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Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater Hardcover – January 3, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This biography of Chester Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during WWII, is not comprehensive. It is not a substitute for E. B. Potter’s more inclusive perspective on an additional 30 years of the subject’s life, Nimitz (1976). Nimitz launched his naval career in submarines, working to create reliable, American-made diesel engines for the boats. He then rose steadily through the usual variety of command and staff positions until, in the wake of Pearl Harbor, he was appointed to his wartime command. His achievements in it can be summarized simply by declaring him one of the major architects of victory in the Pacific. He also emerges as a humane and even kindly man, an accolade that cannot be given to many of his fellow commanders. Regardless of its lack of comprehensiveness, this is a must for any U.S. naval collection that does not already include Potter on its shelves. --Roland Green

Review

“A thorough review of the naval hero's life, from beginning to end.” ―The Associated Press

“A military historian's look at...every stage of Nimitz's era-straddling career...An introduction to the Navy's senior hero of WWII. For military buffs, surely!” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Mr. Harris has done an admirable job…a great story of leadership…the author's use of a large number of oral histories lends significant color to the book.” ―The Washington Post

“A must for any U.S. naval collection.” ―Booklist

“In this fresh new biography, Brayton Harris puts flesh on the bones of an icon and shows us how and why Chester Nimitz became the irreplaceable leader--in both war and peace.” ―J. William Middendorf II, Secretary of the Navy

“Calm, clear-headed, decisive--Admiral Nimitz was a God-send to the U.S. Navy and the Allied cause in World War II. Brayton Harris has written a compelling biography of a low-key hero.” ―Evan Thomas, author of Sea of Thunder and John Paul Jones

“Admiral Nimitz is a superbly written biography of one of the towering but least known heroes of World War II. A brilliant strategist who never sought the limelight, Chester Nimitz was an incomparable leader who served America brilliantly throughout the war in the Pacific and has earned a place in history as one of our greatest naval officers.” ―Carlo D'Este, author of Eisenhower and Patton

“In the skilled hands of Brayton Harris, the biography of one of our nation's greatest Naval leaders comes to life and jumps off the page as if you were reading stories about your own grandfather. Harris has a knack for finding the details, the anecdotes, that build a comprehensive portrait. Read it for the pure joy of getting to know Admiral Nimitz.” ―Gregory A. Freeman, author of The Forgotten 500 and Troubled Water

“Rarely have a biographer and his subject been so wonderfully matched. Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater is meticulously researched, immensely informative, and laudably balanced in all of its judgments. The book is not only a valuable addition to U.S. naval history, it is a thoroughly pleasurable and immensely satisfying biography.” ―Alan Axelrod, author of A Savage Empire: Trappers, Traders, Tribes, and the Wars That Made America and Patton: A Biography

“A lively account of Civil War reporting.” ―Boston Globe on Blue & Gray in Black & White

“Concise and well-written . . . it brings the role of the press in the war to vivid life.” ―Library Journal on Blue & Gray in Black & White

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st Printing edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230107656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230107656
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thanks to Admiral Nimitz and his subordinates like Halsey and Spruance, the U.S. Pacific Fleet was able to rise from the ashes of Pearl Harbor and eventually strike back at the Japanese. In this brief but informative book, author Brayton Harris gives the reader a look into the life of America's most famous admiral.

Nimitz worked his way up through the naval hierarchy during the course of his career. After graduating from Annapolis, Nimitz served in various commands, such as destroyers, submarines, cruisers, and battleships, along with various shore duties. As Nimitz' career progressed, so did his ability to lead men. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the ensuing relief of Admiral Kimmel, President Roosevelt chose Nimitz to become commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater, despite Nimitz being junior to other admirals.

During the course of the war, Nimitz' strategies and his ability to get the most out of his subordinates proved to be important factors in winning the war. Nimitz was also insturmental in the development of many naval practices, including refueling at sea, the circular ship formation for antiaircraft defense, integration of the aircraft carrier into the fleet, and innovative training programs. Nimitz was a leader and he got the utmost from the men who served under him.

After the war, Nimitz worked to maintain the integrity of the Navy and Marines during the tough unification debates. He also served as Chief of Naval Operations.

I found this book to be interesting and informative. Author Harris does a good job of describing the career of Admiral Nimitz, from the time he entered Annapolis until his death in 1966.
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By Kirkpatrick on February 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I have to say, that Mr. Harris' approach to writing this book was very refreshing. Currently, I'm a student working on a Master's Degree in International Affairs and currently studying US foreign policy. During the course of the semester, I was challenged with writing a paper on the Pacific Theater during WWII. I found this book to not only be helpful, but a very good read as well. I learned facts, that I have never seen reported in the past. I felt like I was there! The detail was fantastic! Needless to say, that I highly recomend this book to anybody, not just to graduate students, but to the student of history as well. Bravo and well done!!
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this biography of one of our "under sung" heroes of World War II. We tend to study history through a timeline or series of events, but often it is beneficial to look at history through the biography of someone who a great influence upon it. This is a well written story of Chester Nimitz who commander of the Pacific Fleet during WWII, and the Chief of Naval Operations during part of the post war configuring of our defense department. It is also a history of our Navy in the twentieth century. Commissioned in 1905, Nimitz would rise to become commander of such famous WWII battles as Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. However, after reading Brayton Harris' book you might come to believe that the bigger obstacle to our success was not the Japanese, but rather General Douglas MacArthur and the bureaucracy in the War and Navy Departments. In this book you will learn, in an entertaining and casual read, how Nimitz was instrumental in not only winning the war, but helping to guide the structure of our modern navy that would be instrumental in winning the Cold War.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater is an extraordinarily interesting and revealing book on at least two levels. Early in the book, Brayton Harris begins building a profile of Nimitz as a remarkable leader - "a hands-off commander" who "did not smother subordinates." Harris attributes this to the Navy need to train officers for independent action. Nimitz himself was tested early and often with command responsibilities; first as the commander of a gunboat, then a destroyer, then four different submarines - all six of these afloat commands within his first six years of commissioned service. As a young officer, Nimitz learned to lead and to delegate, skills that would be tested on a much larger scale during World War II. Every young military officer in any branch of US military service could learn much from the positive example set by Nimitz and described by Harris.

On a second level, Harris describes the growing tension within and between the US military services spawned by the emerging importance of both air power and nuclear weapons. Aircraft carriers displaced battleships as the core element of naval power; long-range land-based aircraft threatened the survival of all surface ships; and nuclear weapons, only deliverable by heavy bombers in the 1940s, seemed to diminish the importance of both land and sea power. Concurrent with his retirement, Nimitz addressed these issues publicly arguing that aircraft carriers, heavy surface ships, and submarines - not strategic bombers - were keys to projecting US national power. His comments and Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson's action cancelling construction of a new aircraft carrier, the United States, in favor of building Air Force B-36 bombers, intensified service rivalries.
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