Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941–1942

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W. W. Norton & Company, Nov 14, 2011 - History - 656 pages
11 Reviews

“Both a serious work of history . . . and a marvelously readable dramatic narrative.”—San Francisco Chronicle

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, a blow that destroyed the offensive power of their fleet. Pacific Crucible 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.

This dramatic narrative, relying predominantly on eyewitness accounts and primary sources, is laced with riveting details of heroism and sacrifice on the stricken ships and planes of both navies. At the war’s outset, Japan’s pilots and planes enjoyed a clear-cut superiority to their American counterparts, but there was a price to be paid. Japanese pilots endured a lengthy and grueling training in which they were disciplined with baseball bats, often suffering broken bones; and the production line of the Zero— Japan’s superbly maneuverable fighter plane—ended not at a highway or railhead but at a rice paddy, through which the planes were then hauled on ox carts. Combat losses, of either pilots or planes, could not be replaced in time to match the fully mobilized American war machine.

Pacific Crucible also spotlights recent scholarship that revises our understanding of the conflict, including the Japanese decision to provoke a war that few in their highest circles thought they could win. Those doubters included the flamboyantly brilliant Admiral Isokoru Yamamoto, architect of the raid on Pearl and the Midway offensive.

Once again, Ian W. Toll proves himself to be a simply magnificent writer. The result here is a page-turning history that does justice to the breadth and depth of a tremendous subject.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

Clearly written, good maps and graphics. A good piece of WWII popularizing. Ian Toll has nicely balanced out the work of Rick Atkinson on the ETO, with his trilogy on the Pacific War. There are some ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DeaconBernie - LibraryThing

This is very well done, and yet it is also lacking. On the positive side, it confirms a lot of what was written in the 20 years immediately after the events and adds a lot of personal comments by the ... Read full review

Contents

List of Maps
Chapter
Chapter
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter
Chapter Seven
Chapter Nine
Chapter
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Epilogue
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

Chapter Eight

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About the author (2011)

Ian W. Toll is the author of Pacific Crucible and Six Frigates, winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award and the William E. Colby Award. He lives in San Francisco and New York.

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