Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1943 (Pacific War Trilogy) Hardcover – 12 Jan. 2012
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An entertaining, impressively researched chronicle of the tense period between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and American victory at the battle of Midway.
The research is thorough, the writing clear, and the narrative flow exemplary...it is difficult to think of a recent book on this subject that is of such consistently outstanding value.
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It starts with an explanation of the Big Battleship paradigm of the great Naval thereorist, Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), developed in his masterwork, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 (1890). Don't be put off by this, as it is vitally important to Toll's main theme, which is that the Japanese and American navies, steeped in Mahan both, were quite slow to realise that the war at sea in WW II was going to be won by submarines and aeroplanes, not the huge battleships on which so many of their resources were lavished in the 1930s. Once it really gets going, after Pearl Harbor, the book is unputdownable. Toll is good on everything - strategy, tactics, intelligence, materiel, the personalities involved (FDR, Churchill, Nimitz, King and Yamamoto especially) -and the battle sequences are vivid, clear and thrilling. He has an eye for detail that brings the scene to life in an instant - the smell of paint burning on the flight deck, the roar of a Zero overhead, the colour of a sunset the night before battle - and a gift for lucid explanation that makes it easy to follow what happened and why. He is something like Beevor and Hastings in this, but his prose is more supple, his focus broader and his tone more relaxed. He is also less judgmental than Hastings and less preoccupied with atrocities than Beevor.
In short, this reads like a great novel. Really like War & Peace at times. You feel like you are living as well as understanding it. If only all history books were like this!
I cannot wait for the next two.
state of mind and society at that time and the battles were superbly portrayed. I was sorry when I finished it,Go get.