Serious and casual scholars and readers interested in the Pacific War would do well to commit reading Marc Gallicchio
’s and Waldo Heinrich’s massive study of the conflict’s last two years, Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945
(Oxford University Press, 2017). The two authors, both masters in the field, take on the monumental task of offering a civil-military synthesis of the war against Japan that covers both the home front and the campaigns in exacting detail. Along the way, they introduce readers to a wide range of new and interesting interpretations that both validate and challenge long-held presumptions that have dominated the American historiography since the 1950s. In our conversation, Marc Gallicchio offers several insights into the book, particularly with regard to civil-military relations in time of global total war, the US Army’s role in clearing the Philippines, the problems with the FDR and Truman Administration’s unconditional surrender policy, and the decision to use the atomic bomb. At the same time, Marc shares several interesting insights and anecdotes about the war from the perspective of average Americans – including his co-author’s experiences and observations as a veteran of the 86th Infantry Division – that make this authoritative book so accessible and relevant for the contemporary reader.