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 Midwaya dark time during which the Japanese scored victory after victorythis 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 braveryand 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.
"An entertaining, impressively researched chronicle of the tense period between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and American victory at the battle of Midway." Kirkus
"The research is thorough, the writing clear, and the narrative flow exemplary...it is difficult to think of a recent book on this subject that is of such consistently outstanding value." Booklist
"Well documented--albeit from previously published materials--and well written. Experienced World War II history buffs may bypass if they feel no need to read another retelling of this phase of the Pacific War, but nonspecialists and general readers will want to consider it." LibraryJournal.com
Advance Praise for Pacific Payback
“Deeply researched and well-written, Pacific Payback is by far the most detailed account of U.S.S. Enterprise's dive-bombers, and their decisive role at the Battle of Midway.”—Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
“In the early naval battles in the Pacific, the U.S. carriers took the fight to the enemy. Their most effective weapon was the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber. At Midway the SBDs destroyed four carriers and arguably turned the tide of the War against Japan. Their individual stories, however, remain largely untold. Stephen L. Moores Pacific Payback relates the experiences of the Enterprise SBDs beginning with the attack on Pearl Harbor up to Midway and covers all the carrier dive bombers in that decisive battle. This heartfelt tribute to the SBD pilots and radiomen offers much new information and is a valuable contribution to the history of the Pacific War.”—John B. Lundstrom, author of The First Team
“In bringing this story to the public, Stephen Moore has done a service to the courageous fliers of Scouting Squadron Six and Bombing Squadron Six. These men piloted the Douglas Dauntless dive bombers from the decks of the noble Enterprise, often entering battle despite being outnumbered. Their bravery during the wars first six months, when the nation needed heroes, should long occupy a premier spot in our nations history.”—John F. Wukovits, author of For Crew and Country and One Square Mile of Hell
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.
The planning, the strategy, the sacrifices and heroics—on both sides—illuminating the greatest naval war in history.
About the Author
Stephen L. Moore, a sixth-generation Texan, graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he studied advertising, marketing, and journalism. He is the author of multiple books on World War II and Texas history, including Taming Texas, a biography of his great-great-great grandfather William T. Sadler, who was one of the first Texas Ranger captains in the 1830s. Steve lives north of Dallas in Lantana, Texas, with his wife, Cindy, and their three children.