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Publisher's Summary

On November 20, 1943, in the first trial by fire of America’s fledgling amphibious assault doctrine, 5,000 men stormed the beaches of Tarawa, a seemingly invincible Japanese island fortress barely the size of the 300-acre Pentagon parking lots. Before the first day ended, one-third of the marines who had crossed Tarawa’s deadly reef under murderous fire were killed, wounded, or missing. In three days of fighting, four Americans would win the Medal of Honor and six thousand combatants would die.

Now, Colonel Joseph Alexander, a combat marine himself, presents the full story of Tarawa in all its horror and glory: the extreme risks, the horrific combat, and the heroic breakthroughs. Based on exhaustive research, never-before-published accounts from marine survivors, and new evidence from Japanese sources, Colonel Alexander captures the grit, guts, and relentless courage of United States Marines overcoming outrageous odds to deliver victory for their country.

Colonel Joseph H. Alexander (Ret.), a combat veteran who served in the Marine Corps for 28 years, is the author of six books and has helped produce 25 military documentaries. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

©1995 Joseph H. Alexander, 2009 by Findaway World, LLC (P)2009 Findaway World, LLC

Critic Reviews

“The first complete and definitive account of the Battle of Tarawa.” (Major General Mike Ryan, USMC [Ret.], Navy Cross recipient)
“A gripping narrative of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII in the Pacific theater.” ( Publishers Weekly)
“Without a doubt the best narrative of the struggle ever produced.” (Richard B. Frank, author of Guadalcanal)

What listeners say about Utmost Savagery

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Iain
  • Iain
  • 23-02-2011

The Definitive Battle History of Tarawa

Col. Alexander's "Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa" is the definitive battle history of this epic event. It is my understanding that he worked closely with historian Richard B. Frank and was able to tap into newly translated official Japanese war histories to uncover the Japanese side of the story. He also drew upon numerous interviews with veteran participants including war correspondent Robert Sherrod who landed with the Marines. Alexander's work is one of the finest battle histories I have ever read. Expertly narrated, I highly recommend this title to anyone interested in WW2 history.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Charles
  • 18-11-2012

Utmost Savagery.

A Great Story about Tarawa and the Pacific War. I like history and espically WW ll in the Pacific so naturally I was drawn to this Book. I would recommend this book to others.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Max M
  • 12-06-2011

Read Like a Military Operation

First off, any book about the island campaigns during WW II should be read. Having said this, I am bit hesitant on one like this, for my tastes. The first several chapters contain a lot of detail about the TO lines of both the US and Japanese forces. For some readers who want to know all the pre-battle unit organizational details this is a must. I prefer to read about the battle itself and the conflicts and struggles of individual Marines during the taking of an objective.
Still a good story and narration by Tom Weiner.

6 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for William R. Todd-Mancillas (Name includes hyphen and camptalized M)
  • William R. Todd-Mancillas (Name includes hyphen and camptalized M)
  • 01-01-2021

Wooden Narration

Mechanical, uninspired, deadened narration is possibly affecting for a mechanical man. All others will perish of boredom.

Content is a laundry list of statistics and tedious descriptions.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patrick
  • 16-10-2020

Outstanding

I have read many stories about Tarawa. This is by far the best. Very detailed and benefitting from post war information about the Japanese side of this epic battle. I highly recommend this text/audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • X
  • 15-05-2011

With the Marines at Tarawa

This is why I listen to books. This little book is densely packed with tons of great research. I tried to read this in print and got stuck. But, on audio, I blew through this book quickly. Terrific history of the nearly 6,000 lives lost on both sides over a couple of days in a fight to the death on the most heavily defended atoll in the Pacific, an island battleground that is the size of the parking lot at the pentagon. Impeccably researched. Well written. Boldly narrated, Very entertaining.

3 people found this helpful

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  • shelby larch
  • 25-03-2021

Outstanding

This a great story of why beforehand, the grueling ballet and after action and analysis. Having read numerous biographies and books on this theater I found this to be out...standing.

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  • Hunter D'Antonio
  • 19-03-2021

Extremely comprehensive!

Great book and loaded with details. Really puts into perspective all the moving parts of the action at Tarawa. Sometimes it was hard to follow along with all the details but that could also be me losing focus.

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  • ROBERT WILLIAM STEVWING JR
  • 04-03-2021

History of Battle

If interested in history of Pacific war this is a book for you to read or hear.

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  • Matt
  • 05-01-2021

Military history

This is a good book if you are interested in military history and battle facts. This is not a personal account of the battle but rather an account from reports.

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