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Shattered Sword: The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway Hardcover – 22 Dec 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc; First Edition edition (22 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574889230
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574889239
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 19 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 839,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"This incredible book shatters all previous notions on how the Battle of Midway was fought. It also shatters all the standards for military reference works. SHATTERED SWORD will come to be regarded as a benchmark in modern history, for it brings to bear all the tools of modern communication technology in a way that has never been done before. [It] utterly refutes the conclusions of most of the previous accounts of the battle. . . . This book is a page turner, but its importance and its wealth of detail will deman an immediate re-reading." --Walter J. Boyne, former director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and author of BEYOND THE WILD BLUE: A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, 1947-1997

About the Author

Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully are widely published on military history in journals and magazines and on Parshall's award-winning website on the Imperial Navy, www.combinedfleet.com. Parshall lives in Minneapolis and Tully in Dallas. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Horgan on 25 Dec. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Much has been written about the Battle of Midway; gripping stuff with Hell-divers arcing out of the sun and tales of tardy scout-planes and missed messages upon which the battle turned. What there has been precious little of is decent analysis based on clear timelines and an analysis of the actual capabilities of the combatants, especially from the Japanese side. This book corrects that. Starting from an appreciation of Japanese carrier operations, and especially the mechanics of setting up an air mission, and using the historical record the authors describe the battle in detail and in the process demolish many myths that have grown up around it. The battle is placed not only in its tactical, but its strategic context and the reasons for its outcome are shown to lie less in chance and more in operational planning, Japanese doctrine and the command philosophy of the Imperial Japanese Navy. If you are interested in Midway then read this.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By DWM on 26 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
I looked forward to this book the minute I knew it was being written, being a big fan of the "Combined Fleet" website. Some reviewers have observed it is too centred on the Japanese side and a mite too colloquial for we Brits, and in truth it is perhaps a little Americanised and some of the editing could be improved, but nothing to detract from the quality of the "read" and a little humour does not come amiss. Frankly, when one realises that Jon Parshall edited the whole bit himself and compiled the index to keep costs down, it puts this massive undertaking into some sort of perspective. It is a fascinating and informative read, very technical but for the committed navy and aviation buff, pretty much "unputdownable" and a hugely valuable addition to the genre. I am lost in admiration for this magnum opus from Messrs Tully and Parshall. If you're really interested in the subject and only read one book on the Pacific war, make it this one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark Time on 4 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read most of the books dealing with the Battle of Midway, the majority of which portray the American view of the battle. This book tells the story from the Japanese side and reads, in parts, almost like a thriller.The authors give a minute by minute, hour by hour account of the action that really draws the reader in.The authors have done their research well and there is a mass of detail to absorb; I was particularly impressed with details of how the Japanese conducted their carrier operations and how they differed from the USN. The book puts many of the myths surrounding the battle into true perspective. It details how chances taken and chances missed, by both sides, finally decided the issue. A refreshing look at this most famous of sea battles and it should appeal to any student of the Pacific war.Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Carter on 20 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
To be honest I wasn't sure there was much new on the battle of Midway, but I was very wrong.
This book is not only a superb re-assessment of the Japanese efforts to invade Midway and draw American carriers into a battle but is written mainly from the IJN view point. It debunks a number of common myths and is a great read. Tells much of IJN doctrine and carrier methods,
If you own any number of books on Midway and Japanese carrier tactics you'll still need to add this to your library.
Highly recommended.
David Carter
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By clairefromwales VINE VOICE on 13 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
The book aims to reappraise our understanding of the Battle of Midway and to correct a number of myths which linger in Western accounts of events.

The evidence that the authors present is compelling and provide a richer understanding of the battle. The thesis does not change the basic facts of the battle, but trims the sails of some of the more dramatic elements, such as the fact that the Japanese carriers did not have deck loads of planes ready to take-off just before the fateful dive-bomb attack. The planes were fuelled and armed, but in hangers below the deck, so their decisisve role in the fate of the ships remains the same - once the bombs hit they posed a massive hazard, but they didn't have the Hollywood quality of being about to be launched.

The general story of how the battle came about, the Japanese navy and the culture which formed it were extremely interesting. Some of the attitudes and choices which seem almost imcomprehensible - such as senior officers insisting that they go down with their ships rather than seek to fight another day or the sheer overblown complexity of the battleplans - are given a proper context and explanation. It is this element of the book that provides the greatest insight and interest.

Generally speaking the book has a flowing, accessible written style and considering the book's emphasis on some of the more technical aspects of the battle including naval doctrine it's extremely readable.

I did wish that the authors didn't feel that they had to repeat quite so often that they were about to share another stunning insight misssed by Western scholarship since 1942, but this is a minor quibble with a book that does have something new to say about an extensively written about battle and real insight into the nature of the Imperial Navy.

A recommended read for anyone interested in the naval history or who is intrigued by a glimpse into a very alien organisational culture.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Mar. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, particularly with its unusual approach of viewing the battle from the side of the Japanese. I was less enamoured by the authors' attempt to fix the book's viewpoint to the carriers themselves (thus, when the Japanese aircraft leave on a raid, we hear nothing further, apart from a few radio messages, until they return and can be debriefed). While clearly designed to emphasise the lack of information available to the Japanese commanders, I felt that this writing device unnecessarily impeded the reader's understanding of the battle.
I was also distracted by an occasionally lax writing style. As an example, at one point it is claimed that the commander had little time to "internalise" the problem.
Nevertheless, the above issues are minor. What comes shining through is the breadth and depth of the authors' research and their clear determination to produce an account that is factual and unbiased. By clearly explaining the mechanics of Japanese carrier operations of the time (without boring the reader), the authors are able to convincingly dispell many of the misconceptions and fallacies regarding this great battle.
This is an excellent account of the Battle of Midway, presented in an unbiased and logical fashion and which uncovers many previously disregarded aspects of the battle - thoroughly reccommended
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