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Nimitz Paperback – March 15, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The late E.B. Potter, a longtime history professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and former naval officer who served in the Pacific during World War II, is the author of several books, including Nimitz, Admiral Arleigh Burke, and Sea Power: A Naval History, which he wrote with Admiral Nimitz.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; 1st Naval Institute Press Pbk edition (March 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591145805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591145806
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Anderson on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book at the Navy Exchange on a whim. Two pages into this book and I was hooked. After 20 years in the Navy after reading this book, I can see Nimitz's impact everywhere I look.

Most biographies are written by hero worshiping sychophants, or worse written by the subject of the biography whose recollection of events are always flattering. Potter tackles the single most important man in U.S. Naval history with appriciation, but not at the expense of his detachment.

You begin with the Admiral's family history, how his grand father came to America. You then follow his lack luster school performance that explodes into focused determination to pass the Naval Academy's entrance exams. Because the Admiral's claim to fame was his leadership during WW II, the lion's share of the book covers his assumption of command U.S. Forces Pacific and follows it through his presence at the signing of the Japanese surrender at Tokyo bay. However; the last few chapters covering his dedicated work to maintain the U.S. Navy as a seperate and powerful force is eye opening and gives the reader (especialy if your a sailor) a scare at how close the U.S. Navy came to being dismantled like it had been after every war.

The thing I took away from the book was as you look around the Navy, many officers are detail minded. The higher the rank, the more of a bean counter they become. I used to be disappointed that we no longer had officers like Perry or John Paul Jones, that they had all become accountant politicians. However; reading this book, I now see that men like Jones, Perry, and Halsey might win battles. It was the detail minded officers like Nimitz that win wars. It is very obvious that in today's Navy officers are trained in the shadow of Nimitz.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a well written biography that also presents many lessons of leadership. Starting with how Nimitz "conceived the image of an ideal officer and consciously molded himself to conform to that image;" to his introduction of the circular formation to the fleet; to the way he ran planning sessions for World War II Pacific Theater operations. Nimitz was a master storyteller who used stories to convey knowledge and share humor. His political acumen in handling disputes between the Army and the Marine Corps on Saipan and, later, as Chief of Naval Operations testifying before congressional committees over unification of the services provide case studies in executive leadership. Although Nimitz's service in World War II is widely known, I was surprised to learn of his efforts in the late 1940's to mediate the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir---an area that remains a hot spot today!
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Format: Hardcover
As student of WWII Pacific Theater, found this to be the best of available, factual reviews of same and the man - The Admiral - who so often put his country before his personal life and was able to make a major difference in a world at war. A true gentelman, this leader set standards for all who would follow, both in his professional and private lives.
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Format: Hardcover
E.B. Potter's Nimitz is an adequate depiction of the Navy's preeminent leader of WWII. Adequate, vice great, as Potter did not seem willing to criticize, although Nimitz was evidently a man who did provide few episodes worthy of criticism. He was loved by the troops, respected by his peers and immediate subordinates, and worked well with superiors (King, Knox, and Roosevelt) that demanded excellence in all of their subordinates. The reader may wonder why there are so few narratives dedicated to Nimitz during WWII, as compared to the plethora available depicting the wartime exploits of MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and Patton. It would appear that his quiet competence, as compared to the showmanship of some of the others, did not lend itself to a flashy best-seller, thus Potter is the only one who has attempted to tell his story.

Potter did a good job, but his personal friendship with Nimitz appears to have rendered him incapable of criticizing the man. While Nimitz did apparently have few faults, Potter did a disservice to the reader by failing to scrutinize some of Nimitz's faults, such as his apparent indecisive streak when it came to strategic decision-making (for instance deciding the correct avenue of approach to Japan, whether the Philippines, Taiwan, or the Bonins, especially in discussions with Roosevelt and MacArthur).

Also, as a practitioner, I felt that the lack of discussion of the specifics of operational planning and decision-making under Nimitz's command, missed an opportunity for comparison with the methods that the military uses, successfully or not, in today's formulation of strategy and operational construction.
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Format: Hardcover
Some WWII commanders. such as Patton, Ike or MacArthur, seem to have a new book written about them every year or so. For no particular reason, others, no less important, seem to be virtually ignored. Nimitz is one of these men, and it is fortunate that the one biography (as far as I can tell) written about him is quite excellent. Potter writes very well, did some outstanding research, and has an enormous love for his subject, letting Nimitz's natural charm, humor, professionalism, and common sense come through on every page. My only real complaint is that the author's near worship of his subject precludes any real discussion of the admiral's strategy, decisions, and mistakes. Some nice maps, footnotes, an excellent bibliography. Definitely one of those books worth purchasing and reading over and over.
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