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A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945 Paperback – March 30, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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?
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A lot of facts and details not easily found elsewhere. Provides explanations of Japanese plans, ship capabilities and battle tactics.Published 2 months ago by Mike
This book was an excellent accompaniment to another book I read, "Kaigun, Strategy of the Imperial Japanese Navy".Published 3 months ago by Burl F. Phillips Jr.
Dull wrote a relatively brief, but very accessible account of the IJN in the Pacific war. It does what the author intended: it presents the battle history, not the politics or the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Loved this book from the stand point of the detail provided. Not like many other books that cover the war in the pacific, this book shows the reader the many small actions that the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Scott Bailey
A war, line by line, logbook by logbook and message traffic including some heartbreaking failures on the American side. In fact, the U.S. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Matapaloma
If you love WWII history you will love this book!! I had 7 uncles in WWII. One was in the Navy in S Pacific, two were in Gen MacArther's Army, the other four were in Europe serving... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Alan C. Hayes
Explains what the imperial Navy's high command believed to be the situation. Explains the Japanese blunders and operational desperation over the timeline of the Pacific War.Published on April 6, 2013 by Oldcrabbe
The old saying Know Your Enemy! Well this book can help you do that for a past enemy. The book fully covers training,tactics, key personalities & losses. Read morePublished on June 27, 2012 by History buff