• Into the Rising Sun

  • World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat
  • By: Patrick K. O'Donnell
  • Narrated by: Jeff Riggenbach
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (440 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Patrick K. O'Donnell has made a career of uncovering the hidden history of World War II by tracking down and interviewing its most elite troops: the Rangers, Airborne, Marines, and First Special Service Force, forerunners to Americas's Special Forces.

These veterans were often the first in and the last out of every conflict, from Guadalcanal and Burma to the Philippines and the black sands of Iwo Jima. They faced a cruel enemy willing to try anything, including kamikaze flights and human-guided torpedoes. As O'Donnell explains in the introduction, most of the men in this book were at first reticent to talk. Over the course of the war, they had spearheaded D-Day-sized beach assaults, encountered cannibalism, suffered friendly-fire incidents, and endured torture as prisoners of war. Heroes among heroes, they include many recipients of the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and other medals of battlefield valor, but none bragged about it. As one soldier put it, "When somebody gets decorated, it's because a lot of other men died."

By telling their stories, these men present an unvarnished look at the war on the ground, a final gift from aging warriors who have already given so much. Only with such accounts can the true horror of the war in the Pacific be fully known.

©2002 Patrick K. O'Donnell (P)2002 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Those seeking the uncensored truth and a dose of military history will not be disappointed." (AudioFile)
"A superior addition to World War II oral archives." (Booklist)
"Succinct historical narratives help set the stage for these eyewitness accounts....This important work preserves these veterans' shocking and moving stories for generations to come." (Library Journal)

What listeners say about Into the Rising Sun

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Vet accounts = 5 stars; Narrator = 1 star

Another reviewer was correct; the stories from the vets were amazing, but the somewhat long-winded overviews at the beginnnings of the chapters were often said again later, word for word. Add to that the narrator's monotone, constant mispronunciation of the word "corpsman" (hint: it's CORE-man) and some sloppy editing and you've got something that detracts from otherwise excellent source material: the stories of the vets themselves.

Overall, I found it worth listening to, but not a great audio production. 3 stars.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Tedious and repetitive

I really wanted to enjoy this book, but each anecdote started with the narrator describing what the eyewitness was going to say. Then the story from the veteran. You have to listen to the same story, twice. This is fine for people with very short attention spans but if you're going to pay attention to your audiobook, this is not a title for you.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

World War II in the Pacific up close

This books gives a view of World War II in first hand accounts stitched together by a narrative that puts the events in the larger context. It is realistic, wrenching and full of every day as well as extraordinary heroics that rangers, marines, paratroopers and others in the front line brought to the war in the Pacific. It is read in the same matter-of-fact tone that the people telling the events seemed to have. Hearing it makes it even more effective because it's like the you are hearing the men themselves tell their stories. A great audiobook.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Great idea - terribly executed.

Great idea - terribly executed. It is very repetitive covering the same ground two and sometimes three times. Also the intro says it is for Audible kids - the graphic descriptions of events within the stories being told by veterans is NOT something kids should be hearing in this way.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

disappointing

I was looking forward to this book, i am a fan of oral histories as well as WWII. This just missed the mark.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tough story to hear but masterfully done

I am so glad I added this to my queue, but I can’t say it was easy to listen to. So many war time accounts are tempered down to make it appropriate for a wider audience. This is definitely not a book for children or even for a casual reader. The book includes graphic descriptions of war-time injuries, cannibalism, mercy killings and torture. The book describes war with a very different culture with different values, ethics and practices. It also describes the effect of war on normal people put in impossible situations.

The book is intended for someone wanting or needing to get the unvarnished truth about the cost and effect of war on the men (and now women) fighting it during and after the war.

This should be required reading (or listening) for anyone considering
serving in the military and especially anyone that may send young men and women into combat. The cost goes much deeper than dollars and lives (injuries and deaths) because war changes people permanently and the government has an obligation to those affected by serving in combat.

I’m glad I listened to the book. I had to stop listening before meals and bedtime because of the graphic nature of the book. This was the most difficult book for me to read (listen), but I’m glad I took the time.

Thank you for making it available.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Navy Corpsman

I wish this reader would find out how to pronounce “corpsman” correctly. He is not the only one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome

Great insight of the Pacific Theatre. If you are interested in WW2, especially the PTO, this is a must read for you!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unbelievable

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the civilians and military personnel that experienced war. I agree with many of the reviewers with the critiques of the narrator; however, the personal stories are well worth listening to 🙏🏽

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

outstanding book

outstanding book, I love to hear about our history from vetrans that lived it, I believe that that world War two Vetrans and that generation of people are the greatest that every live

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Profile Image for Ken McIntosh
  • Ken McIntosh
  • 10-16-21

Optional?

Great story but unfortunately it's narrated by a terminal bore that doesn't do justice to the men and their heroic actions.

4 people found this helpful