World War II was raging in the Pacific. The tide was turning, and this was the first assault of the island-hopping campaign that would roll up Japanese control of vast areas of the Pacific. Tarawa Atoll was heavily fortified in preparation for an attack, and the Japanese commander was confident it would "take a million men a hundred years" to conquer the Japanese defenders. American Marines and Navy secured the atoll in just 76 hours of bitter close combat, and nearly all of the Japanese fought to the death. This is the story of what was once a sleepy British colony that would experience the ravages of war. The islanders were forever changed by the exposure to technology, different foods, and dependency.