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Books to Recommend - 12/16/2007 11:09:20 PM   
John 3rd


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Since I have no turns from my four esteemed opponents, I am bored!

We had a great thread running with the Washington Conference and started bantering about books to read within that arena of content. This got me thinking about all the books that are out there for the Pacific and thought I might start a discussion for the newer players (as well as those of us who are more---SEASONED!) on various books that one might consider a must read.

I am thinking about different areas of the war and met me see if anyone has any thoughts:

1. BIG PICTURE--I still think that--though dated--John Toland's Rising Sun is a great book to talk about the war from a big picture Japanese perspective. For an American overview, I do not have a recommendation.

2. CAMPAIGN/BATTLE BOOK
For a Pacific campaign, my personal favorite is Richard Frank's Guadalcanal history. His mongraph covers the air, land, and sea very well. It is highly readable and quite well researched.

I've heard that Wilmott's work is fantastic. Haven't read any of it and cannot afford to...

The recent Shattered Sword is magnificent when it comes to a specific battle. Brilliant, thoughtful provoking, and effectively written, I consider this book a must read-must have achievement.

3. BIOGRAPHY
A lot of choices here. I have heard that the new Jack Fletcher monograph is excellent. Has anyone read Blackshoe Admiral (I think that is the name of it).

Japanese Destroyer Captain is as good as it gets.

There is several good biographies of Yamamoto but I do not have any on the shelf and the ones I have read are somewhat dated as well.

I have several tomes on the American submarine war commanders that are excellent: Thunder Below and Take Her Deep.

4. RESEARCH
Kaigun and Sunburst are great new works that explore Japan's development of the Naval and Air forces. Peattie and Evans are very good and quite readable as well.


I throw these out for people to comment on and make recommendations of books that they like as well. I have been in a cash deprived (read two young children) state for the last two years and haven't kept up on the newest writing.

What else would say MUST be read??



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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/16/2007 11:11:15 PM   
Terminus


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The Bloody Shambles series are excellent reference books.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/16/2007 11:16:01 PM   
bradfordkay

 

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I would add Lundstrom's "First Team" series and Bergerud's "Fire in the Sky".

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 12:17:28 AM   
John 3rd


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Who is the author of Bloody Shambles?  How many in the series?

I've heard that First Team is excellent.  Is Lundstrom coming out with another to follow-up?

What subject does Fire in the Sky pertain to?


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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 12:18:57 AM   
Terminus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

Who is the author of Bloody Shambles? How many in the series?



Main author is Christopher Shores. There are three books in the series.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 12:24:23 AM   
bobogoboom


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you have a turn now

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 12:46:04 AM   
ctangus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

1. BIG PICTURE--I still think that--though dated--John Toland's Rising Sun is a great book to talk about the war from a big picture Japanese perspective. For an American overview, I do not have a recommendation.



The Pacific War by John Costello is a good big picture overview from an allied perspective. It's a good companion to Toland's book IMO.

quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

What subject does Fire in the Sky pertain to?



It's about the air war in the South & Southwest Pacific. Rather than being structured chronologically, it's structured topically and goes into details like the terrain, base construction capabilities, maintenance capablities, different airframes, training, etc. It tries to show how the air war in that theater developed and how & why Japan's land based air eventually collapsed.

Great book IMO. I've even learned things that I've put to use in WITP!

Bergerud has another book, Touched with Fire, that deals with the ground war in the theater. It's not as brilliant as Fire in the Sky but is still worth a read.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 3:14:48 AM   
John 3rd


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Fire in the Sky sounds cool.  I really enjoy the deeper treatments of the topics.  

I REALLY would like Wilmott's Barrier and the Javelin but it is flipping expensive!

I have seen that Eric Trammel has been doing a series of books on the Guadalcanal Campaign.  Has anyone read them?



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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 4:27:01 AM   
irrelevant


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I highly recommend Black Shoe Carrier Admiral. Gave me a whole new view of Fletcher. Specifically, I had been one of those who agreed with Morison's judgment that Fletcher had bugged out at Guadalcanal. But Lundstrum's fair examination of the operation makes it obvious that the main responsibility for the SNAFU that led to Savo and the virtual abandonment of the Marines by the USN was Turner's, by his repeated assertion that he would have his transports completely unloaded and on their way out on D+2, and by his failure to tell Fletcher or Ghormley what was really going on until after it was too late.

