[Reading] ➺ Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 By Ian W. Toll – Saudionline.co.uk

Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 pdf Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, ebook Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, epub Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, doc Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, e-pub Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 050765bf841 The Planning, The Strategy, The Sacrifices And Heroics On Both Sides Illuminating The Greatest Naval War In History On The First Sunday In December , An Armada Of Japanese Warplanes Appeared Suddenly Over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, And Devastated The US 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 Pacific Crucible Tells The Epic Tale Of These First Searing Months Of The Pacific War, When The US Navy Shook Off The Worst Defeat In American Military History And Seized The Strategic InitiativeIan 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, Pacific Crucible 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

10 thoughts on “Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942

  1. says:

    I love history, and this is one of those books that is so good it reads like a novel Toll brings to life the major players of the Pacific War on both sides of the conflict, drawing on Japanese primary sources as well as Allied I have read a lot about the Second World War, but I still learned a great deal about this part of the conflict, which takes us through the rise of Imperial Japan, to Pearl Harbor, and on to the Battle of Midway I am now reading the second in Toll s projected trilogy, The Conquering Tide, and loving it just as much If you like accessible, highly readable history, this is a great choice.

  2. says:

    For the inhabitants of Oahu, there was nothing unusual in being jerked out of sleep by guns and bombs and low flying aircraft The island was crowded with military bases, and live firing drills were commonplace In early 1941, as the danger of war had seemed to grow, the services took to conducting simulated combat exercises mock battles pitting the army against the navy, the navy against the marines, the marines against the army On these days, a colossal amount of ammunition was thrown up into the air, and the island s lightly build wood frame houses would shake and rattle as if an earthquake had struck So when the familiar racket started up, at a little before eight in the morning on that first Sunday in December 1941, most of the residents pulled a pillow over their heads, or turned back to their coffee and comic strips and radio programs, and tried to ignore the deep concussive thuds of distant bombs, the heavy booming of antiaircraft batteries, and the faint rat a tat tat of machine guns But it was soon clear that these were no ordinary exercises Ian Toll, Pacific Crucible War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941 1942 If you are reading this, I assume it s because you are my wife, a friend, or a coworker who I have incessantly badgered you want to know my opinion about this book To that end, I generally try to avoid side discussions about what other people think After all, one s response to a book is highly subjective and personal Getting into endless arguments about what other reviewers think about a literary work is exactly what the internet was intended for a waste of time That said, let me break my rule I came across Ian W Toll s Pacific Crucible in a New York Times review by the author historian Michael Beschloss While never outright critical, Beschloss damned Toll s work with faint praise Specifically, he noted that Toll didn t uncover any new facts or bring forth a new interpretation and also that Toll s abilities as a writer did not rise to the level of, say, Shelby Foote Beschloss actual example Essentially, Beschloss was of the opinion that Toll s book had no reason for existing Such a review would normally give me pause More precisely, it would normally lead me to simply move along, since there are than enough books about World War II floating about Why waste my time with a book that Michael Beschloss assures me is not written by Shelby Foote and does not reveal that the Knights Templar actually invaded Poland in 1939 For whatever reason, I went ahead and read this book anyway I make mention of all this because if you are interested in World War II, you should too This is an excellent book One of the better volumes I ve read on the war It justifies its existence by being awesome, despite what Beschloss would have you believe Moving forward Pacific Crucible sets out to tell the tale of the Pacific War from 1941 to 1942 It is admirable in its focus By which I mean, it is focused It starts in 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and ends in 1942 with the seismic momentum shift at Midway And when it says it s about the war at sea, it means it s about the war at sea Land based actions, such as Douglas MacArthur s monumentally botched defense of the Philippines is mentioned only briefly Toll is very particular about the ground he is going to cover He covers it very well I m a huge fan of history And I m not just saying that so that you think I m cool I read about it and write about it and watch it and visit the sites and take a lot of pictures and I am constantly talking about it to anyone who will listen or to anyone who is not fast enough to get away As a history nut, I am always on the lookout for the grail in history writing that book which is both learned and readable Usually, these two virtues are mutually exclusive You can read a scholarly book, which is well sourced, incredibly thought out, and as much fun to read as the warning label on a bottle of NyQuill or, you can read a super breezy account from a popular writer that goes down as smooth as a cold glass of lemonade