To the generation of Americans who lived through it, the Second World War was the defining event of the 20th century, and the defining events of that war were played out in the year 1942. It was a time when an unexpected attack on American territory pulled an unprepared country into a terrifying new brand of warfare with a ruthless enemy. Soon after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, German U-boats were sinking hundreds of US merchant ships, some right off the American coast. In the Pacific, Japan's Army and Navy far outmatched those of the United States and was threatening the American mainland from Alaska to the Panama Canal. The beginning of 1942 was a relentless cataract of defeats. The Japanese annihilated MacArthur's 130,000-man army in the Philippines and set into motion the infamous "Death March" on Bataan. Hong Kong fell, followed by Malaya, with its vast natural resources, and then Singapore itself. By May, it appeared to many that the entire Western Pacific, including Australia would be in Japanese hands. Then, in June, the tide began to turn. In this riveting account, acclaimed novelist and historian Winston Groom relates the story of 1942 as it has never been told before, with an accomplished storyteller's eye for the time's fascinating tales and characters -- from the great leaders of the 20th century to war heroes such as Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, who led a daring revenge raid on Tokyo, to lesser-known but equally fascinating characters such as Claire "High Pockets" Phillips, an attractive actress and dancer who, after her husband was killed while a prisoner of war, used the nightclub she ran in Manila to front a spy-and-supply ring that got desperately needed items into the POW camps and probed Japanese intelligence officers for vital information. 1942 tells the story of America's most critical hour -- a year of perseverance, courage, and ingenuity in the face of great odds, during which America rose against adversity and displayed the qualities that have made her what she is to this day. - Jacket flap.
Presents an account of America's early efforts in World War II and portrays 1942 as a year of perseverance, innovation, tactics, tragedy, and triumph and the defining act in the great drama of the war.