New York Times Bestseller
The final volume of the magisterial Pacific War Trilogy from acclaimed historian Ian W. Toll, “one of the great storytellers of War” (Evan Thomas).
In June 1944, the United States launched a crushing assault on the Japanese navy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The capture of the Mariana Islands and the accompanying ruin of Japanese carrier airpower marked a pivotal moment in the Pacific War. No tactical masterstroke or blunder could reverse the increasingly lopsided balance of power between the two combatants. The War in the Pacific had entered its endgame.
Beginning with the Honolulu Conference, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with his Pacific theater commanders to plan the last phase of the campaign against Japan, Twilight of the Gods brings to life the harrowing last year of World War II in the Pacific, when the U.S. Navy won the largest naval battle in history; Douglas MacArthur made good his pledge to return to the Philippines; waves of kamikazes attacked the Allied fleets; the Japanese fought to the last man on one island after another; B-29 bombers burned down Japanese cities; and Hiroshima and Nagasaki were vaporized in atomic blasts.
Ian W. Toll’s narratives of combat in the air, at sea, and on the beaches are as gripping as ever, but he also reconstructs the Japanese and American home fronts and takes the reader into the halls of power in Washington and Tokyo, where the great questions of strategy and diplomacy were decided.
Drawing from a wealth of rich archival sources and new material, Twilight of the Gods casts a penetrating light on the battles, grand strategic decisions and naval logistics that enabled the Allied victory in the Pacific. An authoritative and riveting account of the final phase of the War in the Pacific, Twilight of the Gods brings Toll’s masterful trilogy to a thrilling conclusion. This prize-winning and best-selling trilogy will stand as the first complete history of the Pacific War in more than twenty-five years, and the first multivolume history of the Pacific naval war since Samuel Eliot Morison’s series was published in the 1950s.
Historian Toll (The Conquering Tide) brings his Pacific War trilogy to a dramatic conclusion in this expertly told account of the final year of WWII. After an intriguing examination of how FDR directed the efforts of U.S. military commanders Douglas MacArthur, Chester Nimitz, and William "Bull" Halsey to roll back earlier Japanese advances, Toll switches from grand strategy to harrowing, first-person accounts of Pacific Theater battles. At Leyte, the Japanese turned kamikaze attacks into both a propaganda tool and an integral element of their defense against America's carrier fleet. Fulfilling his promise to return to the Philippines, General MacArthur liberated POWs held since 1942 and declared victory at Manila in February 1945, only to face a month of "some of the most vicious urban fighting of the entire Second World War." Controversy raged among military generals and the American public about whether the appalling casualties at Iwo Jima were justified, but the island's airfields were needed to launch aerial bombing campaigns against mainland Japan, including the March 1945 firebombing of Tokyo. Toll describes the invasion of Okinawa as a "Pacific Verdun," documents Allied efforts to negotiate peace, details the error-prone mission to bomb Nagasaki, and paints a poignant picture of the surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri. Written with flair and chock-full of stories both familiar and fresh, this monumental history fires on all cylinders. WWII aficionados will be enthralled.
This is the end cap of three outstanding volumes. Told in such detail that I feel I have a solid understanding of the entire Pacific War. It brings me great pride that each of my two grandfathers served in this theater for the United States Military. I highly recommend these books to anyone wanting to put in the time to fully grasp the nuances of this struggle, and what it took for the US to ultimately succeed.