on an August day but has all the depth of a cold glass of lemonade on an August day after I drank it already Toll s Pacific Crucible delivers on both fronts It is impeccably researched, dutifully sourced, and thoroughly modernized No, it doesn t break new ground But why would you expect that World War II ended almost 70 years ago I m not looking for the reinvention of the wheel All I ask is that you have checked all available archives and have incorporated that into your book Toll does that He is a clear eyed historian, eschewing hagiography and easy glorification while still acknowledging the heroism and valor of the war s participants.Toll s narrative moves smoothly up and down the chain of command You get the admirals point of view and the sailors point of view You also get the Japanese point of view, which bears mentioning when a book originates in America The equableness of Toll s book is authentic Toll does a really good job of balancing viewpoints Indeed, his portrait of Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese architect of Pearl Harbor, is as indelible as any other portrait he presents A wonderfully complex man fit for a great novel , Yamamoto studied at Harvard, was opposed to war with America, but decided that if war were to come, he should be the one to plan and execute the killing blow Yamamoto was in love with a famous geisha, and was well known as a gambler This trait the gambler bled over into every aspect of his life, from his personal choices to the fate of his men and his nation The chief joy of this book is Toll s ability to put you there His prose is not the stuff of legend But he does a superb job of integrating his research everything he has learned is expertly woven into a story You get strategic analysis, tactical analysis, precise biographical sketches, technical specifications how fast a plan flies, how much tonnage a ship displaces and the human dimension the holy s t I m being bombed aspect in one smooth presentation I ve read a lot of history books, and I m attuned to the oft jarring segues that accompany many tomes Toll manages to sand away all those rough edges The result is a damned good story For instance, a thumbnail of Halsey Halsey had not yet tasted fame, and possibly did not yet realize that he would become the public face of the U.S Navy, but in pointed contrast to King or Nimitz he was willing to play the part of the salt stained sea gladiator Samuel Eliot Morison would observe that the press expected admirals to pound the table and bellow as in the movies Halsey pounded and bellowed He had just the right look for the role His square face was battered by wind, sun, and salt his thinning hair was combed straight back from his spacious forehead his wide set eyes were crowned by a regal pair of undomesticated Scottish eyebrows When he smiled, he seemed to leer He was a sailor s sailor, and popular on the lower deck As a general rule, he avowed, I never trust a sailorman who doesn t smoke or drink Me neither Or, a glimpse of manmade hell, courtesy of the Battle of Midway The first group of Dauntlesses descended on the Kaga s port quarter, and her captain, Jisaku Okada, ordered hard astarboard to send the big carrier into a clockwise turn But the Kaga was slow to respond to her helm, and the SBDs made the needed corrections to keep the flight deck in their sights The Japanese crew watched in dismay as the bombs separated from the bellies of the diving planes and fell directly toward them The first three missed narrowly, throwing huge towers of water up on either side of the ship But the next four hit in quick succession, two amidships and two forward The results were cataclysmic The carrier s small superstructure was almost completely destroyed, killing most of the ranking officers, including Captain Okada The island s windows were blown out, its outers kin was stripped off, and its interior spaces were flooded with so much smoke that the survivors were driven out on deck The forward elevator took a direct hit and was smashed downward, never to operate again A bomb pierced the flight deck amidships and exploded in the crew s quarters adjacent to the hangar, killing unknown scores Fuel tanks and munitions detonated on the hangar deck Ensign Maeda sought cover under the flight deck near the stern As the bombs struck, he shouted to some of his fellow pilots in their staterooms It is dangerous here, get the hell out As he climbed the ladders, he noticed the ship was taking on a dangerous list then an explosion flung him to the deck and pierced his leg with shrapnel This is not the first time I ve ventured into this subject matter I ve read enough books about Pearl Harbor and Midway to worry the people who care about me Even though I m familiar with this story, I found Toll s telling of it to be masterful His characterizations especially Joseph Rochefort are compelling and evocative I burned through this relatively large volume close to 500 pages quite quickly It should be mentioned, however, that Toll s book is extremely accessible If you unlike me have managed to live a fulfilling life without devoting large chunks of it to World War II, you will still find this an engaging read Heck, it might even be the book that lights the fire that eventually causes you to start living entirely in the past this life has its rewards World War II is about as grand a topic as you can conjure It will be written about forever That is a given The interesting thing will be to see how it is written As we pass from living memory into pure history, there undoubtedly will be changes into how we perceive this earth shattering event I don t make any such claims about Toll s Pacific Crucible But I will say this It s a great read I think it offers something to both expert and beginner It is perceptive and alive and begging at least I am begging for a follow up Edit It has been followed up, and followed up well.

