Audie Award Nominee, History, 2013
The planning, the strategy, the sacrifices and heroics - on both sides - illuminating the greatest naval war in history. On the first Sunday in December 1941, an armada of Japanese warplanes appeared suddenly over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Six months later, in a sea fight north of the tiny atoll of Midway, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sent into the abyss.
Pacific Crucible tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history and seized the strategic initiative. Ian W. Toll's dramatic narrative encompasses both the high command and the "sailor's-eye" view from the lower deck. Relying predominantly on eyewitness accounts and primary sources, Pacific Crucible also spotlights recent scholarship that has revised our understanding of the conflict, including the Japanese decision to provoke a war that few in the country's highest circles thought they could win. The result is a pause-resistant history that does justice to the breadth and depth of a tremendous subject.
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The Best Part
Delightful for WWII nerds like me, examining the most interesting part of the Pacific War...the part where the victor was still very much in doubt. Great detail, and rare insight into the Japanese point of view.
Finally! The complete story from Pearl Harbor to Midway
Why hasn't this book existed before. The entire War in the Pacific was decided-- that's decided, not completed-- in the seven months between December, 1941 and June, 1942. Yet I have not found an audiobook that recounted and dissected that period. Well, I guess the wait was worthwhile, because this book is fabulous. It moves methodically from point to point through each event of the early War in the Pacific. Not every important, or famous, or American-centric point; but every point, so you actually could observe and understand the swells and shifts of momentum, like those of the seas themselves. The detail is fantastic, even peppered with asides and humorous insights. The perspectives are from the combative's point of view, so the perspective is accurate with all of the uncertainty and prejudice that existed at that time and informed the decisions that were made. And that is fabulous. This is the best explanation of the total picture of the success, futility, and failure of the events described. Most important, even though the attack on Pearl Harbor was the impetus for FDR's entree into the War, the book then reveals his almost complete lack of interest in the Pacific in favor of his Europe-First inclinations. And that is good, since he didn't care, he meddled very little, thus the War was decided successfully, as stated above, in just seven months. Bravo.