- Paperback: 656 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (November 26, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393343413
- ISBN-13: 978-0393343410
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 521 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 1st Edition
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“An entertaining, impressively researched chronicle of the tense period between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and American victory at the battle of Midway.”
“Toll’s storytelling abilities make this an approachable and compelling read in a genre typically reserved for military historians. . . . Revealing and poignant, Toll’s latest deftly navigates the rough waters of the Pacific struggle with flying colors.”
- Publishers Weekly
“The research is thorough, the writing clear, and the narrative flow exemplary...it is difficult to think of a recent book on this subject that is of such consistently outstanding value.”
“Well documented―albeit from previously published materials―and well written. Experienced World War II history buffs may bypass if they feel no need to read another retelling of this phase of the Pacific War, but nonspecialists and general readers will want to consider it.”
About the Author
Ian W. Toll is the author of Pacific Crucible and Six Frigates, winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award and the William E. Colby Award. He lives in San Francisco and New York.
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Top customer reviews
The events and much of the material Toll uses to describe them will be familiar to students of the period. What makes Toll's book such a pleasurable read is the quality of his narrative style and his superb judgment in deciding which items to include and how to arrange them. His perceptive prologue and his portraits of the key players are quite good as well. The prologue in particular offers a worthwhile explanation of how quickly Japan caught up with the western world and then was fatally tempted to subdue it.
In addition, I found Toll's description of the Battle of the Coral Sea fresh and comprehensive. This important battle is often relegated to a passing mention as the prelude to Midway, but Toll corrects that oversight. His recounting of the role intelligence played in the ultimate defeat of the Japanese also goes well beyond that provided in other books on the subject. Among other things, I had not considered the value of Halsey's raids in the early months of 1942 to the cryptologists - the resulting increase in Japanese radio traffic helped to identify locations, ships, and even officers.
There are a few glitches. The International Date Line is not northeast of Oahu, and the term "shuttle bombing" is misused. I also tired of the numerous references to pilots as "flyboys." After several odd references to "fuel tankers," Toll labels these ships with the more familiar term "fleet oilers." These are very minor complaints, however, and should not deter anyone from acquiring this highly recommended book.
The "Pacific Crucible" starts out with a brilliant account of the Mahan tactics,which helps establish his point of how a sailor from the 1850's would be more accustomed to the life aboard a ship in the 1600's than in the 1900's. This is continued by the detailed descriptions of the political situations that developed the conflict on both fronts. The, Toll delves into a graphic and violent account of the day that has lived in infamy for over 70 years.
I was enlightened at how Chruchill convinced Roosevelt that a Europe first strategy was more important than committing to a Pacific campaign, and the descriptions of how the Japanese military converted their society for war brought their ultimate demise.
The naval battles were done in an informative and exciting fashion. For those that claim that history is dull, I recommend that they read a Toll book.
My one complaint about the book is that the ending felt somewhat rushed. Toll concludes the Battle of Midway, and then after a several pages briefly proving Admiral Yamamoto's early predictions of how war with the United States would end, the book ends itself. I was expecting more regarding the rest of the war, but since the book was primarily about the major naval actions of the Pacific, it was understandable, seeing how the subtitle of the book states it only accounts from 1941-1942.
Overall, a five star rating barely does this magnificent book justice. I certainly hope that Toll is working on another project.
Ian Toll has continued the series with the Conquering Tide that describes the middle phase of the war and how the US forces took the initiative. It is a must read after the Pacific Crucible. Third part of the book is in the making and I for one is eagerly waiting to read it.