  3. says:

    Pacific Crucible War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941 1942 was my first exposure to the Pacific War I love history books, even better when it s so well written that it almost reads like a novel Ian W Toll brings to life the first years of the war in the Pacific from the rise of Imperial Japan through Pear Harbor, closing with the miracle of Midway The reader is gifted with an analysis on of the major players of the Pacific War on both sides of the conflict Its examination of American and Japanese politics is particularly interesting So we read how the two countries reacted to the conflict, a direct result of each nation s information policy The Japanese people were rapidly succumbing to what would later be called shoribyo, or victory disease a faith that Japan was invincible, and could afford to treat its enemies with contempt Its symptoms were overconfidence, a failure to weigh risks properly, and a basic misunderstanding of the enemy We read about the main strategy makers on both sides, with biography sketches on Nimitz, King and Yamamoto and Toll ties up his analysis with an excellent critical study of the main operations from Pear Harbor to Midway It relies on plenty of Allied and Japanese primary sources He tells how important the effort of the code breakers in Hawaii not free of internal conflict with Washington was to the success of American strategy, one of the only major advantages that the Allied had over the Japanese at the start of the war The success of the American codebreaking campaign was so complete that it consolidated the field of communications intelligence within the U.S Navy By making believers out of the key decision makers in the upper ranks, who had entered naval services when radio technology was in its infancy, the victory of Midway ensured that communications would never again suffer for funding, manpower, or respect Toll ends with a very interesting analysis of the opponents, giving us a glimpse of what was to come in the next years of war Here, neatly encapsulated were the two combatants strategic paradigm for the remaining war Japan s transcendent fighting spirit was to be pitted against America s overwhelming industrial military might For all its industrial military power, the Japanese military calmly asserted, the United States lacked the required intangible spiritual qualities to prevail over Japan A mongrel people, hopelessly individualistic and democratic, pitted against one another in bitter capitalist competition, the Americans would soon tire of the fight and go home The American conception of fighting spirit was very different from the Japanese, but once fully aroused it was sufficient to the task, and sufficiently resilient Excellent Highly recommended ________________June 22, 2016I learned about Ian W Toll s Pacific Crucible War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941 1942 through the excellent review of a GR friend, Matt Kraemer Thanks Matt, it was my introduction to the Second War s Pacific theater and it couldn t be better Full review to come.

  4. says:

    A great history of the first year of naval operations in WWII s Pacific theatre.

