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Extended Audio Sample The Pacific: Hell Was an Ocean Away Audiobook, by Hugh Ambrose Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,984 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hugh Ambrose Narrator: Mike Chamberlain Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9781101154663
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In this companion to the HBO® miniseries—executive produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman—Hugh Ambrose reveals the intertwined odysseys of four US Marines and a US Navy carrier pilot during World War II.


Between America's retreat from China in late November 1941 and the moment General MacArthur's airplane touched down on the Japanese mainland in August of 1945, five men connected by happenstance fought the key battles of the war against Japan. From the debacle in Bataan, to the miracle at Midway and the relentless vortex of Guadalcanal, their solemn oaths to their country later led one to the Great Marianas turkey shoot and the others to the coral strongholds of Peleliu, the black terraces of Iwo Jima and the killing fields of Okinawa, until at last the survivors enjoyed a triumphant, yet uneasy, return home.In The Pacific, Hugh Ambrose focuses on the real-life stories of the five men who put their lives on the line for our country. To deepen the story revealed in the miniseries and go beyond it, the book dares to chart a great ocean of enmity known as the Pacific and the brave men who fought. Some considered war a profession, others enlisted as citizen soldiers. Each man served in a different part of the war, but their respective duties required every ounce of their courage and their strength to defeat an enemy who preferred suicide to surrender. The medals for valor which were pinned on three of them came at a shocking price-a price paid in full by all.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 2/17/2014

    " This book has really sparked an interest in me to read more about John Basilone's life. It took me a while to get through this one because at times I got distracted with a lot of military jargon details, but the last two acts seemed to pass in a flash. I haven't seen the miniseries; should I? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alana | 2/13/2014

    " I didn't think this was very well-written, I found myself cringing at how I would have written certain passages differently. But I did like learning about the men and their experiences, despite the writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 2/12/2014

    " This is not an easy read at all but worth the time to really understand the daily lives of the soldiers that fought the battles of the pacific theatre during WWII. as with any ambrose, hugh did impeccable research and used several acknowledged books as sources. terrific job. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug Hauser | 2/5/2014

    " It was a good book because I just love ww2 books. It is not the best of books that I have read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jerald Hoskelis | 1/29/2014

    " Very will written history of the pacific war. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 1/27/2014

    " sometimes a book is just a good read, showing the ability to weave together historical accounts. on some level, i guess with the old breed is now ruined for me, but whatever, dollar for money and plenty of pacific war action. 100000 americans died? and technically 67000 dead in vietnam? wow, talk about minimal us involvement in ww2 "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeff Jurewicz | 1/20/2014

    " Same recipe as Band of Brothers except the ingredients aren't as good. There are much better books on the Pacific theatre of war during WW II. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 L13_brian_mihovilovich | 1/16/2014

    " I watched the series as my digital book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tedsandi2000 Kinghorn | 1/3/2014

    " This has some different men in it than the HBO special. It is very interesting and a nice addition to the special. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hunter Michels | 12/24/2013

    " This is a great book about the war in the pacific. there is alot of good details. the book puts you in the action of the intense battles of the war in the pacific. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 7/12/2013

    " I liked this book except that it took longer to read then I expected. I couldn't get into it as much as I thought I would have. I loved reading about WWII and each persons story.... Butbat parts it just dragged on. The mini series was awesome btw.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Racheal | 12/26/2012

    " Yeah - good read, but I, too, could not wait for the war to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendylamb | 10/30/2012

    " I am really enjoying this book. I decided to read it after reading Unbroken. I was worried that it would be a little dry or hard to follow but it has not been at all. So far so good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Levi | 6/20/2012

    " Not as good at this stuff as his dad - an interesting book, but missing the elder Ambrose's touch .. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert Meyer | 5/14/2012

    " Read this at the same time the movie was on TV. Book shared some excellent stories about the heroes of WW II. Fast reading, did not drag as some I've read do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tyrone | 3/13/2012

    " This is a very interesting book that retells the stories of several soldiers during World War Two. Instead of telling battle story, this book covers the whole war, beginning to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brendan | 5/9/2011

    " Fantastic book. Great stories from the letters/journals of the soldiers who fought in the pacific theater. A much better book than the HBO mini-series. Although I preferred Band of Brothers mini-series to the Stephen Ambrose book on which it was based. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeff | 3/29/2011

    " Same recipe as Band of Brothers except the ingredients aren't as good. There are much better books on the Pacific theatre of war during WW II. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trey | 2/27/2011

    " Intense and sobering. A read that makes me very appreciative of my grandfather’s generation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 2/17/2011

    " Great overview of the war in the Pacific. How lucky is my generation to have missed WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. My generation is a bunch of softies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harris da Ninja Chief | 1/24/2011

    " It was a great book a bout the horrors of the pacific war but it also has some outside of the war experience. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Peter | 1/18/2011

    " The imagination was not as lively as I hope it to would be. Though the history blend in nicely with each indiviual cast it is still worth to read.Band Of Brothers was a hugh success as this book was not able to capture the essence of the cast narrative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin "El Liso Grande" | 1/15/2011

    " This is not an easy read at all but worth the time to really understand the daily lives of the soldiers that fought the battles of the pacific theatre during WWII. as with any ambrose, hugh did impeccable research and used several acknowledged books as sources. terrific job. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kendall | 1/7/2011

    " While not thrilled with the way the book was written reading about the war in the Pacific while living in Guam was fascinating. "

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About the Narrator

Mike Chamberlain is an actor and voice-over performer in Los Angeles whose audiobook narration has won five AudioFile Earphones Awards. His voice credits range from radio commercials and television narration to animation and video game characters. Stage trained at Boston College, he has performed works from Shakespeare and the classics to contemporary drama and comedy.