Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian W. Toll

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

By Ian W. Toll

  • Release Date: 2011-11-14
  • Genre: Military
Score: 4
4
From 110 Ratings
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Description

“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.

Reviews

  • Understanding Japanese Attacking USA

    5
    By Lawyer141
    Great read on the events that led Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor and initial phase of war-until epic victory of US at battle of Midway. 6 months after Pearl Harbor - the ultimate outcome was never in doubt. Great insight into the Japanese thought process in attacking USA even though the Japanese high command had to know that the war would end badly for Japan
  • Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942

    5
    By PAul Bar
    I was doubtful about getting a book that rehashed the first 6 months in the Pacific war. But was I wrong! Excellently written and highlighting the personalities that impacted the war. A must read.
  • Pacific Crucible

    5
    By CWM386@gmIl,com
    I have read numerous accounts of WW2 in the Pacific and none provided the insights this one did! The section covering post-Pearl Harbor to the Battle of the Coral Sea had engagements that I had not read about previously. I literally could not put it down. A wonderful piece of writing. C W Minners
  • Can't put down read

    5
    By 7834N
    The author is a first rate story teller.
  • First rate

    4
    By sgulie
    A concise and clear description of the events, actions, and motivations on all sides, from Pearl Harbor to Midway. Easy to read, insightful and interesting. Well researched.
  • Turning Point

    5
    By crabtrem
    This is an excellent book. For me I get the impression that the author transports you to the emotions being felt surrounding the events he writes about first. So as you weave through the complex events he writes about, you also feel the emotions driven and felt during those times. This book started out a little slow, but once the emotions capture you, you're hooked. This book is a crucial addition shaping my understanding of WWII, and more specifically those crucial opening months of the war. A great read.
  • Good read

    3
    By Doggie Howser
    Not as good as I thought it would be. A good review of the pacific war up to the Battle of Midway. Needed more detail and less general overview. All in all a good read. I am happy I did not pay the hard cover price.
  • Pacific Crucible

    5
    By Paul Adamonis
    This is one of the best books that I have ever read!

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