  5. says:

    As a wargamer, World War II is one of my four main eras of interest, and while I love me some Eastern Front tank action PanzerBlitz , the Pacific theater of war is something I had less knowledge of until now, except in broad strokes.This non fiction book reads like a novel Pacific Crucible only covers the Pacific War from 1941 until 1942, beginning with Pearl Harbor and ending at Midway, and making the author s second volume, The Conquering Tide, something I dove into with the eagerness of an eagerly awaited sequel, the first book I ve ever preordered on Audible.Ian W Toll s thick, detailed, but never boring account of the first couple of years of America s entry into the war covers it from all angles the political factors leading up to Japan s decision to go to war, the cultural issues that made them commit to a course of action that many of their leaders knew even at the time was almost certainly doomed to failure The courting of FDR by Churchill, who desperately wanted needed the US to join the war against the Axis, and regarded Pearl Harbor as the salvation of Britain But these high level politics, including an assessment of Emperor Hirohito and his participation in the planning for the war, then take a backseat to the story of the fighting men on both sides.Toll gives brief biographical sketches of all the major admirals and generals, both the famous and some of the less well known Yamamoto, Nagumo, Kimmel, Nimitz, King, and many lower ranking commanders are all here The Navy is the star of the show, at least in the early war General MacArthur makes little than a cameo, as an occasional political foil for Admiral King, and few of the IJA generals are mentioned by name.Everyone with any knowledge of World War II knows about Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of Pearl Harbor.A revered war hero even after the war which he did not survive , and respected even by his enemies, Yamamoto is described in detail from second hand and documented accounts by Toll as an ethical, not unflawed man who had great perceptiveness and played the political game well several times forcing the rest of the Japanese high command to let him have his way by threatening to resign , but made some critical mistakes which even some of his subordinate officers commented on Yamamoto was an early opponent of going to war against the US He had been to America and seen what its industrial and manpower potential was He knew there was no hope of Japan winning a prolonged war against the United States Yet when war was declared, he served the Emperor.On the American side, Admiral Chester Nimitz earned the most fame as the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, replacing the hapless Admiral Kimmel, who watched his command and his career burn outside his window at Pearl Harbor But Admiral Ernest King, as Toll points out, has somehow remained almost a non entity in the post war historical account, despite being Nimitz s boss, the Commander in Chief of the entire US Navy.Like his counterpart, Admiral Yamamoto, King was a gruff and authoritarian commander with probably humanity and sense of humor than most of his peers gave him credit for Like Yamamoto, King was also apparently fond of extra marital dalliances Congress was at one point annoyed that the COMINCH was allegedly using his personal yacht as a place for trysts King was an old school officer who was not easily persuaded of the value of new developments like communications intelligence and cryptography, unlike Nimitz, who made great use of the work of Naval cryptographers like Captain Joseph Rochefort, in command of Station Hypo which cracked many of Japan s codes.Rochefort was very poorly treated by the Washington establishment, which took credit for his work, and actively lied about his accomplishments and fitness, because he had angered some of his superiors by being right when they were wrong.There are so many stories here, beyond the lists of ships and battles For example, inter service rivalry was a severe problem that plagued both the US and Japan You would think that during an all out war, the Army and the Navy would be able to confine their rivalry to the annual football game, but in fact, combined operations were the