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Subject: Book Recommendations: PTO critical period December 1941-December 1942 rss

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Tim Korchnoi
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Looking for books covering critical time in Pacific Theater from December 1941-December 1942.

I have read the following over the years
Rising Sun (WWII Time Life)
Pacific Onslaught (Ballantine WWII library)
Rising Sun by Toland
Miracle at Midway and At Dawn We Slept by Pranger
Shattered Sword
Guadalcanal by Frank
Eagle Against the Sun
Pacific Crucible by Toll

I currently own, but have not read yet, the following titles
The Admirals
Islands of Destiny Prados
Midnight in the Pacific by Wheeler
The Conquering Tide by Toll
The First South Pacific Campaign by Lundstrom
History of the US Navy by Love

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Jon Gautier

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Not quite the same dates, but these are the books you want.

https://www.amazon.com/Barrier-Javelin-Japanese-Strategies-F...

https://www.amazon.com/Empires-Balance-Japanese-Pacific-Stra...

These are some of the best military histories written on any war, hands down.
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Tony Doran
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Ian Toll, “Pacific Crucible “
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Stewart Thain
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You could try HP Willmott's books:

- Empires in the Balance: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies to April 1942
- The Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and Allied Strategies, February to June 1942
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Jack
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For the Japanese perspective try Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy by Eri Hotta and The Imperial Japanese Army: The Invincible Years 1941-42 by Bill Yenne.

Given Up for Dead: America's Heroic Stand at Wake Island by Bill Sloan is a great book on this early battle, and shows how the US could have extended the resistance if the isolated command had known how well the individual positions were doing.

Of the books you have, Midnight in the Pacific by Wheeler by Joseph Wheelan is the best book I've read on Guadalcanal. It really brings home how important the battle was for the future of the war, and how a more aggressive Japanese response could have crushed the invasion. See Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer for the naval side of the campaign.

The Conquering Tide is great, but later than your timeline.
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Bill Eldard
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Holmes, Double-Edged Secrets- it's been over 30 years since I've read it, but I remember it being rather enlightening regarding what the USN knew and didn't know in those early months of the PTO.

https://www.amazon.com/Double-Edged-Secrets-Intelligence-Ope...

Also check out The Fleet the Gods Forgot by Winslow. It chronicles the plight of the US Asiatic Fleet from Pearl Harbor until about April 1942.

https://www.amazon.com/Fleet-Gods-Forgot-Asiatic-Bluejacket/...
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Leo Zappa
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narodynot wrote:
Ian Toll, “Pacific Crucible “


+1

I've been reading on this conflict for nearly 40 years, and I still learned new things from this book.
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Tim Korchnoi
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desertfox2004 wrote:
narodynot wrote:
Ian Toll, “Pacific Crucible “


+1

I've been reading on this conflict for nearly 40 years, and I still learned new things from this book.


Thanks guys I appreciate the good comments but it is already on my read list above
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Tony Doran
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Oh, man. Tim, I apologize. I even looked for Toll on your list, and still did not see it.
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Agree with the recommendations for the Willmott books.
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Islands of Destiny by our own John Prados.

Hawaii Under the Rising Sun: Japan's Plans for Conquest After Pearl Harbor, Prof. John J. Stephan

https://bit.ly/2Huw1el -- get it while you can

Independent Company: The Australian Army in Portuguese Timor 1941 - 43

My favorite boring topic -- https://www.amazon.com/Brisbane-Line-Controversy-Political-O...
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macbeth77 wrote:
You could try HP Willmott's books:

- Empires in the Balance: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies to April 1942
- The Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and Allied Strategies, February to June 1942

These are the best.

Quote:
Holmes, Double-Edged Secrets
is also quite good, albeit narrowly focused.
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Tim Korchnoi
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narodynot wrote:
Oh, man. Tim, I apologize. I even looked for Toll on your list, and still did not see it.


No biggie. I appreciated you and Leo taking the time to give feedback.
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Ron A
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Both of these by Lundstrom:

The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway

The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat from August to November 1942

Bruce Gamble's trilogy on Rabaul is also worth reading: Target Rabaul, Fortress Rabaul and Invasion Rabaul-- although Target deals with 43-45.
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Paolo Desalvo
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If you want something that shows you the other side of the Pacific, you can get "Bloody Shambles The First Comprehensive Account of Air Operations over South East Asia December 1941 - April/May 1942" by Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Yasuhho Izawa, it is in two volume volumes I "The Drift to War to the Fall of Singapore" and volumes II "The Defence of Sumatra to the Fall of Burma". They provide you an account, almost day by day, of what happened in the area, seen from the British side.
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"Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan," by Fuchida and Okumiya. A classic. The Japanese equivalent (or vice versa?) of Galland's "The First and the Last."

"Kaigun" by Evans and Peattie.

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Bill Eldard
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Arcology wrote:
"Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan," by Fuchida and Okumiya. A classic. The Japanese equivalent (or vice versa?) of Galland's "The First and the Last."

Hasn't Fuchida's account been pretty much discredited?
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Paolo Desalvo
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Eldard wrote:
Arcology wrote:
"Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan," by Fuchida and Okumiya. A classic. The Japanese equivalent (or vice versa?) of Galland's "The First and the Last."

Hasn't Fuchida's account been pretty much discredited?

As long as I remember the last time it has been "Naval History" magazine.
Just an off topic consideration, I would compare Galland's "The First and the Last." with Clostermann's "The Big Show".
 
