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Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942by Ian W Toll
Synopses & Reviews
Sunday, December 7, 1941, dawned clear and bright over the Pacific....
But for the Dauntless dive-bomber crews of the USS Enterprise returning to their home base on Oahu, it was a morning from hell. Flying directly into the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor, they lost a third of their squadron and witnessed the heart of Americas Navy broken and smoldering on the oil-slicked waters below.
The next six months, from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway—a dark time during which the Japanese scored victory after victory—this small band of aviators saw almost constant deployment, intense carrier combat, and fearsome casualties. Many were killed by enemy Zero fighters, antiaircraft fire, or deadly crash landings in the Pacific, while others were captured and spent years in POW camps. Yet the Enterprises Dauntless crews would be the first to strike an offensive blow against Japanese installations in the Marshall Islands, would be the first to sink a Japanese warship, and would shepherd the Doolittle Raiders bombing of Tokyo.
Not until Midway, though, would Dauntless crews get the chance to settle the score. In June 1942, Japan mobilized the best of its Navy to draw out the smaller American carrier fleet for a final showdown designed to destroy the U.S. Navy once and for all. What they didnt anticipate was the gutsy dive-bombing pilots and gunners whose courage and skill would change the course of World War II.
Drawing on dozens of new interviews and oral histories, author Stephen L. Moore brings to life inspiring stories of individual sacrifice and bravery—and the sweeping saga of one of Americas greatest triumphs.
"Prize-winning freelance naval historian Toll (Six Frigates) chronicles one of the U.S. Navy's finest performances of WWII in this page-turning narrative of the months following the devastating attacks on Pearl Harbor. Eyewitness accounts and extensive research in American and Japanese print and archival sources combined with Toll's storytelling abilities make this an approachable and compelling read in a genre typically reserved for military historians. More than mere battle plans and fighter plane model numbers, Toll's take on the fight in the Pacific is imbued with a sensitivity to detail and individuals, as evidenced by his moving account of the disembarkation of Admiral Fitch and his crew from the sinking USS Lexington at the Battle of the Coral Sea, which saw ice cream being served as the boat burned and men awaiting rescue swam in the warm waters below. But Toll does not pander to sensationalism: his incisive scholastic efforts also shed light on Japanese motives for entering a war that many in the high command considered unwinnable. Revealing and poignant, Toll's latest deftly navigates the rough waters of the Pacific struggle with flying colors. Illus. and maps." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
Drawing on primary sources and accounts of eyewitnesses, this detailed narrative of the early period of the war in the Pacific during WWII gives background on the Japanese side of the conflict, describing Japanese society of the period and comparing the technological advancements of the American and Japanese navies. Reflecting current scholarship on the Japanese decision to start the war, the book focuses on key leaders and their decisions and motivations. Day-to-day life on-board American warships is also described. The book is illustrated with a wealth of b&w historical photos and maps. Toll has written a previous book on naval military history. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The planning, the strategy, the sacrifices and heroics—on both sides—illuminating the greatest naval war in history.
On the first Sunday in December 1941, an armada of Japanese warplanes appeared suddenly over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Six months later, in a sea fight north of the tiny atoll of Midway, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sent into the abyss. tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history and seized the strategic initiative. Ian W. Toll's dramatic narrative encompasses both the high command and the "sailor's-eye" view from the lower deck. Relying predominantly on eyewitness accounts and primary sources, also spotlights recent scholarship that has revised our understanding of the conflict, including the Japanese decision to provoke a war that few in the country's highest circles thought they could win. The result is a page-turning history that does justice to the breadth and depth of a tremendous subject.
About the Author
Ian W. Tollhas been a Wall Street analyst, a Federal Reserve financial analyst, and a political aide and speechwriter. Six Frigatesis his first book. He lives in San Francisco, California.
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