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War at Sea: A Naval History of World War II Paperback – January 30, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0195110388 ISBN-10: 0195110382 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (January 30, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195110382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195110388
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,142,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With authoritative analysis, and in one volume, Miller majestically relates the history of the last great sea war for the general reader, from the sinking of the passenger ship Athenia on September 3, 1939, to the surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945. The battle to secure the seas was the one campaign fought from the beginning of the conflict to its conclusion. The narrative covers the major operations of the American, British, Canadian, Soviet, German, Japanese and Italian navies, with recollections by those who manned the ships and planes. Miller's sweeping version of the Battle of the Atlantic?German U-boats versus Allied convoys?confirms that victory went to the Allies when American shipyards succeeded in producing merchant vessels faster than the Germans could sink them. His compelling account of the turning-point Battle of Midway reveals how the supremacy of carrier aircraft as the decisive factor in modern naval warfare was established. Miller is the author of FDR: An Intimate History. History Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Miller, whose book The U.S. Navy: An Illustrated History (Morrow, 1990. rev. ed.) is used as a text at the Naval Academy, has written a book that is as captivating and intriguing as a novel. It tells all sides of the history of naval warfare during World War II. Each chapter deals with a specific campaign or policy. A positive point of the work is that Miller didn't write a sanitized history. He clearly presents mistakes, both good and bad, and good or bad judgment from all sides. Extensive footnotes provide additional information, anecdotes, and clarifications of official accounts. Essential for libraries dealing with military and American history and highly recomended for other libraries.?Terry Wirick, Erie Cty. Lib. System, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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What I enjoyed most was Miller's recounting of the naval battles that took place during the European war's early years.
J. Taylor
The War at Sea is an excellent book that give you a thumb nail view of the entire naval action of WW-II without getting bogged down with detailed tactical issues.
Texas Tuit
This book is a complete one-volume history of the war at sea and the general historian should find this book a good read.
Jerry Wilt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Craig MACKINNON on October 8, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a 1-volume history of the naval war in all theatres in WWII, this book can by no means be complete or in-depth. However, if you read this book as an introduction to naval warfare, or as a look at the "big picture", this volume does the job very well. It is easy to read, informative, touches on virtually all the important events, and keeps up a good pace. Of course, certain events are relegated to mere footnotes, including the Dieppe raid and the loss of USS Indianapolis (where most of the deaths were from sharks and exposure, not enemy activity) in the interest of timing and length. However, Miller usually points the way to further readings in such cases, if the reader wants to know more. There is an extensive notes section at the end of the book divided by chapter, listing many primary sources, which gives the book a good deal of credibility.
His analysis is generally brief as well, which is ideal for a book of this type, where pace important. This doesn't mean it's any less insightful, however. He convincingly argues that the use of the atomic bomb was a strategic, war-ending measure, not just an attempt to scare the Soviet Union; that the refusal of the Japanese to withdraw skilled pilots to train the next generation was a fatal error; and that the industrial might of the combined allies was too much for the Axis - they had to win in the first couple of years or be ultimately worn out. Another important point in praise of this book is the way Miller is careful to point out the involvement of the so-called minor allies. For example, by 1945, Canada had the 3rd largest navy in the world, but because the RCN primarily participated in the Battle of the Atlantic, they get ignored by historians who get caught up in Big Events storytelling.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Taylor on June 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I must concur with other reviewers that Nathan Miller's "War at Sea: A Naval History of World War II" is the best history on naval warfare during the Second World War. The book reads like a novel without getting bogged down in details. What I enjoyed most was Miller's recounting of the naval battles that took place during the European war's early years. When most individuals think of naval warfare in the Second World War, they tend to think of the Pacific war - Pearl Harbor, Midway, Leyte Gulf, etc. (for the simple and correct reasoning that the Pacific Ocean's great expanse required strong and large navies to ferry troops, equipment, aircraft, etc.). But Miller does an excellent job of educating the reader about the tremendous naval battles that took place in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. For instance, Britain's pursuit of the Bismark, the destruction of the Italian fleet and, importantly, the U-boat war. Thus, in essence, the European war was as much of a naval war as was the Pacific war. I highly recommend this history to all World War II history readers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a classic. A great read for anyone slightly interested in naval history or WWII. The stories in the footnotes are great. It gives the war a more personal touch than most books on naval history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
in the Second World War.
This book, which begins with the opening of the war in 1939 and ends with the surrender off of Japan in 1945 is probably the most comprehensive, most thorough narrative of naval action involving the major forces. While I agree with one review (in an Air Force magazine, I believe) that states that the Russian and Italian navies were underrepresented, the other forces are represented. Readers feel as if they are chasing after enemy battleships, fighting attacking aircrafts, battling fires, or firing torpedoes from submarines.
This is an excellent introduction to the naval war--one that's worth reading again and again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Fonseca on November 7, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A marvellous journey through the sea nightmares of World War II. The best you can get in only one volume, by an expert in Naval history. No complains. Magnific.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert the Hun on August 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This work is pure and unadulterated magic for any reader even remotely interested in World War II. The scope of the work is daunting: documenting the enormous impact naval activity had on the course of the War . . . in one manageable volume.
As a fairly well-read amateur historian (admittedly unfamiliar with many of the primary and secondary historical sources upon which the author relies), I cannot overemphasize the joy I found reading this book. The author's prose is almost uniformly flawless, a characteristic sadly lacking in all too many historical works. The book reads as easily as any work of fiction you would care to name, without losing any of its historical accuracy or objectivity.
The author scrupulously documents the issues faced by all the War's participants, though a careful reader might detect a certain amount of Anglo-Allied bias. However, whenever the author passes judgment on the actions of a particular admiral or political leader, he almost always presents an opposing viewpoint.
Overall, the reader will be, as the title of this review indicates, in the presence of greatness upon taking up this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. Tejera on May 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
From the first sentence, to the last it keeps you in the edge of your bed. Had to read it again, as soon as I finished. Should be in everybody's collection of books. Buy it, you will not be disappointed!
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