The Massacre of ABDACOM: The Destruction of the United States, British, Dutch and Australian Forces by the Japanese In World War II Paperback – 10 Sep 2013
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About the Author
J. Lee Ready was recognized by the US Government as the foremost historian of the international aspect of World War Two. Author of several books, he has also been an historical adviser for BBC documentaries. His work was fundamental in enabling the British government to change the law so that Nazi war criminals could be arrested and tried in the UK. He was chosen by President Clinton to be one of the historians for the fiftieth anniversary of the D-Day landings. J. Lee Ready has earned praise from such noted historians as John Ellis, Martin Gilbert, H. P. Willmott and David Cesarani. Whereas author Kenneth W. Estes can't wait to attack Ready's ideas and does so in the preface to his 'A European Anabasis'. J. Lee Ready is an alumnus of the Preston Catholic College, Institute of Applied Science Chicago, the University of Tulsa and the University of Liverpool. TRIVIA: 1:Was once imprisoned in the Tower of London. 2:Was involved in diplomatic incidents with Lebanon and Ghana. 3:Was charged with treason and murder by the US Army. 4:Was a BBC correspondent. 5:Was asked to work for the Queen of England and turned her down.6: Was part of a team targeted by the IRA [Irish Republican Army]. 7: Served as a US Army radar operator watching the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. 8: Was in the 1962 film 'A Kind of Loving'. 9: Worked on a ranch. 10: Attended an English 'Public School' [that means a private school]. 11: Designed a sidewalk in Germany, which is still there. 12: Tried his hand at motor racing. 13: Witnessed the Mexican Rebellion of 1968. 14: Is a cousin of Theodore Roosevelt. EXPLANATIONS 1:With other tourists during a bomb scare. 2: Two car wrecks with two ambassadors. 3:The MPs jumped the gun. There was no murder and no treason. 4:True. 5:True. 6:See IRA campaign during the 1st Gulf War. 7: True. 8: Unpaid extra. 9:True. 10: One of two Yanks at the school. 11: Hanover. 12: No trophies. 13: Right place, wrong time. 14: 5th twice removed.
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Ready pulls no punches in naming officers and soldiers,sailors & aircrew who he believes don't live up to the requirements of their rank and responsibilities which is quite refreshing.
The whole campaign is covered in minute detail, day by day which beats most other histories covering this period.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you were looking for great depth to this tragic tale of mismatched ships and non-existent staff this is not the work for you. It does, briefly, go into ABDA afloat - the naval aspect of this first attempt at combined command - but paradoxically the author has a more ambitious goal ... to look at the air and land aspects before and after the Japanese attack against the ABDA powers. The focus is on the higher level attempts to coordinate the Allied response and the failures therein on Air, Land and Sea.
The author spares little sympathy for the horrid combat command history of Percival (nor should he in my opinion) and at the same time shows the deep seated distrust and suspections which plagued the British-American attempts during these critical months. He highlights a 'defensive retreat'mentality, which served only the Japanese well, that had sway with people like Percival, Wavell, Heath and Hutton. McArthur, at first, attempted to use a counter-attack strategy which would have worked well with 1944 US Marines but doomed with 1941 raw troops. The confusions and excessively long retreats that resulted would eventually place too many men and too little supplies in the Bataan sack.
The author touches upon the dichotomy of Whitehall and Churchill's efforts in the Far East, where much of Britain's most critical raw materials were located, sending in trusted theater commanders(such as Wavell)but little in up to date equipment or trained personnel. Trusting to numbers of poorly equipped raw troops, rather than the combination of material overload and battle tested troops that were to later win the war, and a "C-list" of battlefield commanders which made the defense of Malaysia a study in how not to win a war. The author shows the misteps and poor leadership that created the raw material for the hell of the Thai-Burma railroad. We are accustomed in today's age that our troups are well educated (or indoctrinated) as to the nature of their enemy and what they could expect in the way of treatment. The total lack of this, despite almost 10 years of bloody demonstration in China, helped to sow the seeds of defeatism and low unit cohesion in Malasia. The Dutch record in Indonesia, where their colonial grip literally melted away, is hardly worth mentioning but the author does cover what little there was.
The author touches upon McArthur's imperial command style, which totally disregarded not only the British but Washington as well, but goes a little easy on his poor decisions which lead to vacillation and eventually the overrunning of the Philippines.
The author gives a good insight on how decisions made early in 1941 set the groundwork for the Japanese to pull off the unbelievable and dominate all of Oceania to Australia and into the Eastern Indian Ocean with no help from their erstwhile allies and against the premier powers in Asia.
I would recommend this work for those who are interested in this phase of the Pacific War.
A point what I missed in the book is that, at least as far as I know, the Dutch navy and the Netherlands East Indies air force had spoilt so much of their resources in defending Singapore that a feasible defense of the Dutch East Indies was no longer a plausible opportunity.
Another point which struck me was the often displayed unwillingness of local troops to fight. This was already a point noticed in Dutch history of the period, but this book showed me that it was also a problem in tyhe other armies. Of course there are execptions like the Mendonese soldiers in defending Tarakan.