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"Need book recommendations on New Guinea campaign" Topic

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Yellow Admiral08 Nov 2019 9:46 a.m. PST

I'm looking for a good book or three to give me an overview of the WWII campaign for New Guinea.

I'm about halfway through War at the End of the World: Douglas MacArthur and the Forgotten Fight For New Guinea, 1942-1945 by James Duffy. It is a nice overview, but the maps are an unhelpful mess.

Before I build an entire library of experimental purchases, can anyone recommend a book that provides reasonable maps and a good overview of the campaign?

- Ix

Yellow Admiral08 Nov 2019 9:51 a.m. PST

I'm trying to avoid the laborious effort of building the narrative in my own head by reading numerous books on various specific battles and minor campaigns in the New Guinea context. I want research into specific battles to be step two, not step one.

- Ix

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2019 10:15 a.m. PST

General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War 2nd Edition by George C. Kenney

is a good air war book on NG

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Nov 2019 10:48 a.m. PST

The US Army History (Green Books) volumes "Victory in Papua" and "The Approach to the Philippines" have a lot of valuable information on the ground campaign. For the naval aspects I'd recommend Samuel Eliot Morison's "US Naval Operations in World War II" Volumes 6 & 8.

Ryan T08 Nov 2019 12:30 p.m. PST

I'll second Scott's recommendation of the two "Green Books". The maps alone are worth the price. You might also want to look at Stephen Taafe, MacArthur's Jungle War: The 1944 New Guinea Campaign, University Press of Kansas, 1998. For the air war see Lex McAuley, MacArthur's Eagles: The U.S. Air War Over New Guinea, 1943-1944, Naval Institute Press, 2005.

The history of the Australians in New Guinea is well covered by Volumes V, VI and VII of Australia in the War of 19391945. These are available online at: link

daveshoe08 Nov 2019 2:30 p.m. PST

You can see the US Army History books online (that will give you an opportunity to decide if you want to get a hardcopy version) at:

PDF link

I would also suggest that you check the bibliography in the War at the End of the World book. If I recall correctly, there were a lot of good books listed there.

You may also want to look for a copy of Fire and Fortitude

It has some more lower-level battle stuff, but a lot of the book covers what was happening in the Philippines too.

Yellow Admiral08 Nov 2019 3:42 p.m. PST

Thanks for the recommendations. Victory in Papua looks like the kind of book I was seeking.

Ironically, I already have Victory in Papua in Kindle format, but because of the way it was presented and sold, I didn't realize it was one of the "green books", and it has no maps or illustrations. It was a $0.99 USD special, so I guess I can't complain too much.

I just bought Kindle versions of Victory in Papua and The Approach to the Philippines (and Guadalcanal: The First Offensive, because I couldn't resist) which are obviously the "green books", and they have maps and illustrations. Much better.

I was gifted the entire set of Morison's books, but I ran out of shelf space, so they live in a closet. frown The references will help anyway, saving me some time finding the right volumes. (Probably LOTS of time I can't seem to stay focused on a search through those books, because literally every passage is a fascinating distraction that sucks me in…)

I don't have General Kenney Reports or MacArthur's Eagles yet, I'll keep an eye out for those. I'm a big fan of Kenney's air war. I'm still hoping to get a Christopher Shores book on New Guinea and/or the Solomons some day. I have zero interest in the CBI theater, but I've nearly bought his Bloody Shambles series anyway, because I love his work.

- Ix

Wargamer Blue08 Nov 2019 8:11 p.m. PST

"D-Day New Guinea" by Phillip Bradley

"The Toughest Fighting in the World : the Australian and American campaign for New Guinea in WWII" by George H Johnston

"South Pacific Cauldron" by Alan Rems

All great books.

baxterj09 Nov 2019 4:20 a.m. PST

From the Australian angle – A Bastard of a Place – Peter Brune

Ferozopore09 Nov 2019 10:57 a.m. PST

The Jungleers is a history of the 41st Division's operations on New Guinea and in the Philippines. It has maps and, being free, is priced right.:-)

lloydthegamer Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2019 11:39 a.m. PST

Second The Toughest Fighting in the World. Here's some other books: MacArthur's Jungle War, the 1944 New Guinea Campaign written by Zaffe, MacArthur's Victory by Harry Gailey, and MacArthur strikes back: Decision at Buna New Guinea 1942-1943. The best of the bunch was written by General Eichelberger, the general who actually ran the Buna campaign. His autobiography is titled, Our Jungle Road to Tokyo. Notice Mac is not mentioned in the title, but I'll leave you with a quote from the book. Eichelberger was called to Port Moresby by MacArthur. MacArthur made him commander of the ground forces at Buna with these words, "I want you to take Buna, or not come back alive."

TamsinP09 Nov 2019 12:16 p.m. PST

I'll add two more to the list so far, both about Australian forces:

Gregory Blake's "Jungle Cavalry" covers the various actions of the Independent Companies/Cavalry Commandos

Adrian Threlfall's "Jungle Warriors"

And a few for your campaign focused list:

Paul Ham's "Kokoda"

Peter Brune's "Those Ragged Bloody Heroes"

Phillip Bradley's "Wau 1942-43"

Rabelais09 Nov 2019 1:02 p.m. PST

There's an English translation of part of the Senshi Sōsho volumes dealing with Papua:

McWong7309 Nov 2019 11:32 p.m. PST

Bastard of a Place is a must read.

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