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RE: Books to Recommend - 1/12/2008 12:01:24 AM   


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CTANGUS, your points about Willmott's book on Leyte Gulf are viable criticisms, though I do not agreee with them. Willmott's writing style, I do agree, is not for everyone. And he does indeed presuppose the reader's knowledge of the battle. But, for me, that is good. I don't want to have to go through a lot of things I already know. AFter all, there are many, many books on the subject that assume the reader knows little to nothing about it.

As to your charge of second guessing from the vantage point of now, there is some validity to this, but only some. I believe that Willmott does allow that the main problem, for both sides, was that the fleets involved were so large and the area they were fighting over so huge, that it was really beyond the ability of any admiral of the time, given the state of communications then, to get a good grasp on the battle. He also allows that by this time in the War both sides, even the constantly victorious Americans, were just plain worn out, perhaps psychologically even more than physically. And Halsey was deeked, no doubt about that. And Kurita did turn away at the decisive time, no doubt about that. Still, you have points.

Let me qualify my praise to say that Willmott is not for everyone; he has a peculiar writing style and a peculiar sense of humor. I think he is like a fine but exotic wine; you either love his work or it seems strange to you. But I still hold that there is no finer writer of the strategic level of the Pacific War.

To the person who was surprised to find that the Japanese did little to nothing to protect their merchant shipping; yes, it is astonishing beyond belief. That is, to the belief of someone from Western Civilization. But the Japanese were from a different civilization and guarding merchant ships was beneath the dignity of a Samurai. Willmott, by the way, has a deal to say about this incredible neglect on the part of the military junta of an island nation utterly dependent on its shipping for its existence.

This is a good thread. I am not on this forum frequently but, when I am, I am constantly impressed by the depth of knowledge of so many of the contributors.

(in reply to rtrapasso)
Post #: 91
RE: Books to Recommend - 1/12/2008 4:35:52 PM   


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Found a set of reviews on a website's (The Pacific War Encyclopedia) bibliography. Each book has a comment next to it...maybe helpful for some of you. Posting in the next post down.

< Message edited by Knavey -- 1/12/2008 4:36:02 PM >


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(in reply to John 3rd)
Post #: 92
RE: Books to Recommend - 1/12/2008 4:36:14 PM   


