100 books like Island Encounters

By Lamont Lindstrom, Geoffrey M. White,

Here are 100 books that Island Encounters fans have personally recommended if you like Island Encounters. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Memories of War: Micronesians in the Pacific War

Lin Poyer Author Of The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War

From my list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands.

Who are we?

We are three anthropologists who have focused decades of research on the cultures and histories of the beautiful part of the world known as Micronesia. We wrote this book when we realized that the many volumes of history on War in the Pacific focused on the combatants, and told us little of the experiences of the Islanders across whose lands, seas, and airspace the war was fought. Kwajalein, Enewetak, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Peleliu, Saipan, Guam, Tinian—these were not just battlegrounds, but also precious homelands. Our goal was to combine documentary history with interviews of more than 300 elders to tell the story of the war in Micronesia as it was experienced by Islanders who lived through it.

Lin's book list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands

Lin Poyer Why did Lin love this book?

In this follow-up to Typhoon Of War, we focus on Micronesians’ memories of World War II—the stories they tell, the songs they sing, and their recollections of those years of trauma and excitement. The book includes many personal stories and describes how Islanders think about the way years, and how they pass on those memories to the next generation. The book reveals much about how Islanders lived through bombing, forced labor, family separation, displacement, invasion, and other stresses of war. The poignant and evocative stories and songs showcase Micronesian cultural themes and verbal artistry.

By Suzanne Falgout, Lin Poyer, Laurence Marshall Carucci

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memories of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Micronesians often liken the Pacific War to a typhoon, one that swept away their former lives and brought dramatic changes to their understandings of the world and their places in it. Yet Pacific War histories scarcely mention the Islanders across whose lands and seas the fighting waged.""Memories of War"" sets out to fill that historical gap by presenting the missing voices of Micronesians and by viewing those years from their perspectives. The focus is on Micronesian remembrances - the ritual commemorations, features of the landscape, stories, dances, and songs that keep their memories of the conflict alive. The inclusion of…


Book cover of Nuclear Nativity: Rituals of Renewal and Empowerment in the Marshall Islands

Lin Poyer Author Of The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War

From my list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands.

Who are we?

We are three anthropologists who have focused decades of research on the cultures and histories of the beautiful part of the world known as Micronesia. We wrote this book when we realized that the many volumes of history on War in the Pacific focused on the combatants, and told us little of the experiences of the Islanders across whose lands, seas, and airspace the war was fought. Kwajalein, Enewetak, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Peleliu, Saipan, Guam, Tinian—these were not just battlegrounds, but also precious homelands. Our goal was to combine documentary history with interviews of more than 300 elders to tell the story of the war in Micronesia as it was experienced by Islanders who lived through it.

Lin's book list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands

Lin Poyer Why did Lin love this book?

Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands experienced Japanese colonial rule, militarization in the build-up to the Pacific War, and invasion and conquest by American forces---followed by exile and relocation so their homeland could be used for nuclear testing. This book describes how they interpret and deal with this history through a three-month-long Christmas ritual that reflects traditional Marshallese culture as well as modern war. Carucci’s sensitive analysis helps us see how cultural rituals enable communities to deal with traumatic pasts, through symbolism, drama, artistic creativity, and humor—including the role of an exploding Christmas tree!

By Laurence Marshall Carucci,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nuclear Nativity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The leading authority on the lifeways of the Enewetak people explores the rituals, customs, and meanings of the Kurijmoj festival. Illuminating the empowering aspects of rituals involved in feasts, competitive games, speeches, dances, songs of apocalypse, and gift giving, Carucci offers a wealth of insights into a celebration the Enewetak people have made uniquely their own.


Book cover of Solomon Islanders in World War II: An Indigenous Perspective

Lin Poyer Author Of The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War

From my list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands.

Who are we?

We are three anthropologists who have focused decades of research on the cultures and histories of the beautiful part of the world known as Micronesia. We wrote this book when we realized that the many volumes of history on War in the Pacific focused on the combatants, and told us little of the experiences of the Islanders across whose lands, seas, and airspace the war was fought. Kwajalein, Enewetak, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Peleliu, Saipan, Guam, Tinian—these were not just battlegrounds, but also precious homelands. Our goal was to combine documentary history with interviews of more than 300 elders to tell the story of the war in Micronesia as it was experienced by Islanders who lived through it.

