Winner of the Northern California Book Award for Nonfiction
"Both a serious work of history…and a marvelously readable dramatic narrative." —San Francisco Chronicle
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, a blow that destroyed the offensive power of their fleet. Pacific Crucible—through a dramatic narrative relying predominantly on primary sources and eyewitness accounts of heroism and sacrifice from both navies—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 to seize the strategic initiative.
Prize-winning freelance naval historian Toll (Six Frigates) chronicles one of the U.S. Navy's finest performances of WWII in this page-turning narrative of the months following the devastating attacks on Pearl Harbor. Eyewitness accounts and extensive research in American and Japanese print and archival sources combined with Toll's storytelling abilities make this an approachable and compelling read in a genre typically reserved for military historians. More than mere battle plans and fighter plane model numbers, Toll's take on the fight in the Pacific is imbued with a sensitivity to detail and individuals, as evidenced by his moving account of the disembarkation of Admiral Fitch and his crew from the sinking USS Lexington at the Battle of the Coral Sea, which saw ice cream being served as the boat burned and men awaiting rescue swam in the warm waters below. But Toll does not pander to sensationalism: his incisive scholastic efforts also shed light on Japanese motives for entering a war that many in the high command considered unwinnable. Revealing and poignant, Toll's latest deftly navigates the rough waters of the Pacific struggle with flying colors. Illus. and maps.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A concise and clear description of the events, actions, and motivations on all sides, from Pearl Harbor to Midway. Easy to read, insightful and interesting. Well researched.
Understanding Japanese Attacking USA
Great read on the events that led Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor and initial phase of war-until epic victory of US at battle of Midway. 6 months after Pearl Harbor - the ultimate outcome was never in doubt. Great insight into the Japanese thought process in attacking USA even though the Japanese high command had to know that the war would end badly for Japan
Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942
I was doubtful about getting a book that rehashed the first 6 months in the Pacific war. But was I wrong! Excellently written and highlighting the personalities that impacted the war. A must read.