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The Battle of Leyte Gulf, 23-26 October 1944 [Hardcover]

Thomas J. Cutler
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Sep 1994
This riveting, blow-by-blow account recounts the dramatic story of the fiercest naval battle in the history of warfare--the U.S.-Japanese conflict at Leyte Gulf. Published on the 50th anniversary of the event, this riveting history presents the true, inside story of the military loss that sounded the death knell for the Japanese Navy.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins,Australia; 1st Edition edition (5 Sep 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060169494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060169497
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.6 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 680,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Leyte Gulf was a complicated battle. In fact to give it the title of one battle is a misnomer, as it was a series of discreet actions, which were interrelated, and which tend to be bundled into the one. Thomas Cutler has told a very good story here. He dares to criticise Bill Halsey over the American admiral's swallowing of the bait offered by the decoy force under Vice Admiral Jizaburo Ozawa, and this is definitely five star material! He also treats the independent actions in just that way and offers the analysis of what that meant overall. For me, as always when I have a thundering good read, I want the book to be twice, three times as big, with more granular detail. Oh well. Highly recommended
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fair read. 18 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good book, but not quite as great as other reviews state. it is all there, but there are other books that cover this better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Full Story of the Biggest Naval Clash 7 April 2002
By "jcchollywood" - Published on
Cutler's account of the Battle of Leyte Gulf is a remarkable and detailed account of the greatest naval battle in history. What makes the book great is the details that Cutler provided for the reader to learn about what happened. The reader is given the background first of what led to the battle: the initial air strikes by Halsey, MacArthur's arguement to invade the Phillipines over Formosa, and the initial invasion. But he covers both sides as to why the Japanese committed the rest of their fleet and how the arrived at their plan.
The account of the battle is fully covered as well. From the Dace and Darter commencing the attack, to the smashing victory in Surigao Strait, Halsey's initial attacks and blunderous move north, and the herioc and desperate fight of Taffy 3 to protect themselves and the landing forces. Cutler doesn't just say wahy Halsey blundered, but he gives every reason why and what the consequences after the battle were.
Now I would be lying if I said I was totally satisfied though. I was a little disappointed in the pictures included, I have seen more in other books, but Cutler managed to get ones I have never seen before. That is minor though when compared to the satisfaction of getting the facts about the victory that guaranteed the US could win the war. The maps are helpful in seeing the Japanese plan of attack and the US plan of defense. I would recommend this to any historian or lover of war novels.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably The Best 6 Sep 2008
By David Van Keuren - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Probably the best book out there on the subject. I have read just about everything out there on BLG and so many other authors just don't know how to tell this story with a style and flair that draws you into the battle and won't let you go. Cutler by all means does this. I have read several other books on BLG and simply tossed them when I was done because I knew I would never subject myself again to the author's boring and stiff writting style. BTW, I have seen many reviews stating that Hornfischer's "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" to be the best rendering of the BLG. Sorry, I must disagree. LSTCS is indeed a GREAT book written by a very gifted author and it is definitley a MUST read. But LSTCS is more the story of the Battle of Samar Island and focues mainly on the horrific tale of Taffy 3. Cutler's book gives the reader a much broader picture of the entire BLG while including Taffy 3's spellbinding story as well. As a matter of fact, Cutler's chapter dealing with the DD's and DE's that charged into certain death and destruction at the hands of the Kurita's heavies is in my opinion one of the greatest chapters of reading in any book I have read on any topic on the war in the Pacific. He entitled the chapter "The Charge of the Light Brigade," after the 1854 Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean Pennisula of the Ukraine in which a courageous and lightly armed British calvalry unit of only 600 men charged into a valley floor overlooked by Russian heavy artillery and were decimated to the last man. Cutler tells the story of Taffy 3's DD's and DE's sacrifice and bravery as he intersperses lines from Alfred Lord Tennyson's classic and masterful poem that describes the 1854 "Charge of the Light Brigade." I can tell you that my eyes certainly weren't dry at the end of THAT chapter.
Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors draws the microscope down on Taffy 3 with a general overall rendering of the BLG. Cutler's book does just the opposite in drawing the microscope off of Taffy 3 and giving an outstanding and highly enjoyable and easily understood overall account of the BLG while at the same time ensuring the story of the bravery and sacrifice of the heros of the DD's and DE's of Taffy 3 are never to be forgotten in his unforgettable chapter "Charge of the Light Brigade."