Lin's book list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands

Lin Poyer Why did Lin love this book?

Anna Annie Kwai is a Solomon Islander historian who brings together documentary historical sources with oral history and personal recollections to tell the story of the war in the Southwest Pacific from the point of view of Solomon Islanders themselves—including the work of the famous “coastwatchers,” the Battle of Guadalcanal, and the rescue of the crew of Lt. John F. Kennedy’s PT-109. An essential addition to the study of the Southwest Pacific war.

By Anna Annie Kwai,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Solomon Islanders in World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Solomon Islands Campaign of World War II has been the subject of many published historical accounts. Most of these accounts present an ‘outsider’ perspective with limited reference to the contribution of indigenous Solomon Islanders as coastwatchers, scouts, carriers and labourers under the Royal Australian Navy and other Allied military units. Where islanders are mentioned, they are represented as ‘loyal’ helpers. The nature of local contributions in the war and their impact on islander perceptions are more complex than has been represented in these outsiders’ perspectives. Islander encounters with white American troops enabled self-awareness of racial relationships and inequality under…


Book cover of Natives and Exotics: World War II and Environment in the Southern Pacific

Lin Poyer Author Of The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War

From my list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands.

Who are we?

We are three anthropologists who have focused decades of research on the cultures and histories of the beautiful part of the world known as Micronesia. We wrote this book when we realized that the many volumes of history on War in the Pacific focused on the combatants, and told us little of the experiences of the Islanders across whose lands, seas, and airspace the war was fought. Kwajalein, Enewetak, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Peleliu, Saipan, Guam, Tinian—these were not just battlegrounds, but also precious homelands. Our goal was to combine documentary history with interviews of more than 300 elders to tell the story of the war in Micronesia as it was experienced by Islanders who lived through it.

Lin's book list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands

Lin Poyer Why did Lin love this book?

Bennett has produced an outstanding tour-de-force integrating the military history of the Central and Southwest Pacific with the new field of war and environment studies. Bennett goes beyond the immediate impact of combat to consider the military use of natural resources, the effect of bases on islands that never saw fighting, the movement of people, plants and diseases, and the politics of how Islander people and places were used in the war. From how foreign imaginations about the tropical environment affected military planning, to the conflict’s real long-term effects on lands and seas, this book adds essential depth to our view of the war years in this region.

By Judith A. Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Natives and Exotics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ambitious in its scope and scale, this environmental history of World War II ranges over rear bases and operational fronts from Bora Bora to New Guinea, providing a lucid analysis of resource exploitation, entangled wartime politics, and human perceptions of the vast Oceanic environment. Although the war's physical impact proved significant and oftentimes enduring, this study shows that the tropical environment offered its own challenges. At the heart of ""Natives and Exotics"" is the author's analysis of the changing visions and perceptions of the environment, not only among the millions of combatants, but also among the Islands' peoples and their…


Book cover of MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific

Gerhard Weinberg Author Of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

From my list on World War 2.

Who am I?

Gerhard Weinberg fled Germany at the end of 1938 and experienced the first year of World War II – including the beginning of the Blitz – in England. He completed his PhD after serving in the US Army of Occupation in Japan, researched the captured German documents, established the program for microfilming them, and after writing an analysis of the origins of World War II decided to prepare a book covering the war as a whole.

Gerhard's book list on World War 2

Gerhard Weinberg Why did Gerhard love this book?

In view of the numerous controversies and varied views of General MacArthur’s actions and policies in the Pacific War, it is great to have a balanced and very carefully researched and presented account of a commander who was in it from Japan’s attack on the United States to Japan’s surrender. While dealing fairly with some of the criticisms of the general, Borneman does note his repeated announcements of battles being ended when they were not as well as the hopeless incompetence of his intelligence chief.

By Walter R. Borneman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked MacArthur at War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

World War II changed the course of history. Douglas MacArthur changed the course of World War II. MACARTHUR AT WAR will go deeper into this transformative period of his life than previous biographies, drilling into the military strategy that Walter R. Borneman is so skilled at conveying, and exploring how personality and ego translate into military successes and failures.

Architect of stunning triumphs and inexplicable defeats, General MacArthur is the most intriguing military leader of the twentieth century. There was never any middle ground with MacArthur. This in-depth study of the most critical period of his career shows how MacArthur's…


Book cover of Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945

Richard Overy Author Of Blood and Ruins: The Great Imperial War 1931-1945

From my list on key moments in World War II and the soldiers who fought in them.

