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Battle Of Leyte Gulf Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 1955
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In October 1944, the Imperial Japanese Navy, driven to desperation, set out to surprise and annihilate the American forces that had just landed on the central Philippine island of Leyte. Instead, they suffered a crushing loss that broke the back of the Japanese navy and ensured that Japan would lose the war. This is the blazing hour-by-hour account of that brutal battle.
Top customer reviews
Hoyt does not spend as much time as in most other books on this battle debating the pluses and minuses of Admiral Halsey's fateful decision to bring Task Force 34 along with him in his pursuit of Ozawa. He faithfully lays out the particulars, but largely leaves it to the reader to draw his own conclusions as to the wisdom (or otherwise) of Halsey's choice.
Hoyt's speculations as to what was going on in Admiral Kurita's mind on the morning of October 25th are particularly illuminating. Although it is ultimately impossible to get inside another's head, Hoyt does manage to convey the atmosphere of complete, absolute confusion and the agony of not knowing where the main body of the American fleet was that must have dominated the Japanese commander's thinking as he struggled to decide how to proceed after the Battle off Samar. Most commentators criticize Kurita harshly for his decision to retire, but given what he did not know, I can understand why he did.
I must have read every book ever published on the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and I can't think of another that I would recommend more highly than this one. Only real shortcoming: no maps, no charts. But they're all over the internet, so it's ridiculously easy to find them to follow along with.