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Agawa Hiroyuki (translated by John Bester). 1979. The Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy. New York: Kodansha American Inc. ISBN 4-7700-2539-4
Probably the definitive biography of the admiral. Published in Japan in 1969, a time when the Japanese were beginning to cautiously rediscover their war heroes.
Alden, John D. 1989. U.S. Submarine Attacks During World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute.
Tabulates all U.S. submarine attacks during World War II, listing the location; target name, type, and tonnage; and outcome.
Aldrich, Richard J. 1993. The Key to the South: Britain, the United States, and Thailand during the Approach of the Pacific War, 1929-1942. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0 19 588612 7
A thorough treatment of the political, economic, and diplomatic aspects of the competing Axis and Allied efforts to woo Thailand during the run-up to war. Its chief weakness is an almost complete lack of information on the military capacity of Thailand, which is only hinted at.
Alexander, Joseph H. 1995. Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1557500312.
A thorough, wrenching account of the bloody battle.
Ambrose, Steven E. 2001. Band of Brothers. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Though not bearing directly on the Pacific War, this oral history of a parachute company in Europe gives valuable insight into the basis of morale and fighting power.
Atkinson, Rick. 2007. The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 978-0805062892.
A thorough and unsparing account of the war in Italy. Both an operational history and an oral history, though clearly stronger on the former.
Badsey, Stephen. 2000. The Hutchinson Atlas of World War II Battle Plans: Before And After. Oxford: Helicon Publishing.
Examines several crucial battles of the Second World War, comparing the battle plans with the actual outcomes of the battles.
Barnhart, Michael A. 1987. Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 1919-1941. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9529-6
Discusses how the Japanese quest for autarky helped precipitate the Pacific War.
Benedict, Ruth. 1954. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture. Mariner Books (reprint). ISBN 0395500753.
A somewhat dated look at Japanese culture that nonetheless sheds some important light.
Bergerud, Eric M. 1996. Touched With Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific. New York: Penguin Books
Not a chronological history, but a study of the character of the land war in the South Pacific. Much good oral history. One of my favorites.
Bergerud, Eric M. 2000. Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Not a chronological history, but a study of the character of the air war in the South Pacific and its participants. Much good oral history. One of my favorites.
Blair, Clay. 1975. Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan. New York: J.P. Lippincott Company.
The definitive work on U.S. submarine operations during the war. Written after ULTRA was declassified and enough time had passed for realistic critiques of individual leaders and submarine commanders.
Boatner, Mark M., III. 1996. The Biographical Dictionary of World War II. Novato, California: Presidio Press. ISBN 0-89141-548-3.
Contains brief biographies of a vast number of World War II leaders or players.
Boyne, Walter J. 1994. Clash of Wings: World War II in the Air. New York: Touchstone. ISBN 0-671-79379-5.
A useful general history of the air war in both the Pacific and European theaters.
Boyd, Carl, and Yoshida Akihiko. The Japanese Submarine Force and World War II. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-080-0.
Discusses in some detail the technical characteristics of Japanese submarines and submarine force infrastructure. Also covers most of the major submarine operations of the war.
Bradley, John H.; Dice, Jack W.; Buell, Thomas B.; Griess, Thomas E. 1992. The Second World War: Asia and the Pacific (West Point Military History Series) Avery Publishing Group. ISBN 0895294257.
Brown, Captain Eric N, RN. 1988. Duels in the Sky. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
A Royal Navy pilot describes the various aircraft used in the Pacific War and predicts the likely outcome of duels between the different types, assuming equally qualified pilots.
Brown, D.K. 2000. Nelson to Vanguard: Warship Design and Development 1923-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-492-X.
A good discussion of British warship design in the interwar period. The appendices are valuable for their discussions of various aspects of naval architecture.
Brown, Louis. 1999. A Radar History of World War II: Technical and Military Imperatives. Philadelphia: Institute of Physics Publishing. ISBN 0 7503 0659 9
A very good discussion of how radar was developed and used during the war. A bit light on technical specifications of specific radars, however.
Buderi, Robert. 1998. The Invention That Changed the World: How a Small Group of Radar Pioneers Won the Second World War and Launched a Technical Revolution. Touchstone. ISBN 0684835290.
A good discussion of the political dynamics of the research organizations that developed the various Allied radars of the Second World War. One will come away astonished at the technological sophistication that was achieved by the time the war ended. Unfortunately, this work is rather light on technical details and even on some of the basic physical principles of radar. Still a worthwhile read.
Buell, Thomas B. 1987. The Quiet Warrior: A Biography of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
A fine biography of the victor at Midway and the Philippines Sea.
Campbell, John. 1985. Naval Weapons of World War Two. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
The definitive work on the naval weapons used during the war.
Carter, W.R. 1953. Bean, Bullets, and Black Oil: The story of fleet logistics afloat in the Pacific during World War II. Department of the Navy.
