the original edition of THE THOUSAND-MILE WAR author Garfield studied the documentary record available on both sides of the Pacific and fleshed out the statistics and formal accounts with personal stories garnered from interviews, letters, and diaries of the participants. With this Classic Reprint edition, he has been able to incorporate many illustrations, including once classified photographs, and to add new information provided by the men who fought in and survived the war in the Aleutians. His aim to replace the so-called "Forgotten War" with a clear view of the big picture of Alaska's island war is now even more well realized.


The narrative follows the campaign chronologically, tracing the events that eventually combined to dash Japanese hopes of a quick victory while a surprised America was still reeling from the disaster at Pearl Harbor. Frustrating, befuddling, and still the subject of debates, the Aleutian campaign nevertheless marked an important turn of the war in favor of the U.S.

--University of Alaska Press