[Hell Wouldn't Stop]

"When I started reading Hell Wouldn't Stop, I thought I'd scan a few pages. When I finished reading all of it and looked at my watch, it was 12:55 a.m. . . . (These) marines tell their stories 'the way it was.' Required reading for anyone interested in Wake Island and life as a POW of the Japanese during World War II."

[Hell Wouldn't Stop]
[Hell Wouldn't Stop]

"Reading the accounts of torture and horrid working and living conditions, and the lack of food can be difficult, but it is necessary to understand this generation's sacrifices."

"As a member of the Wake Island marine force, it is enlightening to read (the eyewitness accounts in Hell Wouldn't Stop) and to realize what was happening around me on the Entire island. The author is to be praised for his perseverance in collecting and compiling this information."

This gritty, poignant sometimes disturbing oral chronicle reconstructs one of the first and most devastating military engagements in World War II -- the battle for Wake Island -- in the words of the U.S. servicemen who survived it and the hellish aftermath. Among those men stood author Chet Cunningham's older brother, Kenneth, then barely eighteen and a private in the U.S. Marine Corps.

For Kenneth Cunningham and the 387 other U.S. marines in the battalion stationed on Wake Island in the Pacific, World War II began on December 8, 1941, just five hours after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. It ended on December 3. That day the marines on the tiny atoll—their twelve Wildcat fighter planes lost, their forces diminished, their communications down-faced an overwhelming enemy invasion, with the Japanese arriving in so many ships that, as as one eyewitness put it, they could have walked from one to the other on the open sea. Private Cunningham and his fellow servicemen fought intrepidly, against impossible odds, until their commanding officers ordered them to surrender. Their term in hell, though, had just begun.

No sooner had the marines laid down their arms than they were stripped of all their clothes. With their hands bound behind the back, they sat naked for two days in the hot sun; at night they shivered in the cold. After that they slogged and slept in the ruins of their bombed-out camp, until January 12, when they were jammed into the hold of the ship that would take them to prison camps in China and Japan. Forty-four months later, liberated at last from the cruel indignities and grim torture of their captors, they would return home unheralded and largely forgotten.

Now, in the words of soldiers, sailors, and marines who were bravely and unforgettably there—at Wake, at Woosung and Kiangwan, at Hokkaido and Omori—Hell Wouldn't Stop records their often horrific, frequently heroic World War II story and gives all the veterans of Wake Island their long-overlooked due.

[Hell Wouldn't Stop]
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Chet Cunningham, Is Proud To Present
Hell Wouldn't Stop
An Oral History of the Battle of Wake Island

Cunningham Books
8431 Beaver Lake Drive
San Diego CA 92119


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