I highly recommend this book to any Pacific War enthusiast, especially those who have attempted to get a handle on BLG from other authors and came away unsattisfied, or simply to anyone who just flat out enjoys a GREAT read no matter what the topic. Cutler's BLG is one truly incredible book. Don't miss it if you haven't read it. I can assure you, you won't be tossing this one when you're done with it. You'll put in on your bookshelf and look forward to reading it again.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars US Navy's culminating victory in the Pacific 3 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on
As the author points out, the series of naval battles fought in late October, 1945, collectively termed the Battle of Leyte Gulf, was the largest naval battle ever fought - in terms of men and ships involved. Although by that point in the war, the question was not if Japan was to be defeated but when and at what cost (the cost was high and would have been staggering if the atomic bomb attacks had not finally convinced Hirohito to accept the terms of the Potsdam ultimatum). From before Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Combined Fleet had been seeking the "decisive battle" at sea, where they would once and for all achieve naval superiority over the Allies (the U.S., actually, since Britain's naval efforts were quickly rendered inconsequential in the Pacific days into the war). At Leyte Gulf, the Japanese sallied forth - in their typically overly complex, arrogant, disconnected fashion - to destroy the American landing forces off Leyte - and turn back the flooding tide of the American advance. What actually happened, in a complex series of maneuvers and actions - involving tactical and strategic mistakes on both sides - resulted in a resounding American victory and the final destruction of the Japanese Combined Fleet. The Japanese would never again venture forth to meet American ships at sea - save the Yamato's desperate suicide run during the first week of the Battle of Okinawa. Cutler's account is well researched and is commendable in explaining complex events and evaluating tactical and strategic decisions - even if his writing style is not quite up to the dramatic content. Cutler rightly emphasizes the heroic actions of the Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts off Samar in attempting to fend off the vastly superior Japanese force under Kurita - which, through tactical and communications errors by "Bull" Halsey - had achieved position to destroy covering escort carrier task forces and the American landing fleet off Leyte (fortunately for the U.S., Kurita made the mistake of breaking off his attack on the verge of success). The Battle of Leyte Gulf is little known among the American public and the action by these "small Navy" sailors of "Taffy 3" should be memorialzed as a profile of courage. They exhibited the type of courage Japan - in their arrogance - was convinced the U. S. did not possess when they made their decision to precipitate a war with the "sleeping giant". What sweet revenge it must have been for USS West Virginia, survivor of the cowardly attack on Pearl Harbor, when her radar directed big guns rained destruction on the Japanese force under Kirishima at Surigao Strait. This is the definitive account of a decisive engagement of the war in the Pacific.and perhaps last great naval battle the world will ever see.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History's Biggest Naval Battle.... 21 July 2002
By Grant Waara - Published on
This is a superb book. I've not read (yet) "Afternoon of the Rising Sun" but I think this is the best primer on the subject ever written. It's clear, precise and you don't have to know a whole lot on the subject to read it. The chapter on the Battle Samar, "Charge of the Light Brigade," is a terrificly exciting account of Sprague's pitifully small group's collision with Kurita's Main Battle Line. Military history doesn't get any better than this. I extend my thanks to the Naval Institute Press for bringing this classic back in print.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best History of Leyte Gulf 25 Sep 2012
By Pleiades - Published on
This is a very good book. Cutler tackles a very complex, difficult topic clearly and concisely, providing great background and solid analysis. The book is balanced and shows an excellent understanding of both the goals and thinking on both sides, along with a keen and sympathetic appreciation of the human foibles and failings, both Japanese and American, as well as grit, intelligence, devotion, and heroism.

In particular, Cutler's expanation and analysis of Halsey's actions is excellent, as is his summation, but perhaps most valuable is his discussion of how the battle came about, from both the USN and IJN perspective. A better short description of how US and Japanese strategy in the Pacific was formed and evolved I have never read.

The writing is fluent, dynamic, and accessible while avoiding both the oft-times snide "more scholarly than thou" tone of Parshall and Tully in "Shattered Sword" (a good but seriously flawed book) and the annoying gung-ho purple prose of Barrett Tillman's "Clash of the Carriers."

I would give this book the edge over "The Last Stand of the Tincan Sailors" which is also quite good and focuses almost entirely on the Battle of Samar, but uses a much more journalistic approach and lacks the analysis that makes Cutler's book stand out. However, it is quite worthwhile to read both.
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