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Joseph H. Alexander

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Colonel Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (ret.) served in the Marine Corps for twenty-eight years and fought in Vietnam. He is the author of the award winning Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa and six other books. He has helped produce twenty-five military documentaries for cable television and was chief historian on the exhibit design team for the National Museum of the Marine Corps.  Joseph Alexander is the author of Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa; Edson's Raiders: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion in World War II; Storm Landings: Epic Amphibious Battles in the Central Pacific; Closing in: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima; Battle of the Barricades: U.S. Marines in the Recapture of Seoul; The Final Campaign: Marines in the Victory on Okinawa; and, Across the Reef: The Marine Assault of Tarawa.  Colonel Alexander is also the co-author of Through the Wheat: The U.S. Marines in World War I; The Battle History of the U.S. Marines: A Fellowship of Valor; and, Sea Soliders in the Cold War: Amphibious Warfare, 1945-1991.

 

Of Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa, Publisher’s Weekly said, “Alexander, a retired Marine officer and established scholar, uses a broad spectrum of fresh Japanese and American sources to present a gripping narrative of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII in the Pacific theater. At Tarawa in the Kiribati (formerly Gilbert) islands, "uncommon valor was a common virtue" on both sides. But this account is more than battle history. Alexander interprets Tarawa as a military test bed, a validation of the concept of amphibious assault against defended positions. The Marines and the Navy made mistakes but learned from them. Without the experience gained at Tarawa, America's path across the central Pacific would have been longer and bloodier, according to the author. Tarawa was a psychological landmark as well. The savage, close-quarters fighting and high casualties helped solidify the grim determination in the U.S. to prevail over the Japanese.”

 

According to the book description of Through the Wheat: The U.S. Marines in World War I, “U.S. Marine participation in World War I is known as a defining moment in the Marine Corps' great history. It is a story of exceptional heroism and significant operational achievements, along with lessons learned the hard way. The Marines entered World War I as a small force of seagoing light infantry that had rarely faced a well-armed enemy. On a single June day, in their initial assault 'through the wheat' on Belleau Wood against German machine-guns and poison gas shells, the Marines suffered more casualties than they had experienced in all their previous 142 years. Yet at Belleau Wood, Soissons, Blanc Mont, St. Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne the Marines proved themselves to be hard-nosed diehards with an affinity for close combat. Nearly a century later Belleau Wood still resonates as a touchstone battle of the Corps.

 

Two retired Marines, well known for their achievements both in uniform and with the pen, have recorded this rich history in a way that only insiders can. Brig. Gen. Edwin H. Simmons and Col. Joseph H. Alexander recount events and colorful personalities in telling detail, capturing the spirit that earned the 4th Marine Brigade three awards of the French Croix de Guerre and launched the first pioneering detachments of 'Flying Leathernecks.' Here, hand-to-hand combat seen through the lenses of a gas mask is accompanied by thought-provoking assessments of the war's impact on the Marine Corps.”

 

According to the book description Storm Landings: Epic Amphibious Battles in the Central Pacific, “The Pacific War changed abruptly in November 1943 when Adm. Chester W. Nimitz unleashed his Central Pacific drive, spearheaded by U.S. Marines. The sudden American proclivity for bold amphibious assaults into the teeth of prepared defenses astonished Japanese commanders, who called them "storm landings" because they differed sharply from earlier campaigns. This is the story of seven now-epic long-range assaults executed against murderous enemy fire at Tarawa, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa - and a potential eighth, Kyushu. The author describes each clash as demonstrating a growing U.S. ability to concentrate an overwhelming naval force against a distant strategic objective and literally kick down the front door. The battles were violent, thoroughly decisive, and always bloody, with the landing force never relinquishing the offensive. The cost of storming these seven fortified islands was great: 74,805 combat casualties for the Marines and their Navy comrades. Losses among participating Army and offshore Navy units spiked the total to 100,000 dead and wounded. Award-winning historian Joseph Alexander relates this extraordinary story with an easy narrative style bolstered by years of research in original battle accounts, new Japanese translations, and fresh interviews with survivors. Richly illustrated and abounding with human-interest anecdotes about colorful "web-footed amphibians," Storm Landings vividly portrays the sheer drama of these three-dimensional battles whose magnitude and ferocity may never again be seen in this world.”


Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa
Joseph H. Alexander  More Info

Through the Wheat: The U.S. Marines in World War I
Edwin H. Simmons  More Info

Edson's Raiders: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion in World War II
Joseph H. Alexander  More Info

Storm Landings: Epic Amphibious Battles in the Central Pacific
Joseph H. Alexander  More Info

The Battle History of the U.S. Marines: A Fellowship of Valor
Joseph H. Alexander  More Info
Sea Soliders in the Cold War: Amphibious Warfare, 1945-1991
Joseph H. Alexander  More Info
Closing in: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima
Joseph H. Alexander  More Info
Battle of the Barricades: U.S. Marines in the Recapture of Seoul
Colonel Joseph H. Alexander  More Info
Across the Reef: The Marine Assault of Tarawa
Joseph H. Alexander  More Info
The Final Campaign: Marines in the Victory on Okinawa (Marines in in World War II Commemorative Series)
Joseph H. Alexander  More Info

According to the book description of Edson's Raiders: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion in World War II, “This is the story of the remarkable men of 1st Marine Raider Battalion, known by the name of its founding commander, the legendary jungle fighter Merritt A. "Red Mike" Edson. Edson's Raiders provided the vanguard of a U.S. Marine Corps experiment with special lightly-armed, mobile "commando" units in the Pacific. From 1942 to 1943, these highly trained volunteers fought seven critical battles in the Solomon Islands--with names like Tulagi, Tasimboko, the Matanikau River and the Dragon's Peninsula. They were desperate, bloody affairs fought against some of the most experienced jungle fighters in the Japanese empire. Twenty-four Raiders fought with such valor that they had ships named in their honor, all but one posthumously. Joseph Alexander provides an abundance of first-person accounts from Edson to such hard-nosed NCOs as Angus Goss, Walter Burak, and Anthony Palonis. His portrayal of the Raiders' defense of Guadalcanal's Henderson Field along an elevation known ever since as Edson's Ridge, shows why that three-day conflict became an indisputable touchstone of Marine Corps history.”

 

Tim Hogan of Amazon.com said of The Battle History of the U.S. Marines: A Fellowship of Valor, “Marines have fought and died for the United States since the Revolutionary War. "There is a fellowship of valor that links all U.S. Marines, past, present, and future," observes Joseph Alexander, through more than two centuries of battles in the air, on land, and at sea, from their inauspicious genesis as an unimpressive gang of seagoing musketeers to their present standing as the deadliest amphibious force in the world. This common virtue of uncommon valor links proud generations of warriors who have earned the right to wear the eagle, globe, and anchor on their collars and over their hearts: from Captain Samuel Nicholas, the first senior officer of the Continental marines, to Captain Randolph Guzman, killed in the terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City; from Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham, the first marine aviator, to Opha Johnson, the first Lady Leatherneck.

 

As Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons writes in his foreword, "Marines are not noted for their modesty." The same sentiment was also phrased in less diplomatic terms by President Harry S. Truman: "They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's," the commander in chief remarked during the Korean War. Marines are smug about their collective accomplishments, to be sure: esprit de corps, they call it. They are quick to educate the ignorant that the history of the United States would be much different if not for the United States Marine Corps. Alexander, a 28-year veteran of the corps, is no exception. The retired colonel takes obvious and unapologetic pride in the legendary mystique of "the Few and the Proud." His narrative is not a dry textbook compilation of footnoted factoids so much as a gung ho war story--drenched in blood and sweat and delivered with swagger for the transcendent glory of the corps--whose chapters read like a night of beers at the local VFW. Though incurably biased, the award-winning military historian has created a thoroughly researched and meticulously detailed account of the battles fought by those who are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.”

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