exception rather than the rule Army airmen and navy pilots came to blows after battles, over recriminations and blame taking and credit stealing Press reports after the battle of Midway, for example, credited Army bombers with destroying the Japanese aircraft carriers, because it was the Army flyboys who made it back to the States first to regale reporters with their exploits In fact, the Army planes didn t hit a single Japanese ship it was all the Navy.On the Japanese side, it was even worse the IJN admirals and IJA generals were like old fashioned daimyo in command of rival clans The army regarded the navy as nothing than a troop delivery system The navy regarded the army as unsophisticated grunts trying to steal their glory and curry favor with the Emperor.Of course, the lesson both sides would learn, and learn hard, was the ascent of air power as the determining factor in naval warfare This is one of the most interesting strategic and technological factors explained here.Toll observes that a sailor at the beginning of the 20th century would have found it easier to serve on a ship from centuries earlier than on the ships he d see at the end of his career The admirals in command of the war had entered the navy when radio was still a new fangled invention, and they were all inculcated with the naval doctrines of Alfred Thayer Mahan, who wrote what was to be the Bible of naval strategy for every seagoing nation from its publication in 1890 right up to World War II American and Japanese naval officers alike had learned Mahan s doctrines by heart, and his principles of sea power advocated, among other things, the preeminence of battleships massive firepower concentrated into large, unsinkable floating fortresses.As the fate of the Battleship Yamato would demonstrate, this would prove to be utterly wrong in the age of aircraft carriers Pacific Crucible covers the early Pacific War, during which Japan seemed unbeatable They were prepared, they had ships and planes, they had a highly dedicated and highly trained military and one whose competence they had very deliberately hidden from the Western powers, allowing the arrogant British and Americans to believe their racist assumptions about the pathetic abilities of Japanese pilots and soldiers When the Japanese pulled off a brilliantly executed attack on Pearl Harbor, followed by operations across the Pacific that virtually kicked the British and Dutch right out of the South Seas and soon threatened Australia, Hawaii, and Alaska, it came as a nasty shock In particular, Western airmen had never encountered the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.These things terrorized the skies lacking features that most fighter planes had, like armor and larger engines and self sealing fuel tanks, they were pure maneuverability, and no Western plane was a match for them in the air until American pilots started devising tactics for taking them on.Despite Japan s many early successes, though, the clock was running from the moment they attacked Pearl Harbor They had limited resources, and as Yamamoto and others had predicted they badly underestimated American resolve and military power Midway, that great battle in which, armed with superior intelligence, Admiral Nimitz committed the US fleet and sank four of Japan s prize carriers, is historically seen as the turning point in the war.The reality is that even if the US had lost the Battle of Midway, it would probably only have prolonged the war, but not changed the outcome Pacific Crucible tells the story of the men, the ships, the planes, and the battles in that crucial early period when the outcome really did seem uncertain to both sides, and it s both deep and broad, being not just a series of battle reports, and much than a history of events, but including all of these things in a well woven narrative that kept me listening for many hours and not wanting to get out of my car, because I wanted to hear what happened next, even though of course I knew because it was history.I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in World War II, and have immediately begun the second book, covering 1942 until the end of the war Apparently Ian Toll is actually going to write a trilogy covering the Pacific War.