Turner however had powerful friends and was a shameless self-promoter and a politician, and saw to it that blame was deflected from himself and focused onto his friend Fletcher. Fletcher was too self-effacing and too decent of a guy to try to stick it up Turner's backside the way Turner was sticking it up his. He was also too busy trying to maintain the SLOC to Lunga, while Turner was only busy with filing his finger-pointing AAR. So Turner went on to fame and glory, and Fletcher went on to the Aleutians. He deserved better reward for his excellent leadership of the carriers thru the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Ghormley too came in for his share of the blame, and rightly so. It was his passiveness which led to Fletcher's command and Turner's neither one knowing what the other was doing or planning to do, which was the basis for the calamity.

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 12/19/2007 3:38:49 AM >


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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 4:34:28 AM   
John 3rd


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I completely concur.  After mentioning Frank's book earlier I picked it up and have started re-reading it. 

HE also makes comment to Kelley Turner's ambition.  REALLY want to read Black Shoe Admiral!


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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 4:19:14 PM   
rtrapasso


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i've always found it fascinating how Turner, (the man probably the most responsible for the intel failure surrounding Pearl Harbor according to some sources), managed to get himself into such a position of power afterwards, despite the fact he apparently couldn't work with anybody without rubbing them the wrong way.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 6:46:31 PM   
crsutton


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"Tennezon" by George Feifer (2004) a sobering account of the battle of Okinawa. One of the best accounts of a particular battle that I have ever read.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 8:34:58 PM   
irrelevant


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rtrapasso

i've always found it fascinating how Turner, (the man probably the most responsible for the intel failure surrounding Pearl Harbor according to some sources), managed to get himself into such a position of power afterwards, despite the fact he apparently couldn't work with anybody without rubbing them the wrong way.

Well, Turner's main patron seems to have been E. King, who by all accounts was so abrasive that someone else rubbing him the wrong way would be simply redundant.

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 12/17/2007 8:35:36 PM >


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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 10:12:15 PM   
John 3rd


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It does help ones CAREER when the Fleet Admiral is your patron!

I agree with the comment about Turner being most responsible for the Fleet Intelligence failure prior to Pearl Harbor.  Wasn't it he who didn't send the 'bomb plot/grid' intercept to Kimmel?

Did he have assess to Magic?  I don't believe he did but cannot remember at the moment.

Haven't ever heard of the Okinawa book.  Will check that one out.
  

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 10:21:08 PM   
rtrapasso


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

It does help ones CAREER when the Fleet Admiral is your patron!

I agree with the comment about Turner being most responsible for the Fleet Intelligence failure prior to Pearl Harbor. Wasn't it he who didn't send the 'bomb plot/grid' intercept to Kimmel?

Did he have assess to Magic? I don't believe he did but cannot remember at the moment.

Haven't ever heard of the Okinawa book. Will check that one out.



Originally he did (pre PH)...

Also apparently he rounded up all of the incriminating evidence of his role in PH and it "magically" vanished!!

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 10:23:38 PM   
John 3rd


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"MAGICALLY"  Is that a pun?? 

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/17/2007 11:14:02 PM   
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A book I have found surprisingly useful, is:

Evans, David C., ed. trans., The Japanese Navy In World War II - 2nd Ed, Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, Maryland, 1986.

This book contains a series of articles written by Japanese naval officers after the war, translated by Dr Evans. Some are detailed, some are high level, but overall the articles provide information I don't find in many other books.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/18/2007 12:05:05 AM   
rtrapasso


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

"MAGICALLY" Is that a pun??


er.. well, yes...

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/18/2007 12:41:48 AM   
John 3rd


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Thank you Mr. Wilkerson!  I assume that this is the same Dr. Evans from Kaigun?  I bet it would be fascinating to read.  There is so much good writing starting to come out from Japan about their side of the fight.


