Given Up for Dead by Bill Sloan
America's Heroic Stand at Wake Island

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A gripping narrative of unprecedented valor and personal courage, here is the story of the first American battle of World War II: the battle for Wake Island. Based on firsthand accounts from long-lost survivors who have emerged to tell about it, this stirring tale of the “Alamo of the Pacific” will reverberate for generations to come.

On December 8, 1941, just five hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese planes attacked a remote U.S. outpost in the westernmost reaches of the Pacific. It was the beginning of an incredible sixteen-day fight for Wake Island, a tiny but strategically valuable dot in the ocean. Unprepared for the stunning assault, the small battalion was dangerously outnumbered and outgunned. But they compensated with a surplus of bravery and perseverance, waging an extraordinary battle against all odds.

When it was over, a few hundred American Marines, sailors, and soldiers, along with a small army of heroic civilian laborers, had repulsed enemy forces several thousand strong––but it was still not enough. Among the Marines was twenty-year-old PFC Wiley Sloman. By Christmas Day, he lay semiconscious in the sand, struck by enemy fire. Another day would pass before he was found—stripped of his rifle and his uniform. Shocked to realize he hadn’t awakened to victory, Sloman wondered: Had he been given up for dead—and had the Marines simply given up?

In this riveting account, veteran journalist Bill Sloan re-creates this history-making battle, the crushing surrender, and the stories of the uncommonly gutsy men who fought it. From the civilians who served as gunmen, medics, and even preachers, to the daily grind of life on an isolated island—literally at the ends of the earth—to the agony of POW camps, here we meet our heroes and confront the enemy face-to-face, bayonet to bayonet.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Bill Sloan

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Bill Sloan is a respected military historian and author of more than a dozen books, including Brotherhood of Heroes: The Ultimate Battle. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
Published December 18, 2007 by Bantam. 562 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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But, writes journalist Sloan, it had been on the Japanese war planners’ map ever since the US Navy authorized the use of its outpost as a refueling station for Pan American Airways’ “China Clipper” service, which the Japanese saw as proof that “Wake was quietly being groomed for future military u...

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Publishers Weekly

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Texas journalist Sloan's excellent research, interviewing and journalistic prose will have readers of this moving book saying it of Wake Island, too: this popular military history is the best account yet of the Battle for Wake Island in December 1941.

Jul 28 2003 | Read Full Review of Given Up for Dead: America's ...

Book Reporter

The "desert island" fantasy is a common enough parlor game in.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Given Up for Dead: America's ...

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