The Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway

4.5 36
by Craig L. Symonds
     
 

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There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever.

In this absolutely riveting

Overview

There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever.

In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice. Symonds begins with the arrival of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese attack, and describes the key events leading to the climactic battle, including both Coral Sea—the first battle in history against opposing carrier forces—and Jimmy Doolittle's daring raid of Tokyo. He focuses throughout on the people involved, offering telling portraits of Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance and numerous other Americans, as well as the leading Japanese figures, including the poker-loving Admiral Yamamoto. Indeed, Symonds sheds much light on the aspects of Japanese culture—such as their single-minded devotion to combat, which led to poorly armored planes and inadequate fire-safety measures on their ships—that contributed to their defeat. The author's account of the battle itself is masterful, weaving together the many disparate threads of attack—attacks which failed in the early going—that ultimately created a five-minute window in which three of the four Japanese carriers were mortally wounded, changing the course of the Pacific war in an eye-blink.

Symonds is the first historian to argue that the victory at Midway was not simply a matter of luck, pointing out that Nimitz had equal forces, superior intelligence, and the element of surprise. Nimitz had a strong hand, Symonds concludes, and he rightly expected to win.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Battle of Midway was the hinge on which the war in the Pacific turned. Its story deserves retelling, and Symonds' book does a wonderful job of it." —The American Spectator

"Mr. Symonds has marshaled the data of seven decades to produce an account that is clear and readable, benefiting from his easy expertise in naval matters." —The Wall Street Journal

"Important...documenting a role too often overlooked and too little understood: the essential role played by the U.S. Navy in winning the war in the Pacific." - The Dallas Morning News

"[W]holly satisfying . . . a lucid, intensely researched, mildly revisionist account of a significant moment in American military history." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Craig Symonds has delivered yet another outstanding work, a work that will set the standard for studies of the Battle of Midway for years to come. Even if one thinks one knows all there is to know about Midway, Mr. Symonds' plethora of new facts, rationales for what and why each side performed the way it did, human interest stories and more make The Battle of Midway indispensable . . . The story of the battle unfolding and being fought is absolutely outstanding, but the events before and after it are equally well told. In addition, the supporting charts, photographs, references and bibliography are awesome. For anyone at all interested in the Battle of Midway, the Pacific War or the Navy, this is a must read."
—The Washington Times

Selected as a Best Book of 2011 by Military History Quarterly

"Deeply researched, shrewdly argued, and powerfully narrated, The Battle of Midway is a superb work of the historian's craft. It easily takes its place as the best and most comprehensive account of the pivotal battle from the American perspective." -Richard B. Frank, author of Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle and Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire

"In The Battle of Midway Symonds has effectively synthesized the huge mass of information about the Midway battle into a fast-moving, highly readable account filled with nuggets of fascinating biographical material about many of the principals, both American and Japanese . . . Symonds describes the scenes of the Battle of Midway itself with the knowing eye of a fine historian . . . Craig Symonds has crafted an excellent addition to the pantheon of important literature about the transcendent American naval victory at Midway. The Battle of Midway deserves to be read and enjoyed." —Naval History

"Compulsively readable" —The Week

"Well documented through interviews, official records, and secondary sources, the book will show readers that Midway was, as Wellington would have said, "a close-run thing." General military history enthusiasts will be fascinated, and specialists will revel in the careful dissection of the action. — Library Journal

"[A] superb narrative, clearly, vividly, and energetically written, with attention to detail that is always relevant to his interpretation . . . this book will be read appreciatively by other non-specialists. Indeed, it demonstrates why military history should not be considered 'merely' a 'niche' subject, but part of the mainstream of the national narrative." —HNN.com

"A fascinating and informative retelling of the most important naval battle of the Pacific War. Symonds once again demonstrates his superb mastery of his craft." -Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