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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/18/2007 12:45:59 AM   
jwilkerson


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

Thank you Mr. Wilkerson!  I assume that this is the same Dr. Evans from Kaigun?  I bet it would be fascinating to read.  There is so much good writing starting to come out from Japan about their side of the fight.



Yup same one, though now deceased, IIRC.


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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 12:39:12 AM   
John 3rd


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I would like to thank the writers for their thoughts and recommendations.

Using an Amazon gift card, I just bought both volumes of The First Team by Lundstrom for only $19.00 each.  That is a pretty good deal I think.

I located and read up on Bloody Shambles and those books look excellent!  Rather hefty price but I will look to buy them right after Sunburst. 

Thanks again for the advice!

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 2:32:46 AM   
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To get a sense of the real war at ground level read With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa by EB Sledge. IMO its the best of the breed.

John Lundstrom has a follow up to First Team: The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign.

There is a cheaper book from HP Willmott in the Cassell History of Warfare series: The Second World War in the Far East. Lists for $14.95 but you can probably get it cheaper.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 4:51:52 AM   
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Bloody Shambles is good...but gets a bit repetitious since it is basically a day by day account of the air war over Burma.  But overall, it is worth having on the shelf.  I had all three volumes until Feinder raided my bookshelves.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 5:04:42 AM   
Feinder


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I'll bring 'em back on Saturday.  Didn't actually read the 3rd one yet, but Forgotten Fleet has my current attention (about 2/3 of the way thru).

-F-

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 3:47:56 PM   
John 3rd


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What is Forgotten Fleet about?

I couldn't handle over $45.00/book for the Bloody Shambles trilogy!

I'll also take a look at that Willmott book.  The Barrier and the Javelin is what I TRULY want but it is TOO much for my blood right now.

You are totally correct.  I require E. B. Sledge's With the Old Breed in my U.S. Military History classes at college.  It is a fantastic biography and account of those two campaigns.  If a person hasn't read them a wants a feeling for what it was like on Peleliu and Okinawa from a Marine's perspective that book is it. 


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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 4:12:39 PM   
Feinder


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The forgotten fleet;: The British Navy in the Pacific, 1944-1945

It's about the RN in the Pacific, 1944-1945...

Seriously tho. It's a pretty good book. Not as dry as Bloody Shambles. It's only 44-45, because the Brits didn't do much in 42-43 except provide convoy escort. It goes into the why of that (largely politics), but summarizes and doesn't dwell. The following chapters are the operations that that folllowed (thus far, raids on Sumatra, invasion of Burma, and support at Okinawa). It's a good read (I haven't finished it yet).

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 6:27:21 PM   
John 3rd


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I have always wondered why we haven't seen anything about that topic in recent scholarship.  When was it published?


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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 7:05:53 PM   
Mike Scholl

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

I have always wondered why we haven't seen anything about that topic in recent scholarship.



One reason may be that by the time the Brits could afford to send their fleet into the Pacific, the whole thing wound up as Fask Force 58.7 of the US Fleet off Okinawa. They served with distinction, but were almost lost in the Massive US Naval presense.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 8:58:15 PM   
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There was a fairly good article in JMH a few year back. Here:
Coles, Michael H. “Ernest King and the British Pacific Fleet: The Conference at Quebec, 1944 (‘Octagon’).” The Journal of Military History, Vol. 65, No. 1, Jan. 2001, pp 105-129.
As you can tell, it has a strategic/diplomatic focus rather than operational. The author tackles the well-worn myth about Adm King's Anglophobia and details the real reasons for reluctance to support a British Pacific presence.

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RE: Books to Recommend - 12/20/2007 9:07:32 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mike Scholl


quote:

ORIGINAL: John 3rd

I have always wondered why we haven't seen anything about that topic in recent scholarship.



One reason may be that by the time the Brits could afford to send their fleet into the Pacific, the whole thing wound up as Fask Force 58.7 of the US Fleet off Okinawa. They served with distinction, but were almost lost in the Massive US Naval presense.



hmmmm....might have to put this on my wish list. Sounds interesting. I still have four Christopher Shores books to read though first though and GF is holding my cc for safe keeping.


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