Lacks any consistent set of hard figures, but gives a good feel for how the fleet train operated during the Pacific War.
Chang Jung and Holliday, Jon. 2005. Mao: The Unknown Story. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-679-42271-4.
An account of Mao's life and career by a non-admirer and her husband. If even half of what is in the book is true, then there is no excuse for anyone to continue defending Mao's record.
Chesneau, Roger. 1992. Aircraft Carriers of the World, 1914 to the Present: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Brokhampton Press. ISBN 1-86019-87-5-9.
A good collection of statistics and service records, comparable to Whitley's volumes on other ship types.
Churchill, Winston S. 1950. The Second World War. 6 volumes. Mariner Books. ISBN 039541055X.
Churchill's massive memoirs of the Second World War. Like all memoirs, they reflect well on the writer, and tend to paper over differences and controversies. They were also written at a time when many valuable records (particularly the ULTRA transcripts) were still hidden in secret archives. However, Churchill was an excellent writer and he was at the center of things, making the works of lasting value.
Cohen, Jerome B. 1949. Japan’s Economy in War and Reconstruction. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.
A fascinating nonmathematical discussion of the economic challenges faced by Japan during the war.
Connaughton, Richard. 2001. MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines. New York: The Overlook Press.
The definite work on MacArthur's character and conduct of operations during the first Philippines campaign. An objective and not very flattering portrait.
Cook, Haruko Taya and Theodore F. 1992. Japan at War: An Oral History. New York: The New Press.
A haunting collection of oral histories from the Japanese side of the war. Each history is presented exactly as the interviewee remembered it, with just enough introductory material to put each interview in its context. The recollections have a dreamlike, or perhaps I should say nightmarish, quality to them. Highly recommended.
Coombe, Jack D. 1991. Derailing the Tokyo Express: The Naval Battles for the Solomon Islands that Sealed Japan's Fate. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books.
Coombe was a radar operator who served in the Solomons during the Guadalcanal campaign.  He briefly summarizes each surface battle of the Solomons campaign. An interesting and useful book, though marred somewhat by the author's willingness to invent dialog and by the absence of any information on the role Ultra played in the campaign.
Coox, Alvin. 1986. Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939. Stanford University Press. ISBN: 0804711607
The definitive work on this major border clash between Russia and China. Two volumes.
Costello, John. 1981. The Pacific War. New York: Rawson, Wade.
A good one-volume history of the war, with a particularly good summary of the hours leading up to Pearl Harbor. Could have stood some more editing; in particular, the constant confusion of east and west in geographical descriptions is irritating.
Dolan, R.E., and Worden, R.L. September 1990. Japan: a country study. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress.
A survey of Japan today.
Doolittle, James H. and Glines, Carroll V. 1995. I Could Never Be So Lucky Again. Schiffer Publishing.  ISBN-10: 0887407374
Doolittle's memoirs of his long and eventful life. Somewhat sanitized, with no great revelations, it nonetheless offers interesting insights into the man and a gripping account of the Doolittle Raid.
Dorn, Frank. 1974. The Sino-Japanese War, 1937-41: From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc.
A tendentious account of the China origins of the Pacific War. Its usefulness is further limited by the fact that the account ends abruptly on 7 December 1941. The maps are beautifully rendered but almost useless, because no dates or unit identities are given. However, there is so little written about the Sino-Japanese War that one can glean much valuable information even from this account.
Drea, Edward J. 2003. In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. Bison Books. ISBN-13: 978-0803266384.
Dull, Paul S. 1978. A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy (1941-1945). Naval Institute Press.
An authoritative history of the combat actions of the Japanese Navy during the Pacific War.
Dunlop, Richard. 1979. Behind Japanese Lines: With the OSS in Burma. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company.
Describes the work of the OSS with the Kachin tribesman of northern Burma.
Dunnigan, James, and Nofi, Albert. 1995. Victory at Sea. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
A near-encyclopedic discussion of numerous aspects of the war. Mostly superseded by The Pacific War Encyclopedia.
Dunnigan, James, and Nofi, Albert. 1998. The Pacific War Encyclopedia. New York: Checkmark Books.
Like most of Dunnigan's works, this book is packed with interesting little facts about the war, although some qualify as urban legend. It makes a good first reference, but requires significant follow-up fact checking.
Dupuy, Trevor N.; Johnson, Curt; and Bongard, David L. 1992. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography. HarperCollins Publishers.
Covers all human history, not just the Pacific War, and the number of relevant entries are correspondingly limited. However, those that are present are highly reliable.
Ellis, John. 1980. The Sharp End: The Fighting Man in World War II. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Discusses the life of the common soldier in all theaters of the war. Bergerud does a better job for the South Pacific theater.
Ellis, John. 1995. World War II: A Statistical Survey. Facts On File: Great Britain.
An extensive tabulation of war statistics. Tremendous breadth, but lacking in depth.
Fenby, Jonathan. 2003. Chiang Kai-shek: China's Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost. New York: Carrol and Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-1318-6.
A balanced portrait of Chiang Kai-shek and his times.
