This book contains an astonishing amount of information about the pivotal Battle of Midway -- which is both good and not-so-good. The upside is that there is quite a bit here that I've seen nowhere else. In particular, there are mini-biographies on a great many people, and there's also detailed discussion of the battle's impact on countries other than the United States and Japan.
But there are a number of negatives. For one, the book reads more like a reference tool than a coherent story; the reader feels like he's slogging through a dry textbook, rather than getting lost in an action-packed adventure story. And there are far too many typos and other minor mistakes, such as incorrect dates; one can only conclude that the editor must have been on vacation when this book was going through the publishing process.
More annoying still, the author, Peter C. Smith, comes across as having an "I'm right and everyone else is wrong" attitude. He takes great pains to advance his argument that it was the dive bombers, rather than the torpedo planes, that carried the day at Midway. Well yes, this is indeed true; but it hasn't been a matter of dispute for the past, say, 60 years or so.
And as if it's not enough to present himself as "righter than thou," the author also takes unwarranted potshots at other Midway renditions. For example, he takes the 1976 movie "Midway" to task for allegedly showing the torpedo planes as the victors. While it is true that this film has its faults, that's not one of them; the movie makes it abundantly clear that the torpedo planes scored not one single hit, while the dive bombers knocked out all four Japanese carriers.
Perhaps worst of all is the accusation he makes against the late Walter Lord, who supposedly had the Japanese pilots "dropping . . . concrete blocks and cans of beans on Midway" (Chapter 12, Footnote 65). This is sloppy research (on Mr. Smith's part) at best, and libelous at worst. What Mr. Lord actually said (in "The Riddles of Midway" chapter of "Incredible Victory") was "As the Japanese bombs rained down on Midway a Marine sargeant named Anderson was hit on the bridge of his nose by a flying can of beans, nuts or tomato juice --depending on who tells the story." Making passing note of some conflicting testimony is a far cry from saying that the Japanese actually used blocks and bean cans as weapons!
So all in all, this book has a lot going for it, and a lot detracting from it. The serious Midway student will definitely want to own it and have it available . . . but won't necessarily enjoy actually reading it.