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Master of Seapower: Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J.King (Classics of Naval Literature) Hardcover – 1 Jul 1995
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King was not what would be called today a "people person." In some instances, he was brutally unfair. All of that said, he was a smart and tough administrator and strategist during an important period of our history. Mr. Buell's book is worthwhile because it provides a detailed portrayal of this historically significant individual. He had access to the author of King's memoirs and provides a well-footnoted biography of his subject. For these reasons, I recommend this book.
To balance the assessment, I found the author's omission of certain matters odd. King was reputed to be a "womanizer," but he appears to have been devoted to his family. After he became the COMINCH on December 31, 1941, he took up residence on a yacht moored in Washington as his flagship. His family lived at the Naval Observatory a few miles away in Northwest Washington, D.C. Except for dealing with his wife's heart attack, the book makes no mention of his family during the entire war. I found this omission strange.
It is obviously impossible to write a completely linear account of the life of a man who was involved in so many simultaneously occurring events, but I found the author's decisions on which events to include in which subpart to be confusing occasionally. At times, I thought it would have been helpful to reference battles, invasions, or other significant events in the war that were occurring at the same time as some of the maneuvering or bureaucratic infighting was transpiring far away from the combat zones. On the whole, I agreed with another reviewer of this book who had also read Mr. Buell's biography of Admiral Spruance - his depiction of Admiral King is the better of the two, perhaps because of the enigmatic nature of Spruance. The time spent reading either book will be rewarding.
A must read for anyone seriously interested in WWII history in the Pacific.