Review:

 
"The 25 Best World War II Sites – Pacific Theater" by Chuck Thompson (San Francisco: Greenline, 2002), 242 pages.
   
The Pacific counterpart to the book by the same author about European WWII sites. As such it is, especially from a European's point of view, the more exciting volume, covering much more exotic locations. And again, apart from mere battle sites and war cemeteries, the book also covers otherwise deeply dark sites such as the Death Railway/Kanchanaburi in Thailand, Nanjing in China, Changi prison in Singapore and, most importantly: all the various sites associated with the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the war. This includes not just coverage of a wide range of sites within those cities (not just the prime museums, also many smaller places – although a number of school memorial sites in Hiroshima are omitted!), but also those associated with the flight operation to deliver the bombs, in particular the island of Tinian, where both bombers were loaded and from where they took off. In the chapter about the Marshall Islands there is also a section about Bikini, which is of course more infamous as a nuclear test site of the Cold War era. Conversely, the book goes beyond the narrower scope of its title in that it also covers a few sites in mainland USA, including the National Atomic Museum and the USAF Museum (but, somewhat strangely, not the Trinity site).
  
The approach/structure of the book is the same as in its European Theater counterpart, i.e. short assessments are given in prose and in a star rating, and practical info such as directions, opening times and prices noted – but given the date of publication (2002) much of this is quite outdated and in need of a new, revised edition. Hopefully, we will see one appearing in the not too distant future.
  
For the dark tourist, this volume of the two WWII-travel books by Chuck Thompson is probably even more exciting as it covers more non-battlefield-related sites, unusual destinations, and some of these including places in seriously exotic locations. Many of the latter, however, will be pretty much out of reach for most travellers … but it sure provides inspiration for extreme travel "dreaming". 
 
   
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