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Midway: Incredible Victory (Wordsworth Military Library) [Paperback]

Walter Lord
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 May 2000 Wordsworth Military Library
The American victory in the Battle of Midway was a turning point in the war in the Pacific, and affected the course of the entire Second World War. This text tells the tale of the battle.

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New edition edition (20 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840222360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840222364
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 539,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 9 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book that is really worth reading. It gives detailed records from before, during and after the battle, and from both Japanese and American points of view. Provides much personal information that one would not find on any film of the battle. A well priced book, promptly delivered.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a Battle, Such a Story! 5 April 2012
By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Have you ever wanted a 360 degree view of a major war battle? If so "Incredible Victory" is the book for you. Author Walter Lord, the skillful chronicler of America's wars from 1812 to World War II, draws on all sources, American and Japanese, official reports, interviews of veterans and the works of scholars. Lord weaves the big story of the battle with the views and experiences of the individuals who fought it. From Yamamoto and Spruance to the lowest sailor and GI, all have their say and all have their stories told.

The story is monumental. What started out as a planned Japanese invasion of Midway to block America's return to the Western Pacific and complete the destruction of the U.S. Fleet begun at Pearl Harbor turned into the destruction of the air wing of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the start of its long retreat.

In short form, Midway, a Navy outpost, was braced by its Marine defenders while the Navy's surface ships, inferior in number to the Japanese, and submarines provided scouts and a thin line of defense against the approaching IJN fleet. Ultimately it was the brave aviators from American carriers and island based aircraft who broke the advance waves of the Japanese by sinking four Japanese carriers at the price of, among others, the Yorktown, which had just returned to the fleet after repairs from the damage incurred weeks early in the Coral Sea. Without air cover, Yamamoto was forced to cancel the landings and return to Japan. In the Central Pacific, the tide had turned.

I admire the way in which Lord seamlessly transitions from American to Japanese stories and back. Sometimes such books are difficult to follow, but such is not the case here. I strongly recommend this to anyone with an interest in the American Navy and World War II in the Pacific.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Midway 27 Aug 2003
By Alex Diaz-Granados - Published on Amazon.com
Walter Lord's Incredible Victory (first published in 1967) is a sequel, in a way, of his Pearl Harbor epic Day of Infamy. Just as Gordon W. Prange, Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon followed up At Dawn We Slept with Miracle at Midway, Lord takes readers to those early June days in 1942 when the U.S. Pacific Fleet won its "incredible victory" against a vastly superior Japanese fleet.
Although Lord and Prange's team cover the same battle and Miracle at Midway attempts to put the Midway battle in a context for contemporary readers to grasp (the anger and resolution of the American public and media are characterized as taking place in a "period [which] was unique in the American experience. A brief echo of it sounded in the 1980 hostage crisis with Iran. But in volume and intensity, that incident cannot truly compare with those few months following Pearl Harbor...." The 1982 book is impressively well researched and equally well written, but in some ways, Lord's narrative style is somehow more appealing.
Lord takes the reader back in time and into both the American and Japanese participants' many vantage points. In a natural, easy-to-digest narrative, Lord (whose best known work is A Night to Remember, about the sinking of RMS Titanic) describes the complex sequence of events of the Battle of Midway.
Because Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's plan was complicated -- full of diversionary raids, multiple approaches by various fleets, and all based on the assumption of American "complicity," Lord wisely avoids bogging down the reader with military jargon or technical analysis. Instead, he uses an almost novelistic style, telling the story from the perspective of the participants.
"Petty Officer Heijiro Omi didn't have a word to say in excuse," Lord writes at the beginning of Chapter One. "As the Admiral's chief steward, he was responsible for the food at this party -- and that included the tai, a carefully selected sea bream cooked whole. It had been a happy inspiration, for tai broiled in salt meant good luck in Japan. But this time the chef had broiled it in bean paste -- miso, to be exact -- and as every superstitious Japanese knew, that extra touch meant crowning good luck with bad."
A seemingly trivial start, one might say, but up to June of 1942 the Japanese had had nothing but good luck. In six months Japan had overrun Allied territories from Hong Kong, Malaya, Burma, Singapore, the Netherlands East Indies, the Philippines, New Guinea, and on to the Solomon Islands. Even the April Doolitle Raid on Japan and the strategic loss of the Battle of the Coral Sea seemed to the Japanese to be a few minor setbacks. Yamamoto's grand scheme, to capture the tiny atoll of Midway and lure the remnants of the United States Pacific Fleet to a final battle, was, in the minds of the Japanese, a sure recipe for victory.
The Americans, Lord writes in the foreword, "were hopelessly outclassed." Outnumbered in almost every category of warship and depending on obsolete equipment, the defenders of Midway were seemingly doomed. Yet, with the help of naval code breakers, the quiet yet determined leadership of Admirals Chester W. Nimitz and Raymond A. Spruance (who had replaced the war weary and temporarily sidelined William F. Halsey as a task force commander), and the raw courage of Midway's motley crew of sea- and land-based defenders, the Americans won the Battle of Midway and stopped Japan's advances in the Pacific.
Lord points out that the biggest reason Midway was such a disaster was the Japanese overconfident mindset. The plan, impressive on maps (with all the arrows depicting Japanese fleets converging on one spot from various directions), was far too complex for its own good. Too many ships were scattered on different missions, violating the military principle of concentration of force. Worse, everything depended on the Americans reacting exactly the way the Japanese expected them to. The plan did not allow for any unplanned contingencies, and even though the Japanese gave the U.S. Navy a bloody nose with the sinking of USS Yorktown and a destroyer (in addition to shooting down many American aircraft), Nimitz and Spruance won an incredible victory over a formidable foe.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling and Breathtaking 31 Aug 2001
By stringfellow hawke - Published on Amazon.com
Superb re-enactment of The Battle of Midway when understrength American carrier task forces came up against a formidable and full strength Japanese naval carriers and battlewagons. It is the epitomy of American courage against the Japanese busido juggernaut. After Pearl Harbour, the Japanese sought to lure the remnants of the American fleet and its precious carriers to a showdown at Midway, an island between the Hawaiian Islands and Japanese held territory of Wake Island and the Marshalls. The ensuing battle proved to be a turning point of the Pacific War as the Japanese lost the cream of their superb naval aviators and four of her heavy aircraft carriers which participated in the infamous Pearl Harbour attack. Read about the tenacity of green American pilots coming up against the Imperial Navy's best pilots and emerging victorious at a horrendous cost. But the valour, bravado and sacrifice was not in vain as they smashed the Japanese behemoth to a pulp. A truly David versus Goliath insipiration war narrative. After Midway, America will be the Goliath, dominating the Pacific with massive fleets churned out by her efficient and colossal heavy industries. Get this book and boy will you be proud to be American.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walter Lord's history of the Battle of Midway 23 April 2010
By John B. - Published on Amazon.com
Before this review I have a remark to make regarding the price of this book. I have a paperback edition that sold for $0.95 in 1968, when the hardcover version was only $5.95. I seems incredible to me that this paperback version is being sold new for almost $90. There is another paperback edition published in 1998 that sells for $62.55, which is also overpriced but not quite so badly so. This book is good, but that good? My advice is to consider a used copy.

