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Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway Paperback – November 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1574889246 ISBN-10: 1574889249 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; Reprint edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574889249
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574889246
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (380 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“To really know about the Battle of Midway, you must read this book.”—John B. Lundstrom, author of The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway
(John B. Lundstrom)

“Jon Parshall and Anthony Tully explain, in an entirely new light and from a fresh perspective, how the Japanese navy fought the Battle of Midway. Extensively researched, soundly reasoned, and engagingly and colorfully written, Shattered Sword is the most original piece of scholarship on this decisive event since John B. Lundstrom’s groundbreaking The First Team.”—Robert J. Cressman, editor and principal author of A Glorious Page in Our History: The Battle of Midway
(Robert J. Cressman)

“At last, the Japanese side of the Battle of Midway has been limned in English with accuracy, lucidity, authority, and objectivity. The authors’ specialized knowledge of the tactics and technologies of Japanese naval air power, their careful reading of surviving Japanese air unit records, and their appreciation of the larger meaning of the battle combine to give us a combat narrative and analysis that superbly balance expert detail and grand historical import. I suspect it of being a classic.”Mark R. Peattie, author of Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 and Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941
(Mark R. Peattie)

“A lot has been written about Midway since 1945. Yet everyone who thinks that they know the last word about this momentous event must examine Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully’s book on the subject. Shattered Sword, packed with new information, will certainly become the definitive volume on the most important naval battle of World War II.”Eric Bergerud, professor of military and American history at Lincoln University and author of Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific
(Eric Bergerud)

“This incredibly detailed book provides a whole new approach to the study and interpretation of the battle."Ships and Shipping
(Ships and Shipping 2007-11-12)

Shattered Sword [is] a necessary read for anyone interested in the Pacific War.”NYMAS Review
(NYMAS Review 2008-11-06)

Review

"To really know about the Battle of Midway, you must read this book."

"A lot has been written about Midway since 1945. Yet everyone who thinks that they know the last word about this momentous event must examine Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully's book on the subject. Shattered Sword, packed with new information, will certainly become the definitive volume on the most important naval battle of World War II."

"This meticulously researched and thoroughly documented study is an essential corrective. It is essential reading for anyone interested in carrier aviation, past, present, or future. Although imposing in scale, Shattered Sword is a bargain, and a highly engaging read. Every page seems to throw up a new perspective - from the pathetically low Japanese aircraft production figures, to the political infighting both within the Naval High Command and between the services. The best naval history book of 2005." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

The book was very informative and well written.
Donald A. Ray
I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the Battle of Midway, or just history in general.
D. Mangold
This book is very detailed but is, at the same time, very entertaining and easy to read.
John Coleman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

455 of 467 people found the following review helpful By R. W. Russell on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
. Don't be misled by the title, this is not just another telling of the entire Battle of Midway story. Instead it's an exhaustively detailed new account of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) at Midway, accomplished with a depth of research and analysis not previously seen. The book is crammed with a dazzling set of graphics, including brilliant computer-generated charts and diagrams that very signficantly aid the text.

. Of course, anyone attempting to rewrite the history of the IJN at Midway needs to convince potential readers that the new book offers something signficant over the time-honored resource for that subject, Fuchida and Okumiya's "Midway, the Battle That Doomed Japan." The authors of "Shattered Sword" not only accepted that challenge, but they convincingly demonstrate that Fuchida was very loose with certain key facts in his Midway book, done in order to serve personal aims that didn't necessarily require telling the truth. The result has been a number of deeply-entrenched myths that permeate the popular history of the battle. "Shattered Sword" ably exposes those myths and convincingly demonstrates in each case what really happened and why.

. This reviewer frequently has occasion to recommend references on the Battle of Midway to students and others beginning a study of that epic clash. In such cases I always recommnend Robert Cressman's "A Glorious Page In Our History" as the best overall account of the battle. I now need to add "Shattered Sword" to the short list of works that those doing serious research on Midway really must have. In particular, anyone who has read Fuchida's "Midway" and puts significant stock in it really ought to read "Shattered Sword" to learn what the earlier work either omitted or got quite wrong.
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278 of 291 people found the following review helpful By Barrett Tillman on November 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Very few histories can be considered groundbreaking treatments of an event more than 60 years afterward, but "Shattered Sword" meets that exceptional standard. As the authors conclusively prove, much of what has been written about the most important naval battle of the 20th century was incomplete, inaccurate, or simply fabricated. No future account of Midway will be worthwhile without reference to "Shattered Sword".

Parshall and Tully delve far beyond their unmatched mastery of the technical aspects (some more detailed than accounts of US Navy operations!) to explain why Japan lost the battle. The reasons are many and varied, extending from procedural, operational, and strategic concerns to the very culture that produced the Imperial Navy. In the process, the authors not only provide rare clarity to their analysis, but they raise the bar for naval histories of the Second World War. Readers yet unborn will be grateful to them. I know that I am.

Barrett Tillman, "Clash of the Carriers"
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264 of 277 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This piece is essentially a modern analysis of the causes of the Japanese defeat in the great Battle of Midway. It is more an analysis of Japanese defeat than American victory which, while fascinating, only tells part of the story of the greatest naval battle in American history, and one of the great battles of all time.

The main thrust of this work is to refute the common wisdom that a major cause of the Japanese defeat was that American dive bombers hit three Japanese aircraft carriers while these vessels were in the process of loading bombs onto their own dive bombers and torpedo planes on their flight decks. Here, the authors are persuasive. They give detailed accounts which convince the reader that Japanese doctrine would have had the planes being refit below decks. Further, the authors claim with convincing evidence that the incessant American attacks throughout the morning kept the Japanese fleet largely on the defensive, as it tried to augment its Combat Air Patrol with additional launchings of fighter aircraft. This is a new perspective on the battle, and this appears to be the major finding of this book.

Beyond these tactical considerations, the authors further argue that Japan lost the battle for other more strategic reasons. The authors argue that Yamamoto's Midway strategy lost sight of the principles of Mass and Objective. The principle of Massing of Forces (Mass) was violated as the Japanese dropped one aircraft carrier from the battle due to moderate damage that it suffered at the Battle of Coral Sea (first) and, even more importantly, diverted one carrier group to support a simultaneous sideshow in the Aleutians, which diverted a considerable number of planes from the main battle which was to take place at Midway.
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By DarthRad on January 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read about the Battle of Midway a long time ago and decided to revisit this history. "Shattered Sword" has to rank as one of the best ever books that I have read about this conflict.

The book, through careful research of Japanese and American naval records ends up shattering a number of long standing myths (both American and Japanese) about this battle.

(Another book "The Unknown Battle of Midway: The Destruction of the American Torpedo Squadrons" should be read as a companion piece to "Shattered Sword" - it gives an in-depth account of the failings of American naval aviation at the Battle of Midway).

There is a reason that it has taken over sixty years for such a book to be written about this battle. It has taken that long to finally get a dispassionate look at the events as they really happened.

Almost all the major participants who contributed to the original story of the battle are now dead. American pride about her victories in WWII and the need for myth-making about the heroics of the Greatest Generation have faded. The result is a greater emphasis on examination of the written record of naval operations to recreate what happened, rather than relying on the spin put out by the original participants of the time.

Japan has also gone through some major societal changes, and is now finally beginning to re-examine her conduct during WWII. Much of what is new in this book comes from the Japanese record, and the authors were assisted along the way by a number of Japanese historians.

While eyewitness accounts are normally critical for historians, "Shattered Sword" makes clear that, for this battle, certain participants had motives for not telling the truth.
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