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A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945 Paperback – March 30, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 - 1 year
  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Reprint edition (March 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591142199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591142195
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is THE book that validates Morison and makes his work truly useable. It is well known that Morison is full of errors, and how could it not be, since it used so few Japanese sources? Still, too many people rely on Morison, even big-shots like John Keegan who totally ruins his description of Midway in Price of Admiralty by ignoring readily-available Japanese sources. This book pulls those sources together with much more obscure ones into a history of the battles of the IJN. The author is fluent in Japanese and also a professional historian.
It is well-written enough, if too concise in parts. Be mindful of its limited scope. Do not look for biography, politics, etc. In fact, the scope may be too limited, as many battles are left out or abridged that deserve better treatment. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea, the sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse, and the neutralization of Truk are three truly seminal battles that fail his criteria of ship-vs-ship and thus get glossed over. There is also next to nothing about the submarine war, which was certainly ship-to-ship. This is the only quibble and is not enough to bring it down to 4 stars. How could this important a book not get 5 stars?
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Format: Hardcover
"A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy" will make a fine and intellectually stimulating addition to a military history collection. A veritable compendium of surface naval engagements that have been revisited by Mr. Dull using Japanese-language sources, it is not, however, the most comprehensive source of information and insight about the role of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War. Other sources, for instance, that greatly complement this book include "Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941" and Prange's seminal books on Pearl Harbor and Midway.
The book has some noticeable quirks too for the non-initiated. For instance, was there ever a pink-painted Japanese cruiser? The book does not dwell on the minutiae of the warships involved, so it is rather surprising to encounter an odd little detail such as the cruiser Haguro's paint scheme.
What makes the book especially valuable to me is the subtext: the Japanese Navy had in essence intensely prepared for the wrong war to fight. Deeply absorbed in the Mahan doctrine of the decisive naval battle--a principle that emphasized destroying an enemy fleet in a grand engagement that effectively ends the conflict--Nihon Teikoku Kaigun was, by the outbreak of the Second World War, ready to confront the US fleet within the context of a short yet decisive campaign. Then, after helping Japan secure access to the mineral resources of Southeast Asia, the navy would have been instrumental in safeguarding the perimeter of the newly-won oceanic empire.
It didn't quite turn out that way. As Dull's book elucidates in meticulous detail, the Japanese Navy was forced to fight practically to the last ship. Having lost the initiative midway through the conflict, a once-powerful armada that helped subdue one-third of the globe was to all intents and purposes wiped out by the end of the war.
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Format: Paperback
I am glad to see this aging warhorse in print. It is still the only really comprehensive source on the IJN based largely on Japanese-language sources. Way too much fo the Pacific War literature is based on partisan or hagiographic readings of the conflict, almost exclusively from the American perspective (although Spector, Gailey, and Costello try to be balanced). The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has produced a monumental 100+ volume history of the war, but almost none of it has been translated into English. Until we have some historians who can either read the originals and use them to fill in gaps, or translate some key chunks and publish them as a "greatest hits" collection with commentary and comparisons to the US semi-official Morison history, Dull will have to do for understanding "the other side of the hill."
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Format: Hardcover
This is an EXTREMELY comprehensive and detailed book, written from the IJN perspective. It gives excellent details of Japanese planning, tactics, training and ship losses (in an appendix). My only problem(s) with it are that it basically 'ends' about mid-1943, and from reading the book, you really wonder how did the Japanese LOSE if they had such great ships, men, tactics, etc?? When you read only about successes, you lose out on the lessons that can (or should) be learned from failures. The Americans learned from their mistakes early in World war II --- Dull doesn't cover how, or if, the IJN learned from theirs.
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Format: Hardcover
Paul Dull was the first historian to write about the Japanese side of the Second World war, from the perspective of the Imperial Japanese Navy. He did so with skill, using the Japanese records to their fullest, and managed to write a book which encompasses the campaigns of the IJN and illustrates them perfectly with track charts, orders of battle, and some of the finest prose I have yet read. With his work, Dull set the stage for more fine books, but his will remain the measure of all later accounts
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of the four major navies in the twentieth century (Royal, U.S., Imperial German/Kriegsmarine, and the Imperial Japanese), the Imperial Japanese Navy is the least known of outside its own country. Paul S. Dull, a former Japanese-language officer in the Marine Corps turned academic, wrote this book in 1977, and it is a testimony to its importance and the small number of studies on the IJN that it is still in print. Dull based his account on official unit records and ship logs that the United States government seized during the occupation of Japan and the official Japanese histories of World War II.

Dull has produced a useful book that offers important insights and helps balance the English-language historical record of this conflict. He revisits a number of smaller battles that many people pay little attention to (most Americans know Pearl Harbor, the fall of the Philippines, Coral Sea, Midway, and then jump forward to Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the bombing of Japan). Dull has done some impressive work balancing the various American and Japanese accounts of these engagements. He gives his readers exceptionally useful maps that carefully show American and Japanese positions--the maps of each navy vary significantly for the same battle. His insights on Kurita's decision at Leyte Gulf to retreat, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory makes a lot of sense and is very compelling. He essentially argues that there was no great impending victory, that the IJN had shot its load and was played out. In fact, this explanation is so convincing, it is surprising that authors since 1977 have not accepted it in total.

The only problem with this book is that it seems rather "bloodless." There is no passion. There is no discussion of the personalities of the figures involved.
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