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Tower of Skulls: Book summary and reviews of Tower of Skulls by Richard B. Frank

Tower of Skulls

A History of the Asia-Pacific War, Volume I: July 1937-May 1942

by Richard B. Frank

Tower of Skulls by Richard B. Frank X
Tower of Skulls by Richard B. Frank
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Book Summary

An eye-opening, pathbreaking account of the onset of the Asia-Pacific War, by the acclaimed author of Downfall and Guadalcanal.

In 1937, the swath of the globe east from India to the Pacific Ocean enclosed half the world's population, all save a fraction enduring under some form of colonialism. Japan's onslaught into China that year unleashed a tidal wave of events that fundamentally transformed this region and killed about twenty-five million people. From just two nation states with real sovereignty, Thailand and Japan, and two with compromised sovereignty, China and Mongolia, the region today encompasses at least nineteen major sovereign nations. This epic World War II narrative describes in exquisite detail the battles across this entire region and links those struggles on many levels with their profound twenty-first-century legacies.

Beginning with China's long-neglected years of heroic, costly resistance, Tower of Skulls explodes outward to campaigns including Singapore, the Philippines, the Netherlands East Indies, India, and Burma, as well as across the Pacific to Pearl Harbor. These pages cast penetrating light on how struggles in Europe and Asia merged into a tightly entwined global war. They feature not just battles, but also the sweeping political, economic, and social effects of the war, and are graced with a rich tapestry of individual characters from top-tier political and military figures down to ordinary servicemen, as well as the accounts of civilians of all races and ages.

Drawing on rich archival research and recently discovered documentary evidence, award-winning historian Richard B. Frank presents the first unified account of this titanic turmoil that gave birth to the world we live in now.

16 pages of photographs; 14 maps

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[T]he definitive account of the first phase of WWII in the Pacific...With copious maps and 160 pages of endnotes, this epic yet accessible account sets a new gold standard for histories of the conflict." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A painful yet riveting history, especially valuable for historians and military buffs." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In Tower of Skulls historian Richard B. Frank has crafted a sweeping epic of the first five years of World War II in Asia, from the horrors of the Rape of Nanking through the catastrophic attack on Pearl Harbor and the tragic fall of the Philippines. In Frank's expert hands readers will be transported from the battered Chinese capital of Chongqing to the roaring cockpits of torpedo bombers swarming the skies over Oahu down to the bloody emergency room where a little girl still clung to a jump rope. In this gripping first volume, Frank promises to do for the war in the Pacific what Rick Atkinson did for Europe." - James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Target Tokyo and Rampage

"This magisterial work swarms with events and personalities, which, with masterly deftness, the author marshals into a powerful narrative that never loses momentum as it recounts calamities familiar (Pearl Harbor, the disgraceful collapse of British-held Singapore) and forgotten (Chiang Kai-shek's breaching of the Yellow River dykes to impede the Japanese advance killed 900,000 people and left 4 million homeless). Vivid, engrossing, and indispensable to an understanding of today's world, Tower of Skulls gives fresh legitimacy to the shopworn encomium 'epic.'" - Richard Snow, author of A Measureless Peril: America in the Fight for the Atlantic, the Longest Battle of World War II

"In this impressive reassessment of the early phases of the Pacific War, Richard B. Frank offers a rare combination of deep scholarship, thoughtful analysis, and compelling prose to illuminate aspects of the war too-often overlooked in Western accounts: China, Malaya, Burma, and Bataan. This is an essential and rewarding work for anyone who wants to understand World War II." - Craig L. Symonds, author of World War II at Sea: A Global History

The information about Tower of Skulls shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Richard B. Frank

Richard B. Frank is an internationally acclaimed historian of the Asia-Pacific War. He was an aerorifle platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, and is the author of Guadalcanal and Downfall. He is a member of the Board of Presidential Counselors of the National WWII Museum.

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