Black Shoe Carrier Admiral: Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway & Guadalcanal

Black Shoe Carrier Admiral: Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway & Guadalcanal

by John Lundstrom

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612512204
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 03/11/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 626
Sales rank: 1,219,231
File size: 7 MB

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Black Shoe Carrier Admiral: Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a meticulously detailed accounting of Admiral Fletcher¿s leadership of U.S. carrier forces during the first year of World War II in the Pacific. Author John Lundstrom¿s thesis is that Fletcher has been unfairly criticized by some of his peers and many historians for perceived errors of judgment or even personality faults that resulted in avoidable losses during crucial battles in the Coral Sea, at Midway, and in the Solomons. The author¿s painstaking research into primary sources (largely not considered by earlier writers) often reveal strong justification for many of Fletcher¿s controversial decisions. An examination of such sources, such as ship logs, radio messages, and fleet dispatches reveals a set of situations facing the admiral that his critics either ignore or never bother to learn. Armed with perfect hindsight and selective facts, they then proceed to fault his every move while sometimes praising other admirals for making like decisions under like circumstances. Case in point: Fletcher is reviled for withdrawing his carriers in the face of night attacks by large Japanese surface forces in the Solomons, but Rear Admiral Spruance is praised for doing precisely the same thing at Midway. Other critics, including some anonymous reviewers of this book, blame Fletcher personally for the loss of three American carriers between May and August of 1942. Apparently, the Imperial Japanese Navy, with superior aircraft, battle-experienced aircrews, and an awesomely deadly torpedo had nothing to do with it. Black Shoe Carrier Admiral is a magnificent achievement, representing years of dogged research and composition by an award-winning expert who is eminently qualified and experienced in this subject matter. It should be read by anyone who wants a fresh, objective, and above all, thorough analysis of the events surrounding Admiral Fletcher during the first bitter months of the Pacific war. Reliance on the familiar histories that castigate him at every turn without inarguable supporting evidence will only preserve an inaccurate and unfair myth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This account of the World War II career of Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher is a needed corrective to the misinformation that has been served up to the public over many years. Samuel Eliot Morison took a dislike to Fletcher, possibly because the admiral failed to cultivate him at the time he was writing his history of World War II. The inaccuracies, omissions, and hostile tone toward Fletcher in his volumes have been reflected in the works of other authors. John Lundstrom is well qualified to perform this task by having written three major works on naval operations during December 1941 to late 1942. His previous work has clearly helped him make this book a success. He has done significant in-depth research of this period of the war by using original sources apparently not consulted by others. The result is a book which provides new details on many aspects of the Pacific War at sea. Minor negatives are a somewhat dry writing style and insufficiently detailed maps. ¿Black Shoe Carrier Admiral¿ reminds us that it was Fletcher who commanded the U.S. forces at Coral Sea, the first battle to seriously slow the Japanese advance and which paved the way for the decisive victory of Midway. Fletcher, not Morison¿s hero Spruance, was the senior commander at Midway and who made many of the critical decisions that resulted in the turn of the tide in the Pacific. Lundstrom explains why Fletcher¿s controversial withdrawal of the carriers from Guadalcanal was a wise decision. These carriers represented three quarters of the total U.S. aircraft carrier inventory and Fletcher was under orders not to risk them unless the potential results justified it. At Guadalcanal, the circumstances did not justify that risk. There has never been an official history of the U.S. Navy in World War II, only Morison¿s semi official history. While Morison¿s work is well written and valuable, it was produced too close to the events it describes so it contains errors and omissions. A replacement is overdue. With some revisions, ¿Black Shoe Carrier Admiral¿ could serve as the first volume of a new multi volume history of the navy¿s role in World War II. John Lundstrom would be the man to do this job.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Black Shoe Carrier Admiral is one of two excellent works to be published this year on WWII Pacific carriers, battles and the men who commanded them. John Lundstrom has obviously put a great deal of effort into setting the record straight on Admiral Fletcher and his contributions to our early victories in the Pacific. His work is well documented and thoroughly researched, and adds new sources that had not previously surfaced in World War II histories of that period. The book demonstrates how Fletcher became the target of severe criticism for his actions, primarily by others who hoped to improve their own reputations or deflect criiticism as a result. Lundstrom pulls no punches, however, by describing both Fletcher¿s strengths and failings in the events of December 1941 to September 1942. He repeatedly demonstrates that misinterpretations of Fletcher¿s actions, particularly by Admiral King in Washington, resulted in Fletcher¿s eventual downfall. At the same time, he explains how some noted historians played down or ignored Fletcher¿s important contributions, that sealed the US victories at Coral Sea and, particularly Midway. John Lundstrom¿s book is an excellent read for anyone wanting to know more of the early war in the Pacific. It is also an important source for any serious student of the period who wants to gain insight both to the actions of the war and the politics inside the Navy at that time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As one who has been interested in the Pacific War for more than a half century I was always puzzled by the low opinion accorded to Frank Jack Fletcher. After all, he had won the first three carrier battles ever fought and had faced long odds in all of them. John Lundstrom, the preminent historian of that phase of the war, has shown in this remarkable book how Navy politics and a 'smart alecky' writer (Samuel Morrison)brought about this preversion of history. Adm. Fletcher has long needed a fair and balanced account of his service and, in this fine book, he gets his due.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
In this study, Lundstrom performs a signal service by rehabilitating the reputation of Frank Jack Fletcher and his performance in the classic carrier battles of 1942. Lundstrom finds a pragmatic leader who had to take into account inadequate resources, lousy logistics, unrealistic plans, and still be able to foil Japanese offensive strokes. Lundstrom does a good job of showing that many of the supposed failures of nerve attributed to Fletcher can be pinned down to the chronic logistical limitations of the USN until the "Two-Ocean Navy" came on line and the small reality lost on many Americans at the time that the USN was just not as good as it thought it was.As for why Fletcher has not been remembered better, in part that is due to the man's disinterest in polishing his reputation, but mostly because he was a convenient scapegoat for many parties; these include the USMC, the Brown Shoe Mafia of the USN's aviation community (Lundstrom does a fine job of illustrating the failures of that crowd at Midway), and the general sense that the command complex associated with the Guadalcanal campaign were all culpable of ineptitude at some level. Add Samuel E. Morison's general disdain, and you have the explanation of how a man who won three fleet actions can be virtually forgotten, instead of having a reputation rather akin to Gen. George Thomas of Civil War fame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lundstrom's latest is a warmed-over defense of Fletcher's poor operational decisions during the first year of the Pacific War. Lundstrom includes a lot of minutia (as in all his works) and attacks a number of men who are no longer around, but never addresses the fact that Fletcher's poor command at the operational level led to the avoidable losses of 50 percent of the fleet carriers the USN committed to the Pacific in 1942. Lundstrom also never addresses the fact that Fletcher's peers and superiors were well aware of his shortcomings - Fletcher's career, after all, stalled at vice admiral and he never held a seagoing command after being relieved of duty during the Guadalcanal campaign, instead being relegated to the backwaters of the Pacific Northwest. This is in marked contrast to Fletcher's peers Halsey and Spruance, who both rose to full admiral and commanded fleets all the way through to VJ Day. This is hero worship at its worst: conventional wisdom is such for a reason, and serious historians ignore it at their peril.