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The Search for the Japanese Fleet: USS Nautilus and the Battle of Midway Hardcover – June 15, 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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1. The maps were awesome. Well placed and well done...easy to understand and visualized. I wish all books had such great maps.
2. For anyone with any understanding of submarine operations, be aware that the author spends quite a bit of time discussing diving the boat, defining certain terms, etc... For a novice, this is great information. For someone who had read just about every sub book out there and been on most of the museum boats...I skimmed this section, which did not detract from the overall story.
3. Be aware that the author presents an good overview of the battle, going into a lot of detail of which carriers where there, the air wings involved, events leading up to the battle, MAGIC, etc. For anyone that has studied the actual battle, skimming most of this will not detract from the overall story. Some background is necessary and anyone not familiar with the battle will need this info, but I felt a lot of it detracted from the story of the Nautilus.
4. The actual text describing the Nautilus was well written and exciting. The author did a great job weaving the back and forth tale of the Japanese ships and the Nautilus. However, I wish he had gone into a bit more detail as I felt this was the first of a two-part thesis of his book. I just felt like I did not get the whole story of the submarine during the battle.
5. The second part of his thesis was the events surrounding the discovery of the Kaga. It was a bit long and drawn out, but I really wanted to see how they did it (as I have followed Robert Ballard in his discovery of the Titanic, Bismarck and Yorktown). Most of the text about this pertained to events leading up to the discovery. Then they found it using a “renavigation” procedure, which sounded fascinating. Once they found the Kaga...BAM, story over, kind of anti-climactic. I felt they spent too much time discussing the battle, carriers, planes, etc...and not enough time on the Nautilus and the Kaga discovery.
6. One minor quibble...there is not one footnote to substantiate any historical claim. It seems the author summarized events from other texts but gives no specific acknowledgement as to where certain information comes from.
The one issue I had was a statement found in Appendix A. On page 280, last paragraph, the author states “With the dramatic exception of Nautilus, U.S. submarines made a poor showing at the battle of Midway.” Going back to item #6 above, I have to wonder why the author states this. I can only assume that he is accepting the incorrect assumption that the submarine’s role at Midway was to intercept the Striking Force and/or Combined Fleet.
That would be a plausible assumption except for the statement the author made on page 29: “In any study of historical events, one finds a collection of ‘conventional wisdom’ that is commonly accepted. Sometimes these ‘facts’ are the product of a mistake or misinterpretation that is propagated over time and thus become ‘true.’ It is never a good idea to accept a piece of information solely on the weight on consensus, though this is a very powerful temptation.’ The author seems to accept the notion that submarines failed at Midway because most of the literature says that...so it must be true. The author has contradicted himself on a key point in regards to submarine operations. Primary sources show that Nimitz stationed the submarines in an arc around Midway to defend against the amphibious assault, as he knew they were no match for the surface ships.
For an in-depth analysis of American and Japanese submarines at Midway, please read my book "MIDWAY SUBMERGED:
The author did not use my book as a reference, which outlines how U.S. submarines successfully operated at Midway based on orders they received. After reading my book, I think you will get a much better understanding of the role the submarine played at Midway.
Aside from that, this is still a good book and I’m happy to have it on my bookshelf.
I was frankly surprised at how ineffective and somewhat timid most of the sub commanders were. The captain and crew of the Nautilus being the exception. The story weaves in the search for a Japanese aircraft carrier with the patrol of the Nautilus.
It was a good tale which blended high tech, low tech and a bit of Navy politics. Clearly a different twist on the Battle of Midway.