Ferguson, Ted. 1980. Desperate Siege: The Battle of Hong Kong. Doubleday Canada Limited.
Focuses on the experience of the two poorly-trained Canadian battalions sent to Hong Kong just before war broke out. It gives the reader a good feeling for British smugness and racism in the Far East, and the collapse of morale when it was discovered just how well the Japanese fought. There is extensive coverage of Japanese atrocities during and after the battle.
Foss, Christopher F. 1981. An Illustrated Guide to World War II Tanks and Fighting Vehicles. New York: Arco PUblishing, Inc. ISBN 0-668-05232-5.
A short work describing the major tank types of the Pacific War. In spite of the title, no other types of armored fighting vehicles are described except in passing.
Francillon, R. 1979. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
The definitive work on Japanese aircraft types used in the Pacific War.
Frank, Richard. 1992. Guadalcanal.
Probably the definitive work on the battle that turned the tide in the Pacific.
Friedman, Norman. 1981. Naval Radar. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870219677.
This hard-to-find work supplies the technical details missing from Buderi's otherwise excellent history.
Friedman, Norman. 1983. U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
Discusses the process whereby designs were selected in great detail, and gives fairly complete statistics on class characteristics.
Friedman, Norman. 1985. U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
Discusses the process whereby designs were selected in great detail, and gives fairly complete statistics on class characteristics.
Friedman, Norman. 1984. U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
Like all of Friedman's books, discusses the process whereby designs were selected in great detail without giving as complete technical specifications as I would like.
Friedman, Norman. 1995. U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
Discusses the process whereby designs were selected in great detail, and gives fairly complete statistics on class characteristics
Fuller, Richard. 1992. Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4
Describes the Japanese officer corps, with short sections on war chronology, command structure, and surrender ceremonies. Most of the book consists of biographies of important general and flag officers.
Garfield, Brian. 1965. The Thousand-Mile War. University of Alaska Press.
Tells the story of the Aleutian campaigns. Though written as a popular history, and not without errors, it is a very thorough and valuable work. The 1995 University of Alaska reprint includes a number of corrections by the author as footnotes.
Glines, Carroll V. 1989. The Doolittle Raiders. Crown Publishers.
Tells the story of the raid and each of the raider crews. Hagiographic rather than a scholarly historical work.
Goldstein, Donald M., and Dillon, Katherine V. (ed.) 1993. The Pearl Harbor Papers. Brassey's. ISBN 0-02-881001-5.
A collection of translated primary documents relating to the Pearl Harbor attack, such as ship's diaries and memoirs of participants.
Gregg, Howard F. 1984. Tarawa. Sein and Day. ISBN 0-8128-2906-9.
Less focused and detailed than the Alexander book. More information on the context and background of the battle.
Gunston, Bill. 1978. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Combat Aircraft of World War II. New York: Bookthrift Publications.
Discusses the major fighting aircraft of World War II, with a large number of photographs and cutaway diagrams of important models.
— 1986. American Warplanes. New York: Crescent Books.
A handy quick reference on American warplanes. Not specific to the Pacific War.
— 1988. The Illustrated Dictionary of Fighting Aircraft of World War II. New York: Prentice Hall Press.
A handy quick reference on the major fighting aircraft of World War II, with some nice pictures of period and restored aircraft.
Hammel, Eric. 1992. Aces Against Japan: The American Aces Speak, v.1. Novato, CA: Presidio Press.
An interesting collection of oral histories of American pilots in the Pacific.
Hara Tameichi, with Saito, Fred, and Pineau, Roger. 1961. Japanese Destroyer Captain. New York: Ballantine Books.
The war through a Japanese destroyer captain's eyes. His arrogance, pride, and contempt for his opponents shines through.
Harrison, Mark (editor). 1998. The Economics of World War II : Six Great Powers in International Comparison. Cambridge University Press.
A rather technical discussion of the economies of the major powers during the war. If you don't already know enough about monetary theory to know what M2 money is, it's probably not for you.
Hayashi Saburo with Cox, Alvin D. 1959. Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Quantico, VA: The Marine Corps Association.
A quite interesting operational analysis of the Japanese Army during the war by a former Japanese Imperial General Staff officer.
Heal, S.C. 2003. Ugly Ducklings: Japan's WWII Liberty Type Standard Ships. Naval Institute Press. IBSN 1-59114-999-X.
A discussion of Japan's attempt at mass production of standardized ship types. Rather rambling and filled with personal reminiscences, some of them relevant.
Hezlet, Arthur. 1975. Electronics and Sea Power. New York: Stein and Day. IBSN 0-8128-1811-3.
A history of the use of electricity in warships from the 19th century to the time of publication. Covers the early days of radar.
Hogg, Ian V. 1977. The Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of World War II. Thomas Y. Crowell Company, Inc.. IBSN 0-690-01447-3.
A fairly comprehensive listing of infantry weapons of the Second World War, with numerous photographs. Oddly, the specifications given do not include such basic information as muzzle velocity or weight of round. Valuable in spite of this flaw.
Hornfischer, James D. (2004) The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors : The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour. Bantam.
Tells the story of the destroyer, destroyer escort, and escort carrier sailors who managed to repel an attack by the heavy units of the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Samar. Highly recommended in spite of the hagiographic tone.
