The Quiet Warrior is a biography of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, by author Thomas Buell, first published in 1974. The sources for Spruance's biography are plentiful, not only for his service in WW2, but for his early life and career, and postwar life as Naval War College president and then after retiring from the navy, ambassador to the Philippines. Buell does an excellent job of characterizing Spruance from his early life onward as intelligent, taciturn and somewhat enigmatic. The 1987 edition of The Quiet Warrior contains an introduction and footnotes by renowned Pacific War historian John Lundstrom.
One of the themes that runs through much of Buell's book is the contrast of Spruance with Admiral William Halsey. Spruance was ever the cautious commander, some say overly so, whereas Halsey was aggressive, some say rash. Halsey was outspoken and animated, Spruance quiet and reserved. Buell demonstrates that this contrast was well-articulated as early as the 1920s, when Spruance and Halsey commanded the same two destroyers in a short period of time. Even their attitudes about the Japanese differed; Halsey's outspoken hatred for the enemy contrasted with Spruance's detached analytical approach toward his foe.
Another theme in The Quiet Warrior is Spruance's command style as a delegator. He did not like to dwell on any details that could be passed to subordinates for decision making. As Fifth Fleet commander, Spruance had one particularly able chief of staff, Carl Moore, whose ambitions for flag rank had been derailed by his grounding of a cruiser earlier in his career. Nevertheless, Moore's tireless work under Spruance paid enormous dividends. Although prone to delegate what he could to free up his time from the bothersome routine of command, Spruance himself made the difficult decisions in the heat of battle, most notably at Midway and again at the Philippine Sea when he chose caution over aggression in confronting Japanese carrier forces.
As a military biography, I would place The Quiet Warrior on a par with E. B. Potter's "Nimitz," and just below D'Este's "A Genius for War" about Patton, and Manchester's "American Caesar" about MacArthur. This ranking is not a reflection on the author, but the subject. Flamboyant personalities like MacArthur and Patton left memoirs or diaries, voicing their opinions and telling what they thought of other commanders' actions and decisions. Spruance's beliefs can only be discerned by his correspondence, and the memories of those who knew him. Like Nimitz, he did not have the personality to write memoirs and thereby have to be outspokenly critical of others. Buell rates five stars not only for making the most of his sources, but for his evenhanded evaluation of Spruance's activities, both as a fighting admiral, and Spruance's disappointing (in my opinion) stint as ambassador to the Philippines, where he got involved in some shady political dealings.