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Sidney C. Philips, an easygoing Alabama teenager, enlisted along with a friend. 'Manila John' Basilone was the son of immigrants who found happiness in the rough-and-ready life of a marine. Eugene B. Sledge watched his best friend and brother go off to war - and finally rebelled against his parents to follow them. 'Shifty' Shofner was the scion of a prominent family with a long record of military service. Ensign Vernon 'Mike' Micheel left the family farm to complete flight school. Between America's retreat from China in late 1941 and the moment that MacArthur's plane landed in Japan in August 1945, these five men fought many of the key battles of the war in the Pacific. Here, Hugh Ambrose focuses on their real-life experiences and those of their fellow servicemen, enhancing and expanding upon the story told in the HBO miniseries. Covering nearly four years of combat with unprecedented access to military records, letters, journals, memoirs, photographs and interviews, this volume offers a unique historical perspective on the war against Japan, from the debacle in Bataan to the miracle of Midway, the relentless vortex of Guadalcanal, the black terraces of Iwo Jima and the killing fields of Okinawa - and ultimately the triumphant yet uneasy return home. These are the true stories of the men who put their lives on the line for their country, who were dispatched to the other side of the world to fight an enemy who preferred suicide to surrender; men who suffered hardship and humiliation in POW camps; men who witnessed casualties among soldiers and civilians alike; and men whose medals came at a shocking price - a price paid in full by all.