Hoyt, Edwin P. 1983. Submarines at War: The History of the American Silent Service. New York: Stein and Day.
Not as good as Blair.
Hoyt, Edwin P. 1993. The Last Kamikaze: The Story of Admiral Matome Ugaki. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger
A sympathetic portrait of Yamamoto's Chief of Staff, based on the diary he left behind.
Jentschura, Hansgeorg; Jung, Dieter; and Mickel, Peter. Translated by Brown, J.D. 1977. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X.
A comprehensive listing of every ship of the Imperial Navy. Not surprisingly, this means that the treatment of the major types is inferior to that of other references of more limited scope; but for the lesser types, this is the definitive work.
Jordan, Roger. 1999. The World's Merchant Fleets: 1939. The Particulars and Wartime Fates of 6000 Ships. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
An excruciatingly detailed tabulation of all the oceangoing merchant vessels afloat in September 1939, along with a separate tabulation of their fates. Its biggest flaws are the lack of documentation of the lowest tonnages included and the failure to adequately cross-reference the two tabulations.
Kershaw, Ian. 2007. Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940-1941. New York: The Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1-59420-123-3.
A detailed discussion of ten geopolitical decisions in the critical time period of 1940-1941 that shaped the course of the remainder of the Second World War and the postwar world. The chapter on the decision by Japan to sign the Tripartite Pact is an excellent discussion of how Japan came into the Axis camp, and put herself on a collision course with Britain and the United States.
Lane, Frederic C. 1951. Ships for Victory: A History of Shipbuilding under the U.S. Maritime Commission in World War II. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
A turgid and nearly unreadable but excruciatingly detailed discussion of the U.S. wartime shipbuilding program. Sadly, the tables that could have made this a valuable reference are mostly omitted.
Lawson, Robert, and Tillman, Barrett. 1996. Carrier Air War In Original WWII Color. New York: Barnes and Noble.
A nice, mostly oral, history of the carrier war, with numerous color photographs.
Liu, F.F. 1956. A Military History of Modern China: 1924-1949. Princeton University Press.
Good references on the war in China are lacking. This is one of the few that is available. However, it is probably overly deferential to Chiang and the Kuomintang.
Maas, Peter. 1999. The Terrible Hours: The Man Behind the Greatest Submarine Rescue in History. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. , New York. ISBN 0-06-019480-4.
Tells the story of the rescue of the survivors of the submarine Sailfish, which foundered on builder's trials off Cape Cod. But it is also a hagiography of the legendary submariner "Swede" Momsen, who directed the rescue and salvage.
Mayo, Lida. 1974. Bloody Buna. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc. ISBN 0-385-06268-0
A history of the early New Guinea campaign written for a general audience. Lays out the command failures but stops short of condemning McArthur.
McCartney, Innes (i/b Bryan, Tony). 2006. British Submarines 1939-45. New Vanguard 129. Osprey Publishing.
Compact and not very deep discussion of British wartime submarine designs. Does contain fairly complete design specifications.
McClain, James L. 2002. Japan: A Modern History. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.
A general reference on the modern history of Japan.
Miller, John Jr. 1959. United States Army in World War II. The War in the Pacific: CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army.
The U.S. Army counterpart of Morison's Navy history. Not nearly as readable, but much more detailed and complete. This volume covers the breaking of the Bismarck Barrier.
Miller, E.S. 1991. War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
A fascinating history of the development of contingency plans for war against Japan.
Morison, Samuel Eliot. 1948. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume III: The Rising Sun in the Pacific, 1931-April 1942. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.
Morison is the definite American historian of the naval war, despite the fact that he was not free to mention Ultra and was writing too recently after the war to bring much perspective. He also was writing when most of the principles were alive, which seems to have muted some well-deserved criticisms. In spite of these flaws, the whole series of volumes constitutes a classic reference of tremendous value.
Morton, Louis. 1953. United States Army in World War II. The War in the Pacific: The Fall of the Philippines. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army.
The U.S. Army counterpart of Morison's Navy history. Not nearly as readable, but much more detailed and complete. This volume covers the first Philippines campaign.
Newcomb, Richard F. 1961. The Battle of Savo Island. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
A brutally honest history of the disaster that was the battle of Savo Island. Paints a very unfavorable portrait of Crutchley.
Okumiya, M., and Horikoshi, J., and Caidin, M. 1956. Zero. Simon and Schuster, Inc.
A view of the Pacific air war from the Japanese side.
Okun, Nathan. 2003. Armor Protection of the Battleship KM Bismark.
An online article describing the armor protection of the German battleships Bismark in great detail and with much expert authority. Though not directly bearing on the Pacific War, the general principles discussed are of great interest.
Parillo, Mark P. 1993. The Japanese Merchant Marine in World War II. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-677-9
Discusses the fate of the Japanese Merchant Marine in the Pacific War, with a number of valuable tables and graphs. Also contains one of the best collections of photographs and diagrams of Japanese merchant ships around.
Parshall, J., and Tully, A. 2006. Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books.
