The riveting true account of the Battle of Tarawa, an epic World War II clash in which the U.S. Marines fought the Japanese nearly to the last man.

In November 1943, the men of the 2d Marine Division were instructed to clear out Japanese resistance on the Pacific island of Betio, a speck at the end of the Tarawa Atoll. When the Marines landed, the Japanese poured out of their underground bunkers—and launched one of the most brutal and bloody battles of World War II. 

For three straight days, attackers and defenders fought over every square inch of sand in a battle with no defined frontlines, and where there was no possibility of retreat—because there was nowhere to retreat to. It was a struggle that would leave both sides stunned and exhausted, and prove both the fighting mettle of the Americans and the fanatical devotion of the Japanese.

Drawn from new sources, including participants’ letters and diaries and exclusive firsthand interviews with survivors, One Square Mile of Hell is the true story of a battle between two determined foes, neither of whom would ever look at the other in the same way again.
“Naval historian John Wukovits writes about the bloody Tarawa fight as though he had gone ashore with the Marines...a worthy memorial to the Marines who fought there.”—Herman Wouk

“This fast-paced chronicle of courage is a must read.”—Lt. Col. Oliver L. North

“The best book I have ever read about the battle for Tarawa….His vivid account of this horrific amphibious campaign is must reading for all Marines and World War II history buffs.”—Gunnery Sgt. Jack Coughlin, USMC (Ret.), author of Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper

“In this remarkable book, we smell the sulfurous stink of artillery, hear the impact of bullets into flesh, and taste the bitterness of blood....We owe a debt to Wukovits for reminding us of the American heroes who gave every ounce of their strength and courage to kick open the gate to Tokyo.”—Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys