Sorry! This site requires JavaScript. Virtually nothing will work without it. Please enable it in your browser.

Stepping Stones to Nowhere: The Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and American Military Strategy, 1867-1945

The Aleutian Islands, a mostly forgotten portion of the United States on the southwest coast of Alaska, have often assumed a key role in American military strategy. W.H. Seward, the US secretary of state who brokered the purchase of Alaska, believed that the acquisition would permit the US to dominate the Pacific. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton attempted to install an American ballistic missile defence system on the islands. But for most Americans, prior to the WWII, the bleak and barren islands were of far less interest than the Philippines. In Stepping Stones to Nowhere, Galen Perras shows how that changed with the Japanese occupation of the western Aleutians. Efforts to make the area a major theatre of war rivalling Europe or the South Pacific foundered, but certainly not for lack of effort. The campaign was unique in its involvement of Britain, the Soviet Union, and Canada. Perras reveals how this clash in the North Pacific demonstrated serious problems with the way that American civilian and military decision makers sought to incite a global conflict. This book will be invaluable to military and naval historians as well as those with a general interest in the history of the Second World War.

Important places

Aleutian Islands (84)


Aleutians East (83)


Alaska (1,096)


United States (64,950)

Other geographical areas

Unimak Island (8)
Alaska Range (82)
Aleutian Islands (88)