A recent reexamination of the Battle of Midway from the Japanese perspective. Likely to become the definitive work.
Pearce, E.A., and Smith, Gordon. 1990. The Times Books World Weather Guide. Random House, Inc., New York.
A helpful reference on climate conditions throughout the world, including monthly highs and lows, rainfall, and number of rainy days.
Peattie, Mark R. 2001. Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power 1909-1941. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press.
An interesting history of the development of Japanese air power prior to the Pacific War.
Perret, Geoffrey. 1991. There’s a War to Be Won: The United States Army in World War II. New York: Random House.
A hagiography of the U.S. Army during the war, with particular praise for George C. Marshall. Gives much insight into the character of the generals who fought the war, including the incompetent ones. The chapter on the Graves Services is particularly moving.
-- 1993. Winged Victory: The Army Air Forces in World War II. New York: Random House.
A hagiography of the U.S. Army Air Forces during the war. Gives considerable insight into the character of Hap Arnold and the other Air Force leaders.
Potter, E.B. 1976. Nimitz. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870214926.
A deeply sympathetic portrait of the great admiral, with particular emphasis on his Pacific War service.
— 1985. Bull Halsey. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870211463.
A sympathetic and somewhat sanitized portrait of the controversial admiral.
Powell, Jim. 2003. FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression. New York: Crown Forum. ISBN 0-7615-0165-7.
A tendentious and scathing critique of the New Deal, written from the perspective of a modern libertarian economist. The economic analysis seems sound enough in spite of the polemics.
Prados, John. 1995. Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
An operational history of the war with emphasis on the role of intelligence. Very complete and worthwhile even as a general history of the war.
Prange, Gordon W. 1981. At Dawn We Slept. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0070506698.
The definitive history of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Should put to rest many revisionist claims.
— 1982. Miracle at Midway. New York: Penguin Books.
An excellent history of the pivotal battle, with particularly balanced coverage of both sides of the conflict.
Preston, Anthony. 1998. Jane’s Fighting Ships of World War II. New York: Random House Value Publishing, Inc.
A reproduction of the period Jane's entries for the fighting ships of the war. Much of the technical information is out of date and erroneous.
Ramsey, Edwin Price, and Rivele, Stephen J. 1990. Lieutenant Ramsey's War: From Horse Soldier to Guerrilla Commander. Washington: Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-052-7.
A first-person account of the ordeal of Ed Ramsey, an American cavalry officer who escaped from Bataan and became a guerrilla leader in the Philippines.
Rhodes, Richard. 1995. The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0684813783.
Probably the definitive account of the development of the first nuclear weapons.
Rottman, Gordon L. 2005. Japanese Army in World War II: Conquest of the Pacific 1941-42. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-789-1,
A useful compact reference on the Japanese order of battle and sequence of operations for the Centrifugal Offensive. Some good material on Japanese small units and tactics as well.
Rottman, Gordon L., and Takizawa Akira. 2005. Japanese Paratroop Forces of World War II. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-903-7,
Probably the most readily available reference giving details of the organization, training, and operational history of the Japanese Army and Navy paratroop forces.
Sakai, S., Caidin, M. and Saito, F. 1957. Samurai! Simon and Schuster, Inc.
The memoirs of Sakai Saburo, the second-ranking Japanese ace to survive the war. Reveals much of his bitterness towards his wartime leaders.
Sakaidi, Henry. 1996. The Siege of Rabaul. St. Paul, MN: Phalanx Publishing Co., Ltd.
A disappointing collection of short articles on the Japanese forces at Rabaul during the last two years of the war.
Schultz, Duane. 1985. The Last Battle Station: The Saga of the USS Houston. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Paints a portrait of the confusion and demoralization that characterized the first few months of the war.
Sharpe, Michael; Scutts, Jerry; and March, Dan. 1999. Aircraft of World War II: A Visual Encyclopedia. London: PRC Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85648-552-8.
Notable primarily for its wealth of photographs of important aircraft models.
Sih, Paul K.T. (ed) Nationalist China during the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945. Hicksville, NY 1977
There is a dearth of good histories of the war in China. This one emphasizes the economic and social aspects of the war, and like many such histories is flawed by a deferential attitude towards Chiang and the Kuomintang.
Sledge, E.B. 1981. With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. Novato,CA: Presidio Press.
Studs Terkel considered this the finest first-person history to come out of the Second World War. I agree.
Slim, William. 1956. Defeat into Victory. London: PAPERMAC
One of the finest Second World War memoirs by a senior officer.
Sloan, Bill. 2003. Given Up for Dead. New York: Bantam Books.
An excellent and detailed account of the siege of Wake Island. Paints a rather unflattering portrait of the naval commander of the island.
Sommerville, Donald. 1989. World War II: Day By Day. Greenwich, CT: Brompton Books Corporation
A strictly chronological listing of events during the war. Most articles are very brief. Useful as a reference rather than a comprehensive history.
Spector, Ronald. 1985. Eagle Against The Sun .
Probably the best single-volume history of the Pacific War.
Stanton, Shelby L. 2006. World War II Order of Battle, U.S. Army. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-0157-3
