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The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942-February 1943: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume 5 (History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II) Paperback – November 1, 2010


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The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942-February 1943: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume 5 (History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II) + Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions, May 1942-August 1942: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume 4 + The Rising Sun in the Pacific, 1931-April 1942: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume 3
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rear Adm. Samuel Eliot Morison wrote many popular and award-winning books on maritime history. He was the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes, two Bancroft Prizes, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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Product Details

  • Series: History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Reprint edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591145511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591145516
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Retired prosecuting attorney on September 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
We now rightly have difficulty conceiving the life or death struggle fought almost 70 years ago by men mostly now gone, near far-off and obscure Pacific islands, and against the once powerful Imperial Japanese Navy. Morison's description of that struggle --- the naval equivalent of hand-to-hand fighting --- inspires and awes all at once. This is a story not many Americans know --- there were more sailors than marines lost during the Guadalcanal campaign, and their sacrifice has almost been forgotten.

This volume, "The Struggle For Guadalcanal," is unquestionably the best of the entire collection. I first read the complete series when I was a teenager, living at home with my late father, who had been a naval officer "for the duration" in World War II. I remember he would at times "tear up" during his nightly reading. I gave him the entire set a few years before he passed away, and he was able to read them a second time. Now they are mine and I have made still a third passage through them, savoring and rediscovering them. I plan on at least one more journey through them in the coming years.

Morison often masterfully combines classical allusions and modern warfare; he does does his best work in this volume because he clearly intends to. It is difficult not to be moved by his description of the great naval action on the night of November 12-13, 1942. Two Admirals, Scott and Callaghan, were killed the same wild night in a naval battle in which, to paraphrase Morison, "both sides knew that no quarter would be given." The picture Morison paints of the next morning, when battered sailors in sinking ships stood by their guns and continued to fire on the enemy, is one that will always endure for me. Highly, highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In July of 1942, the Japanese started building an airfield on Guadalcanal. The Americans realized the problems it would create if allowed to exist and sent forces to stop the work and take over that airfield for themselves. The resultant six month struggles and battles are what are told in this fifth volume of the History of the U.S. Navy in World War 2.

As is usual with Morison's writings, the way he chooses to describe the events and the battles is very exciting and clear. This is not an emotionless recitation of facts, figures, and dates. No, indeed. This is a richly told story with lots of emotion written a short time after the end of the fighting. Of course, since Morison is an American, and because he wrote this volume right after the events, and the book was originally published in 1949, the main viewpoint that he espouses is from the American Navy's viewpoint. Morison did not have access to Japanese sources for his writing which makes this book very one sided. That is not a major problem though, as it sets the scene and tells the story of the various battles in a comprehensive way. The focus is, as usual, on the Navy and its contributions, but there are several chapters in which the land battles that the Marines and Army fought are described as well. These are clearly provided as background material and these chapters lack the detail and verve of the other stories.

There were many battle fought as each side attempted to supply their troops and take control of the waters around that island. One particular are got the nickname "Iron-bottom sound" because of all the ships that sank there as a result of the battles.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
In 1942, author and historian Samuel Eliot Morison was recruited by the United States Navy, and commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander, to document naval activity during the second World War. Eventually Morison's work stretched to fifteen volumes(!) and became widely recognized as one the best histories in its category. This book, volume 5 of the series, was first published in 1949, when the war was still very much a part of living memory.

The book covers the struggle between the United States and the Japanese Empire over the island of Guadalcanal. The book begins with a very interesting history of the island, and then launches into an in-depth examination of the various battles fought on, over, and around the island.

As for me, I found it to be a very interesting book. I must admit that I have not read the other books in the series, but this one certainly shows me why the series became as world-renown as it did! My one and only complaint is that because the book was written so soon after the war, the United States government had not yet admitted the extent of its successes in breaking the Japanese codes, so that part of the war effort is not discussed at all.

But, that said, this is still perhaps the best book ever written on the Guadalcanal campaign, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in that part of World War 2!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By paulb99237 on May 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to learn more about my father's experience. In that respect, it was a little disappointing. But what can you say about a few hours (minutes) action involving one ship? I bought a hard copy of this book about 50 years ago and my dad read, and re-read, it until the binding came apart. Professor Morison wrote this history for the reader, not academics. It is an interesting and entertaining read.
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The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942-February 1943: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume 5 (History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II)
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