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Like all memoirs, Midway should be read with a grain of salt -- but it still should be read. Historians rely on other notable, "classic" WWII memoirs (Doenitz, Speer, Chuikov, von Manstein, Guderian), but not for the whole picture, and they read them critically, as should we.

As this naval historian reviewer notes that while details of Midway have been questioned, and that it should be balanced with other accounts, "This is not to say that Midway does not have a place in the historiography of the battle. It is still an important source and provides a unique view of the decisions that influenced the outcome of the battle."

http://www.navyhistory.org/2012/12/book-review-midway-battle...

If anything, Midway is important for understanding how one book can shape people's perceptions of a historical event for decades; the limits of eyewitness accounts and memoirs generally; the limits of original Western research into the Japanese perspective; and how Axis memoirists may in some cases have told their victor audiences what they wanted to hear.
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Arcology wrote:
Like all memoirs, Midway should be read with a grain of salt -- but it still should be read. Historians rely on other notable, "classic" WWII memoirs (Doenitz, Speer, Chuikov, von Manstein, Guderian), but not for the whole picture, and they read them critically, as should we.

As this naval historian reviewer notes that while details of Midway have been questioned, and that it should be balanced with other accounts, "This is not to say that Midway does not have a place in the historiography of the battle. It is still an important source and provides a unique view of the decisions that influenced the outcome of the battle."

http://www.navyhistory.org/2012/12/book-review-midway-battle...

If anything, Midway is important for understanding how one book can shape people's perceptions of a historical event for decades; the limits of eyewitness accounts and memoirs generally; the limits of original Western research into the Japanese perspective; and how Axis memoirists may in some cases have told their victor audiences what they wanted to hear.

The article I was talking of is on-line, read it.
https://www.usni.org/magazines/navalhistory/2016-12/commande...
 
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Kevin
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Both of these by Lundstrom:

The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway

The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat from August to November 1942



thumbsupthumbsup Excellent recommendations! These books are real eye-openers>
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Bill Eldard
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Arcology wrote:
Like all memoirs, Midway should be read with a grain of salt -- but it still should be read. Historians rely on other notable, "classic" WWII memoirs (Doenitz, Speer, Chuikov, von Manstein, Guderian), but not for the whole picture, and they read them critically, as should we.

As this naval historian reviewer notes that while details of Midway have been questioned, and that it should be balanced with other accounts, "This is not to say that Midway does not have a place in the historiography of the battle. It is still an important source and provides a unique view of the decisions that influenced the outcome of the battle."

http://www.navyhistory.org/2012/12/book-review-midway-battle...

If anything, Midway is important for understanding how one book can shape people's perceptions of a historical event for decades; the limits of eyewitness accounts and memoirs generally; the limits of original Western research into the Japanese perspective; and how Axis memoirists may in some cases have told their victor audiences what they wanted to hear.

As I recall, this was the impetus for the authors of Shattered Sword.. They noted that for years, Fuchida's account was the only Japanese account that Western historians seemed to rely on, probably because it was also published in English. Yet by the '70s, Japanese military historians were already picking Fuchida's story apart. Part of Fuchida's errors are, according to them, attributed to a cultural aversion to criticizing superiors. Shattered Sword dedicates much of its narrative toward disproving Fuchida.

On the other hand, an old friend of mine who's studied the IJN for decades and published a few ATO wargames doesn't buy all of Shattered Sword either (I don't have specifics). I found Shattered Sword to be an intriguing analysis of Midway, but it, too, may be flawed.

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Miracle at Midway, by Gordon Prange et alia, is a big step up from Fuchida IMHO. The preceding At Dawn We Slept covers Pearl Harbor, and the later Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History recounts the Recriminations Phase.
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Eldard wrote:
Arcology wrote:
Like all memoirs, Midway should be read with a grain of salt -- but it still should be read. Historians rely on other notable, "classic" WWII memoirs (Doenitz, Speer, Chuikov, von Manstein, Guderian), but not for the whole picture, and they read them critically, as should we.

As this naval historian reviewer notes that while details of Midway have been questioned, and that it should be balanced with other accounts, "This is not to say that Midway does not have a place in the historiography of the battle. It is still an important source and provides a unique view of the decisions that influenced the outcome of the battle."

http://www.navyhistory.org/2012/12/book-review-midway-battle...

If anything, Midway is important for understanding how one book can shape people's perceptions of a historical event for decades; the limits of eyewitness accounts and memoirs generally; the limits of original Western research into the Japanese perspective; and how Axis memoirists may in some cases have told their victor audiences what they wanted to hear.

As I recall, this was the impetus for the authors of Shattered Sword.. They noted that for years, Fuchida's account was the only Japanese account that Western historians seemed to rely on, probably because it was also published in English. Yet by the '70s, Japanese military historians were already picking Fuchida's story apart. Part of Fuchida's errors are, according to them, attributed to a cultural aversion to criticizing superiors. Shattered Sword dedicates much of its narrative toward disproving Fuchida.

On the other hand, an old friend of mine who's studied the IJN for decades and published a few ATO wargames doesn't buy all of Shattered Sword either (I don't have specifics). I found Shattered Sword to be an intriguing analysis of Midway, but it, too, may be flawed.



Discussion of Shattered Sword, Fuchida here:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/753710/fuchida-shattere...
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