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A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945 Paperback – March 30, 2007


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A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945 + Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 + Japan's Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945 (Modern War Studies Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Reprint edition (March 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591142199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591142195
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Including one of the largest fleet surface actions in history!
History buff
Therefore, as a Pacific War enthusiast, I can't just say I "highly recommend" this book, but that Dull's history is an absolute necessity for my library.
William S. Grass
This book pulls those sources together with much more obscure ones into a history of the battles of the IJN.
Joe Childers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Corwin on August 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Paul Dull's Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1941-1945 is one of those books that is a hidden gem. Few know about it, and it sheds considerable light on topics covered only in musty archives in Washington and Tokyo.

The naval war in the Pacific has been covered by every major historian ad nauseum. Dull, drawing on his knowledge of Japanese and Japanese culture, has drawn his information primarily from the official records of the IJN. This book is a treasure trove of information about Japanese fleet movements, little known battles, and methods of ship to ship combat that both sides used that are glossed over or completely neglected in large histories. Dull is not afraid to criticize Japanese commanders, and assesses Yamamoto, long considered to the be Japan's finest naval officer, to be hesitant, battleship centric, and slow to seek out battle.

This is a phenomenal stand alone work, and serves as a must read for anyone reading about Nimitz or Halsey or the US Navy in WWII. Great appendix with information regarding the names, classes, and fates of all major Japanese surface combatants during the war. Though I am sure there is something we all wish he had addressed(for me the construction and design history of their battlefleet), Dull does exactly what he set out to do. Tell a focused story with new information that has not seen the light of day. For a book published in 1978, it is remarkably fresh and relevant, and was an extremely enjoyable read.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Joe Childers on December 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is THE book that validates Morison and makes his work truly useable. It is well known that Morison is full of errors, and how could it not be, since it used so few Japanese sources? Still, too many people rely on Morison, even big-shots like John Keegan who totally ruins his description of Midway in Price of Admiralty by ignoring readily-available Japanese sources. This book pulls those sources together with much more obscure ones into a history of the battles of the IJN. The author is fluent in Japanese and also a professional historian.
It is well-written enough, if too concise in parts. Be mindful of its limited scope. Do not look for biography, politics, etc. In fact, the scope may be too limited, as many battles are left out or abridged that deserve better treatment. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea, the sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse, and the neutralization of Truk are three truly seminal battles that fail his criteria of ship-vs-ship and thus get glossed over. There is also next to nothing about the submarine war, which was certainly ship-to-ship. This is the only quibble and is not enough to bring it down to 4 stars. How could this important a book not get 5 stars?
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Melvin Sico on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy" will make a fine and intellectually stimulating addition to a military history collection. A veritable compendium of surface naval engagements that have been revisited by Mr. Dull using Japanese-language sources, it is not, however, the most comprehensive source of information and insight about the role of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War. Other sources, for instance, that greatly complement this book include "Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941" and Prange's seminal books on Pearl Harbor and Midway.
The book has some noticeable quirks too for the non-initiated. For instance, was there ever a pink-painted Japanese cruiser? The book does not dwell on the minutiae of the warships involved, so it is rather surprising to encounter an odd little detail such as the cruiser Haguro's paint scheme.
What makes the book especially valuable to me is the subtext: the Japanese Navy had in essence intensely prepared for the wrong war to fight. Deeply absorbed in the Mahan doctrine of the decisive naval battle--a principle that emphasized destroying an enemy fleet in a grand engagement that effectively ends the conflict--Nihon Teikoku Kaigun was, by the outbreak of the Second World War, ready to confront the US fleet within the context of a short yet decisive campaign. Then, after helping Japan secure access to the mineral resources of Southeast Asia, the navy would have been instrumental in safeguarding the perimeter of the newly-won oceanic empire.
It didn't quite turn out that way. As Dull's book elucidates in meticulous detail, the Japanese Navy was forced to fight practically to the last ship. Having lost the initiative midway through the conflict, a once-powerful armada that helped subdue one-third of the globe was to all intents and purposes wiped out by the end of the war.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is an EXTREMELY comprehensive and detailed book, written from the IJN perspective. It gives excellent details of Japanese planning, tactics, training and ship losses (in an appendix). My only problem(s) with it are that it basically 'ends' about mid-1943, and from reading the book, you really wonder how did the Japanese LOSE if they had such great ships, men, tactics, etc?? When you read only about successes, you lose out on the lessons that can (or should) be learned from failures. The Americans learned from their mistakes early in World war II --- Dull doesn't cover how, or if, the IJN learned from theirs.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Levy on June 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am glad to see this aging warhorse in print. It is still the only really comprehensive source on the IJN based largely on Japanese-language sources. Way too much fo the Pacific War literature is based on partisan or hagiographic readings of the conflict, almost exclusively from the American perspective (although Spector, Gailey, and Costello try to be balanced). The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has produced a monumental 100+ volume history of the war, but almost none of it has been translated into English. Until we have some historians who can either read the originals and use them to fill in gaps, or translate some key chunks and publish them as a "greatest hits" collection with commentary and comparisons to the US semi-official Morison history, Dull will have to do for understanding "the other side of the hill."
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