Walter Lord was one of the greatest narrative historians and this is another of his fine books. It tells the story of the Battle of Midway from the viewpoint of the participants, both Japanese and Americans. It tells the story of ordinary sailors, airmen, admirals, politicians and code breakers, creating an exciting story out of the mosaic of these individual stories. The book tells the tragic story of the crews of American torpedo planes, flying in inferior planes with defective torpedoes in an unsuccessful attempt to sink Japanese Aircraft Carriers; unsuccessful in itself but ultimately very important because they allowed the dive-bombers that followed them to sink the carriers. They accomplished this because they forced the Japanese fighter planes to come down to a low altitude to attack them, so that they could not shoot down the dive-bombers and because the evasive action that the Japanese fleet took to avoid their torpedoes reduced the effectiveness of their antiaircraft fire. Lord brings the actions of Lt. Commander Wade McClusky and Ensign George Gay to the forefront, highlighting the sacrifice and heroism of US Navy Airmen. He also tells the story of sailors of sinking ships, code breakers working to the limits of sanity (and sometimes beyond), and admirals who had to make life and death decisions in split seconds. He tells the story from the from both the American and Japanese perspective and why the Battle of Midway was a turning point in WWII.

In addition to being a fine narrative history the book also gives an analysis of the overall action in great detail, complete with details of the sailing of individual ships and the reasons behind the decisions of the admirals involved. This has long been a seminal history of the battle, which has been followed by many others, few of which have the impact of Lord's story telling. I highly recommend this book to all those interested in the history of WWII and for those who just like great narrative history that places you within the action.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Book 8 Jan 2011
By John E. Nevola - Published on Amazon.com
This is an "incredible" story of the human element of one of the greatest battles, and greatest naval victory, in American history. Lord writes this book with such grace and pathos, the reader somehow becomes invested in the characters and the battle.

The odds against the Americans in the Battle of Midway were enormous and the stakes were extremely high. Having suffered nothing but victories, the Japanese had cause to be highly confident and the outlook for the Americans was bleak. And the early results of the first battle-contacts were overwhelmingly favorable to the Japanese. And yet, somehow the Americans rallied to pull this fight out of the fire and not only save Midway but deal the Imperial fleet a blow from which they never recovered.

A true David and Goliath story, Incredible Victory pays tribute to the indomitable human spirit and the fickle twists of fate and luck. I rarely read books more than once. Only a tiny handful have impressed and captivated me enough to do that. This book, however, I have read four times and I'm sure to read it again someday!

John E. Nevola
Author of The Last Jump - A Novel of World War II
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Midway 1 Dec 2010
By C. Wayne Cornell - Published on Amazon.com
All other books on Midway pale beside Lord's. The writer has a gift for making history into a living thing. Prage's book on Midway is dry and at time downright boring. Even a person who isn't a "history buff" may find it difficult to put down Lord's "Incredible Victory, " once they start reading.

I have an extensive library of several hundred books on America's wars--from the Revolution to Vietnam. If I had to get rid of all of my books but one, "Incredible Victory" would be the book I keep.
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