Who am I?

I am a professional historian who has been writing books for more than forty years. Most of the books have been about war and dictatorship in the first half of the twentieth century. My last book, The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945, developed my long interest in air war history, which goes back to my first major book written in 1980 on air warfare in World War II.

Richard's book list on key moments in World War II and the soldiers who fought in them

Richard Overy Why did Richard love this book?

This is simply one of the finest books to be written on the final critical two years of the Pacific War, with extensive detail on the Japanese side of the conflict and plenty of new insights into the better-known American story. It is a big book, but this was a large conflict both in terms of space, time, and the resources deployed. It was also chiefly a story of amphibious naval warfare, an original and significant development in modern warfare that too often gets understated. By the end of the conflict, the American armed forces had created the shape that they were to employ for the next half-century in projecting power overseas.

By Marc Gallicchio, Waldo Heinrichs,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Implacable Foes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day-shortened to "V.E. Day"-brought with it the demise of Nazi Germany. But for the Allies, the war was only half-won. Exhausted but exuberant American soldiers, ready to return home, were sent to join the fighting in the Pacific, which by the spring and summer of 1945 had turned into a grueling campaign of bloody attrition against an enemy determined to fight to the last man. Germany had surrendered unconditionally. The Japanese
would clearly make the conditions of victory extraordinarily high.

Following V-E Day, American citizens understandably clamored for their young men to be shipped…


Book cover of Twilight of the Gods

Daniel Hammel Author Of Two Flags Over Iwo Jima: Solving the Mystery of the U.S. Marine Corps' Proudest Moment

From my list on the war in the Pacific 1941-1945.

Who am I?

I am Daniel Hammel and my father Eric Hammel was a prolific author and military historian. He specialized in the Marine Corps and specifically World War II. Though he has passed, several of these books, especially Day of Infamy, inspired him to become an author, where he wrote over 40 books. This list is an ode to my father, Eric, and to his many accomplishments.

Daniel's book list on the war in the Pacific 1941-1945

Daniel Hammel Why did Daniel love this book?

The third and final book of the epic Pacific War Trilogy, Twilight of the Gods is the story of the crushing of the once venerable Japanese Empire. At just under 800 pages the book describes in the great detail the coming apocalypse for the Japanese war machine. While 1943 was pivotal with the war in the Pacific having essentially been won by the Allies, it was 1944 and 1945 where the real murder of empire happened. In these two years of horrendous fighting, hundreds of thousands died for what was clearly a lost cause. The Japanese tried one last time at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but were massacred by the incredible might of the U.S. Navy and combined forces. Toll brings the reader into the little details of the war, and how they affected everything.

By Ian W. Toll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twilight of the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June 1944, the United States launched a crushing assault on the Japanese navy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The capture of the Mariana Islands and the accompanying ruin of Japanese carrier airpower marked a pivotal moment in the Pacific War. No tactical masterstroke or blunder could reverse the increasingly lopsided balance of power between the two combatants. The War in the Pacific had entered its endgame.

Beginning with the Honolulu Conference, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with his Pacific theater commanders to plan the last phase of the campaign against Japan, Twilight of the Gods brings…


Book cover of Tower of Skulls: A History of the Asia-Pacific War: July 1937-May 1942

Ronald Spector Author Of In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia

From my list on the Asia Pacific War from 1937-1945.

Who am I?

I am Emeritus Professor of History and International Relations at George Washington University. Although I trained at Yale to be a college teacher, I spent most of the first twenty years of my career working in and with the military. I served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam and later as a reservist on active duty during the Grenada –Lebanon Operations in the early 1980s and during the Gulf War.. As a civilian, I worked at the U.S. Army Center of Military History and subsequently as Director of Naval History and of the Naval History and Heritage Command. I  joined George Washington University in 1990. I am the author of six books about military history, two of which, Eagle Against The Sun: The American War With Japan and In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia are directly about the Asia- Pacific War.   

Ronald's book list on the Asia Pacific War from 1937-1945

Ronald Spector Why did Ronald love this book?

