Ian W. Colby Award. He lives in San Francisco and New York. James P. Holwitt is to be commended for not shying away from moral judgments. This masterful history encompasses the heart of the Pacific War—the period between mid and mid—when parallel Allied counteroffensives north and south of the equator washed over Japan's far-flung island empire like a "conquering tide," concluding with Japan's irreversible strategic defeat in the Marianas.
It was the largest, bloodiest, most costly, most technically innovative and logistically complicated amphibious war in history, and it fostered bitter interservice rivalries, leaving wounds that even victory could not heal. Often overlooked, these are the years and fights that decided the Pacific War. Toll's battle scenes—in the air, at sea, and in the jungles—are simply riveting.
He also takes the reader into the wartime councils in Washington and Tokyo where politics and strategy often collided, and into the struggle to mobilize wartime production, which was the secret of Allied victory.
Brilliantly researched, the narrative is propelled and colored by firsthand accounts—letters, diaries, debriefings, and memoirs—that are the raw material of the telling details, shrewd judgment, and penetrating insight of this magisterial history. This volume—continuing the "marvelously readable dramatic narrative" San Francisco Chronicle of Pacific Crucible—marks the second installment of the Pacific War Trilogy, which will stand as the first history of the entire Pacific War to be published in at least twenty-five years.
From the decision to build six heavy frigates, through the cliff-hanger campaign against Tripoli, to the war that shook the world in , Ian W. Toll tells this grand tale with the political insight of Founding Brothers and the narrative flair of Patrick O'Brian. Account Options Sign in. Top charts.
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New arrivals. Toll November 14, Winner of the Northern California Book Award for Nonfiction "Both a serious work of history…and a marvelously readable dramatic narrative. Reviews Review Policy. Published on. Flowing text. Best For. Web, Tablet, Phone, eReader. Content Protection.
Read Aloud. Flag as inappropriate. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders. More related to World War II. See more. Jonathan J. On November 19, , the submarine USS Sculpin, under attack by the Japanese, slid below the waves for the last time in what would become one of the most remarkable stories in U.
Naval history. Not only did several crewmembers survive the sinking - an extremely rare event in World War II submarine warfare - but several were aboard a Japanese aircraft carrier enroute to a POW camp when it was in turn torpedoed and sunk by the Sculpin's sister ship, the USS Sailfish.
At the end of World War II, several unlikely survivors would tell a tale of endurance against these amazing reversals of fortune. For one officer in particular, who knew that being captured could have meant losing the war for the allies, his struggle was not in surviving, but in sealing his own fate in a heartbreaking act of heroism which culminated in the nation's highest tribute, the Medal of Honor.
Sculpin Lt. Commander John Phillip Cromwell was one of the few who knew that American Naval Intelligence had succeeded in cracking Japan's top-secret codes. Cromwell also knew that if the Japanese confirmed this by torturing him, it would force Naval Intelligence to change their encryption, which would potentially change the course of the war. This is Cromwell's story as well. The incredible interconnection of the Sculpin and the Sailfish has been thoroughly researched by Jonathan McCullough.
Through access to the few living survivors, scores of oral histories, never-before translated Japanese war documents, and interviews with Navy veterans, McCullough delivers a gripping and, intimate account for the reader. Flint Whitlock. In the dark days after Pearl Harbor, the small, illequipped arm of the Navy known as Submarine Force would stand between the shattered U.
WW II Pacific (1 of 4) | History , LLC
The book also creates the false impression of a hidebound, traditionalist navy obstructing a small number of reformers who were allowed to institute improvements only after the arrival of the navalist Theodore Roosevelt xxi—xxiii. Coming so early in the book, such a threadbare argument does not augur well. In chapter 1, Toll writes, without citing any source, that: "Americans had been led to believe that Japanese naval airpower was a joke" But Claire Chennault of "Flying Tigers" fame certainly did not think the Japanese were a joke and did his best to let others know what fearful opponents they were.
Adm William Halsey for not having "thrust his two carriers into striking range" But the ships belonged to different task forces: only Enterprise was under Halsey's command. Lexington was under the tactical command of R. John Newton at Midway, flying off airplanes to the garrison there.
Newton could not have chased Nagumo and his strike force on 7 December. Of the Japanese air attack on the Philippines, Toll asserts that "The upshot was that American air forces were effectively paralyzed for lack of orders…. At dawn December 7 … [the Japanese] set out across the China Sea to pulverize American air bases in the Philippines" He is following here Mark R.
Peattie's excellent book Sunburst ,  but he conflates the attack on Clark Air Base on Luzon both with Japanese missions in the South China Sea, meant to protect their operations in the Gulf of Thailand, and with actions farther east by Mitsubishi G4M bombers in the Marshall Islands!
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Japan's successes in the Philippines had more to do with bad luck than with US unpreparedness. The Japanese attack from Formosa launched at , not dawn, having been grounded by fog and poor weather. Also, Gen. Lewis Brereton's bombers, which had launched earlier to avoid being caught on the ground, had just landed in order to refuel.
Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941
Toll's history espouses the "great man" approach, focusing on admirals and strategists in particular: Chester Nimitz, Ernest King, and Isoroku Yamamoto all receive lengthy discussions incorporating a great deal of interesting but not always pertinent biographic data King's philandering, for example.
This kind of thing postpones the book's serious discussion of operations for some pages, when Toll turns to the defense of Wake Island. Even then, his "chatty" treatment of strategy and grand strategy leaves little room for more substantive analysis of actual naval operations. In fact, Toll is mesmerized by carrier operations throughout this book. Toll characterizes the decision to recall the carrier relief forces at Wake Island as "craven," adhering yet again to Morison's now widely recognized bias against V.
Frank Jack Fletcher This while at the same time offering substantial data indicating the decision was correct, not craven. Regarding the battles of Coral Sea and Midway, Toll follows the party line of the naval aviation community, whose postwar accounts write Fletcher, victor at both battles, completely out of naval history Raymond Spruance —
Related Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 (The Pacific War Series, Book 1)
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