  6. says:

    While I have read quite a few WWII histories, I am weak on Pacific Theater Ian Toll does for WWII history what Barbara Tuchman did for the WWI Pacific Crucible covers the war in the Pacific from Pearl Harbor to Midway, that being 1941 1942 Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan already occupied a portion in the northeast of China, plus Manchuria, Korea, French Indo China Vietnam , Formosa, The Phillipines, Dutch East Indies, Burma, Siam Thailand , New Guinea, Malaya and had designs on much including the Aleutian Islands and Hawaiian Islands It is believed that while Emperor Hirohito did not have Imperialist desires, that his Prime Minister, Hideki Tojo did The architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Isoroku Yamamoto gained recognition in the Russo Japanese War in the infamous Battle of Tsushima, a smashing victory for Japan Yamamoto was educated at Harvard and was reluctant to draw up those plans, believing that to go to war with the United States would become a war of attrition that Japan could never win, but as with Japanese teachings, he followed the orders of the war planners Yamamoto became a major player in all the battles between Japan and the United States He claimed to have sent a warning to the U.S prior to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor Such warning has never been proven.

    Isoroku YamamotoBy 1940 world leaders were following the teachings of Alfred Thayer Mahan, a historian and Naval officer whose book The Influence of Sea Power upon History, made him world famous and perhaps the most influential American author of the nineteenth century He contended that wars could be fought and won with a command of the sea and stressed the profound importance of a strong navy The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought because of Japan s attempt to attack and occupy Port Moresby in New Guinea in order to cut supply lines between the U.S and Australia It was largely considered a draw, but it did stop the Japanese from invading Port Moresby and threatening Australia Many people refer to the conflict as the Battle that saved Australia The Battle of the Coral Sea is considered a tactical victory for the Japanese, but a strategic victory for the Allies The attack on Midway was a stunning success for the allies and huge credit goes to the brilliance of the Rochefort group of cryptanalysts who broke Japanese codes U.S Admirals were hesitant to concentrate the entire U.S fleet forces on this tiny spec of land called Midway on a certain day at a certain time It could be disaster It could be a clever diversionary Japanese tactic Admirals Nimitz, King and Spruance had to blindly trust Follow the ideas of a cryptanalyst This had never been even considered What a tough decision A snap decision, but in the end they made the right decision Midway turned out to be perhaps the most stunning success in U.S naval history Captain Joseph Rochefort CryptanalystThe Doolittle bombing raid on Tokyo was the first time the Japanese had been attacked on their homeland, so at the time they were than a little inflamed no pun intended Lt Gen James Jimmy DoolittleThe Japanese hoped that a demoralizing defeat would force the U.S to capitulate, thus ensuring Japanese dominance in the Pacific The Battle of Midway was a sea battle The plan was to lure the American aircraft carriers into a trap and occupy Midway Although the United States was outnumbered in naval vessels, aircraft and crew, they didn t lack in determination In the 4 days of battle at Midway, the Japanese lost 4 aircraft carriers to one U.S Pacific Fleet carrier The Yorktown , thus reversing the tide of the previously invincible Japanese navy.This well woven narrative is part one of a trilogy I guess I did it backwards First I read ,The Conquering Tide War in the Pacific Islands, 1942 1944 which should have been the second volume of three.Volume 3 is yet to come out, but will be called Twilight of the Gods War in the Western Pacific, 1944 1945, is expected to be published soon I am very much looking forward to it.

  7. says:

    Magnificent book of the initial naval battles between the US and Japan A great read

  8. says:

    Very good retelling of the US Naval operations from 7 Dec 1941 8 June 1942 Pearl Harbor to Midway from mainly the American point of view There is not a whole lot of new information, but he does give a complete overview of the ops the defeat of the ABDA at Java, the Feb 42 raids on the Marshalls and the Gilberts, The Doolittle Raid, Coral Sea and of course Midway with good biographical scetches of the main figures Nimitz, King, Yamamoto There is also good coverage of the intel war between Hawaii and Washington The people is Hawaii ulitmately winning the battle, but losing the beuocratic war I think this is meant for the general reader, but there is enough to make it worth while for a WW II enthusiast I like Toll s writing style and would higly recommend this.

  9. says:

    This is a very good account of the War in the Pacific up through the miracle at Midway The book gives a nice account of the defense of Wake Island, strategy making on both sides, critical analysis, and of course, Coral Sea and Midway Ian Toll gives credit to the code breakers in Hawaii as the only major advantage that the USN had over the Japanese at the start of the war This is the 11th book that I have read on the Pacific theatre in the past year One of the books I read and reviewed for Goodreads previously was Lunsford s The First Team Lunsford s focus in his masterpiece is the small family of carrier based aviators during the same timeframe Please allow me to compare and contrast the First team with Pacific Crucible First, Toll s Pacific Crucible covers the same ground as the First Team but in a lot less detail For example, Ian Toll mentions that the USN adopted the new Grumman F4F 4 Wildcat with the folding wings which allowed the fleet to add an additional 9 planes per carrier Then Toll mentions that the new Wildcat could only fire its.50 caliber Browning machine guns for 23 seconds instead of 40 seconds as before What Toll did not explain is that this is because the new Wildcat contained 6 machine guns due to the insistence of the British The British used the same plane on their carriers and called it the Martlet Grumman thought the British knew better because they had experience The extra two machine guns and the hydraulics on the folding wings which were unnecessary added weight The USN was furious Toll doesn t explain any of this Also, Toll makes mention of the poor performance of the Hornet s air group at Midway He mentions that not one of the Hornet s fighter group VF 8 made it back to the carrier after the battle That is all that Toll mentions of fighter group VF 8 Lunsford explains that fighter group VF 8 was circling the Japanese fleet waiting for the Hornet torpedo group to attack Fighter group 8 s elevation was so high they didn t observe any of the failed torpedo attacks They circled the Japanese fleet for a long period of time and then tried to make it back to the carrier rendezvous point and ditched having accomplished nothing Also, Toll describes the planning for the Pearl Harbor attack but not the attack itself He barely mentions the exploits of Butch O Hare The point is that Pacific Crucible lacks this level of detail If you want this than read Lunsford s The First Team What Pacific Crucible does provide is strategy and critical analysis For example, the experienced Japanese fleet could launch a coordinated attack with torpedo planes, dive bombers and fighter support while the USN had far less experience and attacked piecemeal The IJN torpedo plane was twice the speed of the obsolete American Devastators etc etc However, the Japanese offensive spirit was ironically a weakness that day They did not practice good hygiene on decks and left land base bombs on bomb racks which caused secondary explosions that day The IJN did not have foam for fighting fires as the USN did and relied on mere water This was much less effective Pacific Crucible also gives plenty of background information and character development on the strategy makers of both sides A few times there is too much detail I had a tough time getting through all the background info on Yamamoto for example I could care less about his feelings toward his Geisha I could have done with a little less detail and I struggled to get through these sections Toll is lukewarm on Halsey and Fletcher and makes Spruance out to be a hero He also was highly critical of Yamamoto at Midway Thank God for Rochefort and the code breakers in Hawaii This book finally gives them their due All in all, Pacific Crucible was a very good read If you are a fan of the war in the Pacific you will enjoy this book However, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Lunsford s the First Team on E Bay or .

  10. says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pacific Crucible War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941 1942 by Ian W Toll It covers the early portion of the Pacific Theater in World War II through the Battle of Midway from both the Allied and Japanese points of view.Toll begins Pacific Crucible by looking at how the Japanese came to decide to go to War against the United States and taking a look at the states of the Japanese and US Navies He also looks into the leadership of both navies, particularly Yamamoto, Nimitz, and King After examining how the attack on Pearl Harbor came about, he explores the Europe first strategy and how the war would be fought in the Pacific From there, he goes through the early chronology of the Pacific War, showing how it was truly a closely run thing in the beginning but also showing how the United States Navy learned from it to become the force that would come to dominate the Pacific by the end of the War One of the central themes of the book was the hubris and contempt with which both the Japanese and United States Navies held their opponent and how that changed through the early part of the war The Japanese never really lost their contempt for the Americans and became infected with Victory Disease that clouded their judgement and created flaws in their planning On the other hand, the Americans learned from each defeat at the hands of the Japanese, becoming a stronger and effective fighting force in the process.As a lifelong radio enthusiast, I love Toll s emphasis on the United States Navy s communications intelligence operation He not only describes how they came to get inside the Japanese Navy s communications but also shows how the Navy s leadership came to not only trust communications intelligence but put a premium on it in planning and decision making It s pretty cool that a group of folks who would today be considered geeks or nerds played a considerable role in not only the US victory at Midway, but the Allied victory in World War II as a whole take into account Ultra and efforts into communications intelligence against Germany Pacific Crucible is well written and never falls into the history book trap of getting dry He does a good job of developing the personalities of the leaders and doesn t go into minutiae that would, while delighting the anorak, would turn off the casual reader Reading the Kindle version, I was very pleased to find well placed maps of excellent quality that illustrated battle movements which are frequently hard to visualize in naval battles This is definitely a five star book and one that I would heartily recommend to anyone interested in how the United States Navy got off of the floor after receiving an almost knock out punch at Pearl Harbor, gathered itself together, and began to win World War II in the Pacific.

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