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Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions: May 1942-August 1942 (History of United States Naval Operations in World War II) (v. 4) Hardcover – May, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Castle Books (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785813055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785813057
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey T. Munson on December 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
1942 was a bleak period for the Americans in the Pacific, but within the span of one month, the Americans smashed back at the Japanese in two decisive battles and turned the tide of the war. The first of these battles was fought in the Coral Sea. The Japanese wanted to invade Port Morseby and use that as a springboard for a futute invasion of Australia. However, the Americans, with their top-secret code breakers, already knew the composition of the Japanese forces and where they planned to strike. In early May, 1942, the two sides engaged each other. The Coral Sea battle was the first sea battle fought where the opposing ships never saw one another. This was a tactical victory for the Japanese due to the fact that the American carrier Lexington was sunk along with a destroyer and a tanker, but it was a strategic victory for the Americans, because the Japanese recalled their Port Morseby invasion force.
The most important battle of the Pacific campaign was fought less than a month after the Coral Sea battle at a tiny island known as Midway. The Japanese hoped to capture Midway and use it as a springboard for a possible invasion of Hawaii or even the west coast. Once again, Nimitz knew of the Japanese plan thanks to his wonderous code-breakers. The Japanese launched a massive air assault from four carriers against Midway but failed to destroy the airfields. Aircraft were left on the decks of the carriers waiting for a second strike against Midway when the American torpedo and dive bombers appeared. The torpedo planes were slaughtered by Japanese fighters, but they didn't die in vain. They pulled the Japanese fighters down to sea level and gave the dive bombers a clear shot at the carriers.
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Format: Hardcover
This fourth part of the great work of S.E. Morison, written immediately after WWII, describes a crucial moment in Pacific war and especially what was possibly the most dramatic battle in the world history - Midway. Surprisingly however this book is much inferior both to the previous volume ("Rising sun in the Pacific") and to the next one ("Struggle for Guadalcanal").

This book is divided in three parts. The first two deal with Coral Sea-Tulagi and Midway-Aleutians campaigns and they are quite honest. The third one, about submarine operations, is completely outdated and mostly devoid of interest.

The description of Coral Sea-Tulagi campaign is probably the one which aged the less - and admiral Morison's style of writing is always enjoyable, even in his lesser books, so this is something still very much worth reading. However there are now better, more detailed and more researched narratives of this campaign - one of the best (short but very well done) is available in Osprey Campaign series ("The Coral Sea 1942", by Mark Stille and John White).

Midway campaign is quite well described, but many things available in more modern publications are missing here, especially the biggest part of Japanese side description of the events. If you do not need a very detailed story, that book is still OK. If however you want more precisions, like what damage was inflicted on Japanese carriers and why were all of them lost so fast, when "Yorktown" managed to stay afloat even after taking an incredible beating and it almost made it home, well, then I must recommend you other, more recent books. Of the short ones, probably the best is another Osprey Campaign book, "Midway 1942", again by Mark Stille and John White.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William S. Grass on November 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is volume IV of Samuel E. Morison's History of United States Naval Operations in WWII, and the second of nine on the Pacific theater. It details the two important battles of the Coral Sea and of Midway, where Japanese expansion in the Pacific ended for good.

In the previous volume, Morison introduced a theme of sorts by stating that "Stupidity characterized the strategy by which the Japanese navy was directed..." He expands upon that theme here in the present volume by commenting that "Whenever the Japanese planners disposed of sufficient strength, they divided forces and drafted an elaborate plan, the successful execution of which required a technical competence rare at any time in any Navy..." It also didn't hurt the U.S.'s chances that on both occasions, Coral Sea and Midway, the U.S. had learned ahead of time about the Japanese intentions and plans due to lax security on the part of Japan and outstanding code breaking by the U.S.

Anyone well read on the Pacific theater knows the highlights of these two watershed carrier actions, the abandonment by the Japanese of their designs on Port Moresby in the wake of Coral Sea, and the crushing loss of the four big carriers at Midway, along with the cream of the Japanese naval air service, which they were never able to replace. All of this, starting with Coral Sea on May 7, 1942, Morison poignantly juxtaposes with the Wainwright surrender on Corregidor of May 6. The lowest point in the American Pacific experience happens only the day before the Coral Sea battle, to be followed a short month later by the stunning victory at Midway.
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