Guadalancal was a pivotal World War II battle in the Pacific Theatre - a hotly contested struggle between the Japanese and American forces for possession of a small airstrip on a beautiful but blood-soaked atoll of Solomon Islands. History has confirmed that the island campaign was both symbolically and strategically the turning point of the Pacific war. Following their defeat here, Japan, which had been on the offesnsive since Pearl Harbor, would move into defensive position and the United States would assume the offensive, never to yield it until the end of the war. As a press officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, Merillat was particularly well positioned to record the military action, in both the command head-quarters and on the front lines. His combat memoir offers on-the-spot reportage of the beachhead assault by marines in August 1942; the Allied loss of four cruisers in sea battles with Japanese torpedo planes; the ground action at the Battle of Bloody Ridge; the four Japanese counter-offensives and repulsions; the American victory following six exhaustive months; and, afterwards, the island's conversion into a major base of Allied operations.
A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a graduate of the National War College, and a Sterling Fellow at Yale Law School. Herbert Christian Merillat has had a varied carter in international affairs as a writer, lawyer, government official, and administrator. He is author of eight books, including Land and the Constitution in India and The Gnostic Apostle Thomas.