World War II was a watershed event for the people of the former Japanese colonies of Micronesia. The Japanese military build-up, the conflict itself, and the American occupation and control of the conquered islands brought rapid and dramatic changes to Micronesian life. Whether they spent the war in caves and bomb shelters, in sweet potato fields under armed Japanese guard, or in their own homes, Micronesians who survived those years recognize that their peoples underwent a major historical transformation. Like a typhoon, the war swept away a former life. The Typhoon of War combines archival research and oral history culled from more than three hundred Micronesian survivors to offer a comparative history of the war in Micronesia. It is the first book to develop Islander perspectives on a topic still dominated by military histories that all but ignore the effects of wartime operations on indigenous populations. The authors explore the significant cultural meanings of the war for Island peoples, for the events of the war are the foundation on which Micronesians have constructed their modern view of themselves, their societies, and the wider world. Their recollections of those tumultuous years contain a wealth of detail about wartime activities, local conditions, and social change, making this an invaluable reference for anyone interested in twentieth-century Micronesia. Photographs, maps, and a detailed chronology will help readers situate Micronesian experiences within the broader context of the Pacific War.
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