Until about twenty years ago writers about World War II tended to treat the contest between the United States and Japan as separate from, and more significant than the other conflicts that engulfed China and Southeast Asia between 1937 and 1945. Today many historians, including almost all academic ones, speak of an “Asia-Pacific War” as a more accurate and appropriate description for this destructive era. Tower of Skulls, is the first general history that not only integrates the conflicts in the Pacific with those in mainland Asia but also demonstrates the close interconnection between them.

The first of a proposed trilogy, Frank’s book covers the period from the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 through Pearl Harbor and the Japan’s conquest of an empire rivaling Genghis Khan’s to the eve of the Imperial Navy’s first setback the Battle of the Coral Sea.  Despite its formidable length, the book…

By Richard B. Frank,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tower of Skulls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1937 the swath of the globe from India to Japan contained half the world's population but only two nations with real sovereignty (Japan and Thailand) and two with compromised sovereignty (China and Mongolia). All other peoples in the region endured under some form of colonialism. Today the region contains nineteen fully sovereign nations.

Tower of Skulls is the first work to present a unified account of the course and impact of this part of the global war. It expands beyond military elements to highlight the critical political, economic and social reverberations of the struggle. Finally, it provides a graphic…


Book cover of Inheritors

Kenan Orhan Author Of I Am My Country: And Other Stories

From my list on polyphonic story collections.

Who am I?

Perhaps because I get bored easily, or maybe because I hear voices, I have found that my writing lends itself to exploration (different points of view, traditions, styles). I write to learn and to play. I distrust writers whose characters all sound like them, live lives like their own. It feels completely unfanciful, completely disinterested in the long literary tradition of make-believe. Writing and reading, at the end of the day, are ways for me to escape boredom meaningfully, and why should I wish to do that with stories that don’t offer up a small amount of the great kaleidoscope that is life?

Kenan's book list on polyphonic story collections

Kenan Orhan Why did Kenan love this book?

Though these stories are actually linked, told over a century and a half through many generations of one family, the characters are so different that what acts as the unifying thread for this book more than anything is its exploration of imperialism’s traumas, perpetrated, experienced, and inherited.

Like my own work that seeks to explore a country’s identity through many different members and eras, Serizawa paints a portrait of Japan before and after the Second World War in breathtaking scope to remind us that events in history have much longer roots and much greater reaches than we recognize. 

By Asako Serizawa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inheritors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the PEN/Open Book Award
Winner of The Story Prize Spotlight Award

A kaleidoscopic portrait of five generations scattered across Asia and the United States, Inheritors is a heartbreakingly beautiful and brutal exploration of a Japanese family fragmented by the Pacific side of World War II. A retired doctor is forced to confront the moral consequences of his wartime actions. His brother’s wife, compelled to speak of a fifty-year-old murder, reveals the shattering realities of life in Occupied Japan. Half a century later, her estranged American granddaughter winds her way back East, pursuing her absent father’s secrets. Decades into…


Book cover of Japan at War 1931-45: As the Cherry Blossom Falls

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

This book follows the course of the Empire of the Sun's ultimately unequal struggle against the great Allied powers. It provides the reader with piercing strategic and political insights which may debunk many of the enduring myths which encompass Japan's apocalyptic drive for hegemony in South East Asia. Why did Japan invade China? Was war with America and the British Empire inevitable? Why was the Japanese mobile fleet defeated so decisively at Midway. Why did the Japanese continue fighting with defeat was inevitable? Was its Emperor merely a puppet of the militarists? Why did the Japanese people acquiesce in the occupation of their homeland? 

This book tells the story.

By David McCormack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Japan at War 1931-45 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This fascinating history, recounted from both the American and Japanese perspectives, follows the course of the Empire of the Sun's ultimately unequal struggle against the great allied powers. Drawing on archive material, this new history provides the reader with piercing strategic and political insights which debunk many of the enduring myths which encompass Japan's apocalyptic drive for hegemony in Southeast Asia. Why did Japan invade China? Was war with America and the British Empire inevitable? Why was the Japanese mobile fleet defeated so decisively at Midway? Why did the Japanese continue fighting when defeat was inevitable? Was Emperor Hirohito merely…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Pacific War in WW2, the Pacific Ocean, and Japan?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Pacific War in WW2, the Pacific Ocean, and Japan.

The Pacific War In WW2 Explore 46 books about the Pacific War in WW2
The Pacific Ocean Explore 48 books about the Pacific Ocean
Japan Explore 462 books about Japan