More Tales from a Constant Reader: Progress on ‘Twilight of the Gods’ & a Bit of Melancholy

(C) 2020 W.W. Norton & Company

Hi, there, Dear Reader. As I write this, it’s still early afternoon on Thursday, September 10, 2020. In my neck of the suburbs – so to speak – it is a typically hot late summer day; the temperature outside is 90˚F under mostly cloudy skies. According to my smartphone’s AccuWeather app, the “feels-like” temperature is 99˚F thanks to high humidity and becalmed winds. Per the hourly forecast graphic, it looks like we will have scattered thunderstorms around 7 PM (Eastern), but nothing more serious than that.

I’m making progress with Ian W. Toll’s Twilight of the Gods: The War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945. I’ve read eight chapters so far, and so far the book has kept me riveted with its mix of battle narratives, personality profiles, and the interweaving of politics, economics, and the divide between civilians on the “home front” and the sailors, soldiers, airmen, and Marines in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

Toll has done an excellent job telling the story of the last year of the war between Japan and the United States; it is mostly a “Big Picture” history rather than a Band of Brothers-type book that focuses on the trials and tribulations of a specific unit or the minutiae of “what it was like for the average American or Japanese military member to be at war in the Western Pacific.” Still, there enough anecdotes that describe specific details of the experience of war to give readers some idea of what it was really like at the Battle of Leyte Gulf or the typhoon that could have cost Admiral William F. Halsey his command due to poor decision-making that led to the loss of several U.S. destroyers and heavy damage to various other warships,

I’m past the chapters about the Leyte Gulf battles and the start of Japan’s kamikaze campaign; I’ve read about the U.S. Navy’s successful use of submarine warfare to destroy the Japanese merchant fleet and sever the vulnerable shipping lanes between Japan’s 1941-1942 conquests in Southeast Asia – especially the oil fields of Borneo and the Dutch East Indies – and the Home Islands. By the time I put the book down to take a shower, get dressed, and have some lunch, the U.S. had secured the island of Leyte and Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific forces were fighting with Japanese defenders near Manila, on the Philippine island of Luzon.

Other than that, I don’t have much to tell. I’m feeling somewhat melancholic about things lately; I miss my mom – she died on July 19, 2015 after a long and debilitating fight with dementia and other ailments – and my old neighborhood. I know that the townhouse I inherited from Mom had too many issues that were beyond my abilities (physical, emotional, and especially financial) to deal with alone, but I do regret not owning my own space and living independently. I try not to dwell on it, but every so often I am reminded that when I was in the townhouse, I could do my own grocery shopping, prep my own meals, and watch my favorite TV shows and not have to answer to anyone else.

Oh, well. It was not meant to be that way, I suppose. Still, I often think that if I had gotten that sixth number on a winning Florida Lotto ticket in January of 2016, I could have had the townhouse remodeled and renovated, and I would still be living there.  

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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