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The Fleet the Gods Forgot: The U.S. Asiatic Fleet in World War II (Bluejacket Books) Paperback – May 2, 1994


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The Fleet the Gods Forgot: The U.S. Asiatic Fleet in World War II (Bluejacket Books) + Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of her Survivors
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Product Details

  • Series: Bluejacket Books
  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (May 2, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155750928X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557509284
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,836,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael Knight on September 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book believing that I was purchasing a history of the Asiatic fleet. What I got was a series of interesting narratives which were only very broadly structured and gave you little or no opportunity to glean the historical sequence of events. Don't get me wrong the accounts, mostly from first hand sources are gripping reading, but I was left rather disappointed and with the impression that I had read a book of short stories rather than a historical record.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sean E. Boudreaux on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
My Grandfather was an Asiatic Fleet sailor and was on the ancient Omaha-Class light cruiser USS Marblehead when WW2 broke out. He had been over there for 4 years prior and told me (with a good deal of bitterness) about the colossal waste of those early actions, squandering the most veteran sailors the USN had on those old vessels in mismatched actions early in 1942.

He pressed home to me again and again how we roundly got our behinds kicked for a good period of time in 1942. It's good to recall that, and how we came back from behind the 8 ball to prevail.

I bought this book the first instant I saw it...it reads much like my Grandfather's stories. Like some portions of Leyte Gulf which the USN would like to not recall because the situations were created by bad decisions or planning by the Ringers wearing gold braid, it shows, more than any overwhelming victory we had, our character as a Navy and a nation. When the odds aren't in our favor and our backs were against the wall...we came out swinging nonetheless.

Highly recommended. Read it as a companion to the victories at Guadalcanal, Midway, Saipan and Leyte Gulf.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was truly an outstanding book. It's filled with short stories about the few victories and many defeats suffered during the first few months of the war. It tells of how a few heroic men made their stand alone against a vastly superior enemy. We have learned and appreciated all of the successes and heroes from this war, but this book shows us how we can learn and appreciate from the real lives of men that history has largely forgotten.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a haunting and phenomenal story of the rusted and forgotten US Asiatic Fleet during the early days of the war. The book is detailed and chilling, a complete chronology of how these mem were left alone on old destroyers and cruisers to face complete annihilation against vastly superior Japanese equipment and tactics. It is a depressing read, but a must for anyone interested in all the details of US naval ops in the part of the war we lost.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin R. Austra on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
THE FLEET THE GODS FORGOT dispells the notion that the US Navy remained passive until the Battle of Midway. The aged Asiatic Fleet, valiantly struck back at the Japanese from the moment hostilities broke out between Japan and the United States.

Equipped with antiquated surface ships, a few patrol boats, submarines, and hopelessly out-gunned PBY patrol planes, the US Navy made its presence known in and around the Phillipines. From the beginning the odds were against the Asiatic Fleet and the British and Dutch craft that often accompanied them in battle. In several naval battles the cruisers and other ships went to the bottom after exacting a toll of invading Japanese forces.

Author W.G. Winslow recounts the individual naval and air engagements in seas that quickly became Japanese lakes. However, some of the most interesting portions of the book are those devoted to escape, survival, and navigational skills of downed airmen and crews of sunken vessels.

The first chapters of the book start out rather slowely as an overview of the major actions of the Asiatic Fleet. Do not give up heart, because the subsequent chapters fill in the details of individual caft and their engagements. Be prepared for overlapping of material in some of the chapters as many of the separately chapter-spotlighted destroyers and cruisers were involved in the same naval action.

I received this book as a gift and an sorry I put off reading it for so long. THE FLEET THE GODS FORGOT is proof-positive that allied naval forces gave the Japanese military a few good shots before Coral Sea and Midway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brianuspugnatus on July 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book covers the period in early '42 when a small hodgepodge fleet of Dutch, US, Austrailian, and British ships tried to stem the Japanese advance. It was a hopeless proposition, of course, but that's part of what makes it a good read. U.S. readers tend to avoid American WWII defeats. Yeah, Midway was an incredible victory, but there is much of interest here. In particular the fate of the cruiser, Houston, which today is almost a forgotten ship compared to ships in more successful endeavors later in the war. Apparently it's not just the gods who forgot this fleet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Marchinek on March 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Fleet the Gods Forgot by Captain Winslow is a wonderful tale that needs to be remembered by the Gods and Americans. If you ever thought you had a bad day then you should read these harrowing tales that our Grandfathers lived through.

This is a collection of first and second hand accounts of the Asiatic fleet during the first six months or so of World War II. The Asiatic fleet is a backwater fleet scattered from China to Java and consisting of old and outdated Warships from World War I.

I enjoyed the tales of these men's struggles to survive the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and other South Sea islands. These men struggled against the overwhelming odds against both the Japanese military and the Sea itself and lived to tell the tale.

I found it a little difficult moving from chapter to chapter when the same period was covered but from a different unit's perspective. The chapters cover the Cruisers, Destroyers, PT boats, PBY flying boats and more. You read about different vessels sinking over and over again from different perspectives and it becomes a bit confusing.

I really enjoyed the struggles of the PT boats and especially the PBY's of Squadron 10. The PBY's are a part of the Navy I was not that familiar with let alone their amazing deeds. I also enjoyed the perspective of the auxiliary vessels like tenders and the USS Isabel. These non-combatant ships suffered the same enemy and often had little to fight back with. My cousin FN1c Cyril Marcinek served for 2 years on the Sub Tender USS Otus in the South Seas and it is nice to see these not so glamorous but just as vital Ship get a part in the history of the Navy and World War II.

Thank you Captain Winslow for preserving these amazing stories of valor and sacrifice from a front that is often overlooked and sometimes overshadowed by the horrors of Bataan. Every World War II or Naval historian should have this book.
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