Mark Obmascik – The Storm on Our Shores


The heart-wrenching but ultimately redemptive story of two World War II soldiers – a Japanese surgeon and an American sergeant – during a brutal Alaskan battle in which the sergeant discovers the medic’s revelatory and fascinating diary that changed our war-torn societys perceptions of Japan.

May 1943. The Battle of Attu – called The Forgotten Battle by World War II veterans – was raging on the Aleutian island with an Arctic cold, impenetrable fog, and rocketing winds that combined to create some of the worst weather on Earth. Both American and Japanese forces were tirelessly fighting in a yearlong campaign, and both sides would suffer thousands of casualties. Included in this number was a Japanese medic whose war diary would lead a Silver Star-winning American soldier to find solace for his own tortured soul.

The doctors name was Paul Nobuo Tatsuguchi, a Hiroshima native who had graduated from college and medical school in California. He loved America, but was called to enlist in the Imperial Army of his native Japan. Heartsick, wary of war, yet devoted to Japan, Tatsuguchi performed his duties and kept a diary of events as they unfolded – never knowing it would be found by an American soldier named Dick Laird.

Laird, a hardy, resilient underground coal miner, enlisted in the US Army to escape the crushing poverty of his native Appalachia. In a devastating mountainside attack in Alaska, Laird was forced to make a fateful decision, one that saved him and his comrades but haunted him for years.

Tatsuguchis diary was later translated and distributed among US soldiers. It showed the common humanity on both sides of the battle. But it also ignited fierce controversy that is still debated today. After 40 years, Laird was determined to return it to the family and find peace with Tatsuguchis daughter, Laura Tatsuguchi Davis.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Obmascik brings his journalistic acumen, sensitivity, and exemplary narrative skills to tell an extraordinarily moving story of two heroes, the war that pitted them against each other, and the quest to put their past to rest.

Author: Mark Obmascik
Narrator: John Bedford Lloyd
Duration: 9 hours 2 minutes
Released: 19 Sep 2004
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Language: English

User Review:

point-of-view pedagogical

I’m really not sure why I’m the first one on Audible and second on Goodreads to write a review on “The Storm on Our Shores”. This book was recently released a few days ago and 60 Minutes even had a segment on Attu and the forgotten battle in World War II. Mark Obmascik is even a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and yet there is no solid reviews.

“The Storm on Our Shores” is one of the best history books that I’ve ever read on WWII. I’ve always had an instant infatuation on this war because no matter how much I read and studied, there is always untold stories to be told. Unlike other wars, WWII had two combat enemies. Germany and Japan. Hitler and his ruthlessness has been retold over and over, but there is very little information on the battle with the Japanese.

This book is awesome. Not only Mark Obmascik explains what happened on Attu island, but he also introduce the two soldiers on opposite side of the line and their life before the gun fire. This book is more about the diary that Tatsuguchi wrote while he was in combat. He only served in the Japanese military because he was called on. Tatsuguchi was an American at his heart because he had a life in California and went to medical school before he got enlisted.

I could had easily finish this book within a day. This was the most excellent information on Attu because Obmascik reported this forgotten war flawlessly. Excellent information on racism for the Japanese in the States after the war too.

If my review doesn’t compels you to listen or read “The Storm on Our Shores”, then I have failed to write a five star review. I wouldn’t be surprise if Mark Obmascik will win another Pulitzer for this book.