The definitive work on the ground combat organization of the U.S. Army in the Second World War..
Sumrall, Robert F. 1988. Iowa Class Battleships: Their Design, Weapons, and Equipment. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
A thorough and interesting description of the Iowas.
Thomas, Evan.  2006. Sea of Thunder:  Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945.  Simon and Schuster.  ISBN -13: 978-0-7432-5221-8.
A study of four of the naval commanders who would eventually clash at Leyte Gulf.  Though not without its flaws (for example, Thomas is badly confused on the concept of the Fleet in Being), the character analysis is highly insightful.
Tillman, Barett.  2005.  Clash of the Carriers:  The True Story of the Marianas Turkey Shoot of World War II.  New American Library.
A fairly good discussion of the Battle of the Philippines Sea, which manages to meander over a broad range of interesting topics relevant to carrier warfare in the Pacific.
Tillman, Barett.  2006.  The Dauntless Dive Bomber of World War Two.  Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1591148678
Everything you ever wanted to know about the aircraft that won the battle of Midway.
Tuchman, Barbara W. 1972. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45. Grove Press. ISBN 0802138527.
Still the definitive history of Stilwell's mission to China during the Pacific War. However, it is not without its flaws. Tuchman was the niece of Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, and her alignment with the anti-anti-Communist movement probably accounts for her rose-colored portrait of the Chinese Communists.
United States Army Air Forces. Army Air Forces Statistical Digest -- World War II
Contains an abundance of statistical tables on forces and equipment and their deployment to various theaters.
United States Navy. 1959-1991. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
DANFS has the biographies of over 7000 American warships, including almost all the warships that participated in the Pacific War. A version is available online at
Van Creveld, Martin. 1982. Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
A comparison of the difference in fighting strength between the German and U.S. Armies, and the differences in doctrine and practice that were likely responsible. Highly recommended.
Van Dorn, William G. 1974. Oceanography and Seamanship. New York: Dodd, Mead, & Co.
A quick introduction for the landlubber.
Van Royen, W., and Bowles, O. 1952. Atlas of the World’s Resources, Volume II: The Mineral Resources of the World. New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc. for the University of Maryland.
This rare volume assesses the mineral resources of the world ca. 1948. A great source for estimating which nations were producing what during the war years.
Weeks, Albert L. 2004. Russia's Life-Saver: Lend-Lease Aid to the USSR in World War II. Lexington Books. ISBN 0-7391-0736-4.
A reevaluation of Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union, which was discounted as insignificant by Soviet Cold War-era historians but has now been shown to have been vital to Russia's survival. Also has some nice details on the Lend-Lease routes through the Pacific and Indian Ocean.
Weeks, John. 1979. World War II Small Arms. New York: Galahad Books. ISBN 0-88365-403-2.
A nice introduction to the small arms of the Second World War, with a brief introduction explaining basic small arms concepts.
Whitley, M.J. 1988. Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
A good collection of statistics and service records of destroyers from every nation at the time of the Second World War.
Whitley, M.J. 1995. Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
A good collection of statistics and service records of cruisers from every nation at the time of the Second World War.
Williford, G., and McGovern, T. 2003. Defenses of Pearl Harbor and Oahu 1907-50. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
A description of the defensive installations that led the American command into assuming that Oahu was the best-defended fortress in the world.
Willmott, H.P. with Tomatsu Haruo and W. Spencer Johnson. 2001. Pearl Harbor. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
A brief, moderately interesting description of the Pearl Harbor attack, with numerous color graphics.
Willmott, H.P. 1982. Empires in the Balance: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies to April 1942. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
An excellent history of the grand strategy in the first few months of the Pacific war.
Willmott, H.P. 2002. The War With Japan: The Period of Balance: May 1942-October 1943. Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources Inc.
An excellent history of the grand strategy in the period from Coral Sea to the beginning of the massive Allied counteroffensive.
Wilson, Dick. 1982.  When Tigers Fight: The Story of the Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945. Viking Press.  ISBN 0-670-76003-X.
A sympathetic history of the Chinese resistance to the Japanese from the Marco Polo Bridge incident of 1937 to the end of the Pacific War.
Wilson, Stewart. 1998. Aircraft of WWII. Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-875671-35-8.
A comprehensive listing of aircraft employed in the Second World War. Particularly valuable for its consistent body of aircraft specifications.
Woolridge, E.T., editor. 1993. Carrier Warfare in the Pacific: An Oral History Collection. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.
A useful collection of oral histories by key players such as Jimmy Thatch.
Worth, Richard. 2001. Fleets of World War II. Da Capo Press.
An assessment of every navy that participated in the war. Suffers from a lack of detailed technical specifications.
Zaloga, Steven J. 2007. US Field Artillery of World War II. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-061-1.
A short but useful reference on American field artillery.
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia (c) 2007 by Kent G. Budge. Index