Chosen as one of Proceedings Notable Books of 2011

Library Journal
History's second aircraft carrier battle certainly deserves a place in this "Pivotal Moments" series. Through expert analysis of the details behind the battle, Symonds (history, emeritus, U.S. Naval Academy; Decision at Sea) illuminates American commanders' errors that could have lost the battle, and which were later downplayed. Japanese overconfidence and American cryptographic intelligence and luck proved decisive. VERDICT Well documented through interviews, official records, and secondary sources, the book will show readers that Midway was, as Wellington would have said, "a close-run thing." General military history enthusiasts will be fascinated, and specialists will revel in the careful dissection of the action.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195397932
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/05/2011
Series:
Pivotal Moments in American History Series
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
202,748
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Craig L. Symonds is Professor of History Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of many books on American naval history, including Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History as well as Lincoln and His Admirals, co-winner of the Lincoln Prize in 2009.

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The Battle of Midway 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Dpart50 More than 1 year ago
An excellent and informative history review. Well written, and containing some information I have not seen before - and I am well read on the subject, as a former naval aviator. Should be required reading for military history classes.
PathfinderPM More than 1 year ago
This is probably the best single book about this battle, and the author's writing style made it a highly enjoyable read.
paul kaltenbach More than 1 year ago
Exceptionally well written, the book reads like a fast paced novel. The author does an excellent job showing us the mindsets of the principal players, the strategy of the Japanese empire, and the inevitable chain of events that forced this battle to occur. The descriptions of each phase of the battle were clear and very well presented along with excellent bio's of the persons deeply involved, both the shing stars as well as those who fell short. As you read this book you can't help but realize what a longshot this battle was, and have a feeling for how thin and precarious the entire situation was on a minute by minute basis throughout. I strongly recommend this piece of work and caution that it is one you will have a hard time putting down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was incredibly well researched. The author included U.S. blunders that cost lives, rather than just making this a feel-good report of the battle. That Americans lost their lives due to inferior equipment(fogging windshields on planes, and flawed design on torpedoes)remains tragic and absent from most accounts of the battle. History continues to show us that mankind cannot live in peace, although we yearn to live this way. The sacrifices that those at Midway were willing to pay, both Japanese and Americans, knowing that they might not succeed is unfathomable. The book was exceptionally written and extremly fast-paced.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gave some information about the battle that I did not know. The author is very informative and knowledgeable about the Navy sea battles. Previous book on Lincoln also highly recommended.
Testdriver More than 1 year ago
I have read a great deal of military histroy and frankly some books are a struggle. However, The Battle Of Midway was presented and explained in a very clear and easy to understand style. I had no idea the number of aborted and failed attemps by American pilots as they learned on-the-job how to battle the Japanese navy in this critical confrontation. The author clearly described how the Pacific fleet was under equipped at the time and he drew a vivid picture of the deficiencies compared to the Japanese. It makes the victory all the more amazing. I am always amazed to learn that great battles are often determined by serendipity. Kudos and thanks to Mr. Symonds. I will look for more of his work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the aurthor does A really good job in separating the legends from the reality of the battle
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book reads like a #1 best-seller adventure novel.  I read the book in two evenings  and really did not want to wait until the next day to finish it.  Normally, when I read a  history book, I skip over parts that I find familiar and the parts that are a bit like drinking out of a fire hose.  I read every word of this book.  He makes history exciting and he does not destroy its’ heroes; he makes them human.   I have approximately 4,000 books in my library, one third of them pertaining to Americas’ wars.   Only two names share the pinnacle of my pyramid of authors of history; Craig L. Symonds and Bruce Catton.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You need to make it longer. Look at mine at sws all res. Other than that it was pretty good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont get what the first two parts r they seem a bit random.. but that may b just me. Otherwise it was really good ~ jessica~
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written biographical account of the men, on both sides of the war in the Pacific during World War II, involved with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and subsequent battles, which includes Midway, after that. Gives a definite different perspective of what was going on at this time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book chronicles a pivotal point of WW II with such detail and clarity while maintaining the reader's interest. I highly recommend The Battle of Midway by Craig L Symonds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best written books I have ever read.  It is a fascinating look at the period from Pearl Harbor to Midway.  It brings to life the partticipants as well as the facts.
efm More than 1 year ago
we turned the tide of war at this battle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book well written
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