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The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History)by Craig L. Symonds
Synopses & Reviews
There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever.
In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice. Symonds begins with the arrival of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese attack, and describes the key events leading to the climactic battle, including both Coral Sea--the first battle in history against opposing carrier forces--and Jimmy Doolittle's daring raid of Tokyo. He focuses throughout on the people involved, offering telling portraits of Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance and numerous other Americans, as well as the leading Japanese figures, including the poker-loving Admiral Yamamoto. Indeed, Symonds sheds much light on the aspects of Japanese culture--such as their single-minded devotion to combat, which led to poorly armored planes and inadequate fire-safety measures on their ships--that contributed to their defeat. The author's account of the battle itself is masterful, weaving together the many disparate threads of attack--attacks which failed in the early going--that ultimately created a five-minute window in which three of the four Japanese carriers were mortally wounded, changing the course of the Pacific war in an eye-blink.
Symonds is the first historian to argue that the victory at Midway was not simply a matter of luck, pointing out that Nimitz had equal forces, superior intelligence, and the element of surprise. Nimitz had a strong hand, Symonds concludes, and he rightly expected to win.
In The Search for the Japanese Fleet, David W. Jourdan, one of the worlds experts in undersea exploration, reconstructs the critical role one submarine played in the Battle of Midway, considered to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific. In the direct line of fire during this battle was one of the oldest boats in the navy, USS Nautilus. The actions of Lt. Cdr. William Brockman and his ninety-three-man crew during an eight-hour period rank among the most important submarine contributions to the most decisive engagement in U.S. Navy history.
Fifty-seven years later, Jourdans team of deep-sea explorers set out to discover the history of the Battle of Midway and find the ships that the Allied fleet sank. Key to the mystery was Nautilus and its underwater exploits. Relying on logs, diaries, chronologies, manuals, sound recordings, and interviews with veterans of the battle, including men who spent most of June 4, 1942, in the submarine conning tower, the story breathes new life into the history of this epic engagement. Woven into the tale of World War II is the modern drama of deep-sea discovery, as explorers deploy new technology three miles beneath the ocean surface to uncover history and commemorate fallen heroes.
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia. A deceitful campaign promoting Asian brotherhood recruited and coerced young Indonesian men to support the Japanese occupation with the sinister outcome that several million of them were worked to death or summarily killed as expendable slave laborers, or romusha, as they were called.
While many romusha disappeared from the record, nine hundred were known victims of a brutal and immoral medical experiment perpetuated by an increasingly desperate Imperial Japan. In anticipation of a land assault, the Japanese needed a means to protect their troops from tetanus, and they used these nine hundred men as human guinea pigs to test an insufficiently vetted vaccine. Within days, all nine hundred suffered the protracted, agonizing death of acute tetanus.
With the Allied forces poised for victory, the Japanese needed a scapegoat for this well-documented incident if they were to avoid war-crimes prosecution. They brutally tortured Achmad Mochtar, a native Indonesian and renowned scientist, along with his colleagues at the Eijkman Institute in Batavia (now Jakarta), until Mochtar signed a confession to the murders in exchange for the liberty of his fellow scientists. The Japanese beheaded Mochtar weeks before the war ended. War Crimes in Japan-Occupied Indonesia unravels the deceit of the Japanese Army, the reasons for the mass murder of the romusha, and Mochtarand#8217;s heroic role in these tragic events. The end result finds justice for Mochtar and reveals the true extent of one of the least recognized war crimes of World War II.
About the Author
Craig L. Symonds is Professor of History Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of many books on American naval history, including Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History as well as Lincoln and His Admirals, co-winner of the Lincoln Prize in 2009.
Table of Contents
2. The Kid? Butai
3. The Brownshoe Navy
4. American Counterstrike
5. Seeking the Decisive Battle
6. Pete and Jimmy
7. The Codebreakers
8. The Coral Sea
9. The Eve of Battle
10. Opening Act
11. Nagumo's Dilemma (4:00 A.M. to 8:30 A.M.)
12. The Flight to Nowhere (7:00 A.M. to 11:20 A.M.)
13. Attack of the Torpedo Squadrons (8:30 A.M. to 10:20 A.M.)
14. The Tipping Point (7:00 A.M. to 10:30 A.M.)
15. The Japanese Counterstrike (11:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.)
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