x-Nuc twidget
USN 87-93
"Going slow in the fast direction"

(in reply to Knavey)
Post #: 93
RE: Books to Recommend - 1/12/2008 5:56:28 PM   
Mike Scholl


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Now THAT'S what I call a bibliography.... Good Job, Knavey.

(in reply to Knavey)
Post #: 94
RE: Books to Recommend - 1/18/2008 9:44:20 PM   


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One final note about Leyte Gulf and books on this battle. Every historian does, of course, benefit from hindsight knowledge. This is inevitable; no historian can forget the outcome while working with the sources in order to write an ultimately objective work. But with Leyte we should remember that the criticisms made by Willmott and others are not just those rendered by historians with decades of scholarship behind them and the leisure to think them out. The major mistakes made by Halsey and Kurita were savagely criticised by admirals in their respective navies on the same day they were made, indeed within hours, indeed, by some of their superiors at the time they were made. This is hardly hindsight.

But I do agree that Willmott, and others, can carry the hindsight over into less important decisions. Leyte was a gigantic, confused mess and any admiral could have become confused at various aspects of it.

(in reply to miral)
Post #: 95
RE: Books to Recommend - 1/18/2008 10:36:52 PM   


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miral wrote:
"The major mistakes made by Halsey and Kurita were savagely criticised by admirals in their respective navies on the same day they were made, indeed within hours, indeed, by some of their superiors at the time they were made"

Radio operators as well...


fair winds,

(in reply to miral)
Post #: 96
RE: Books to Recommend - 1/22/2008 8:08:56 AM   
Son of Jorg


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My absolute favorite books written about the Pac War, and is listed in that bibliography above, is Clay Blair's "Silent Victory: The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan". It was written awhile ago, but it goes into fantastic detail about the military history of submarines and their development; In depth review of the Admirals who would sucessfully and unsucessfully command the submarine force in the pacific, details on torpedo development, and the travesty of the early years when American sub torpedoes were almost useless. It also mentions EVERY war patrol of every sub, some in only a few sentences, some in great detail. It is a 2 volume series, out of print, but well worth the work of digging copies up in my opinion. The best comprehensive sub history out there without a doubt.

Also, Blair has written a massive 2 volume history of the War of the Atlantic, which, in incredible detail, lays out the entire submarine commerce war from start to finish. Blair also breaks from more traditional thoughts about how close the U-boats came to cutting off England from all supplies; he contends it was never even close, but I'll let you read his books to see his reasoning, which I admit is pretty convincing. These books were written recently and should be readily available; 2,000 pages that tell you all youd ever want to know about that particular battle, and then some. Sadly, Ive read it twice haha.

One last trilogy of books I need to mention are Rick Atkinson's "The Liberation Trilogy". "An Army at Dawn", which details TORCH and the subsequencent campaign in North Africa, is one of my all time favorites (I've read it twice as well; Atikinson won the Pulitzer Prize for history for this book). I just bought the second book on Saturday, called "The Day of Battle", which describes HUSKY and the invasion of Italy up to June the 6th, 1944. The third book, being written, is about dday and the liberation of europe. He is a fantastic author, and he writes with a great style; really sucks you in and breathes life in to the history, all while giving you facts and details. you can find more at . HIGHLEY RECOMMENDED.

/end essay

< Message edited by Son of Jorg -- 1/22/2008 8:14:23 AM >

(in reply to bradfordkay)
Post #: 97
RE: Books to Recommend - 1/23/2008 1:27:56 AM   


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Glad to hear that about the Liberation trilogy.  I have the first one on the shelf and it is on my list to read but haven'g gotten to it yet.

I picked up the book for about $3 at B&N one day in passing hoping that it would be worth reading.


x-Nuc twidget
USN 87-93
"Going slow in the fast direction"

(in reply to Son of Jorg)
Post #: 98
RE: Books to Recommend - 12/12/2017 2:07:51 PM   


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Goodbye Darkness by William Manchester. I give a copy to my students who are joining the Marines.....

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Post #: 99
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