Matrix Games Forums

Deal of the Week Battle Academy Battle Academy 2 Out now!Legions of Steel ready for betaBattle Academy 2 gets trailers and Steam page!Deal of the Week Germany at WarSlitherine Group acquires Shenandoah StudioNew information and screenshots for Pike & ShotDeal of the Week Pride of NationsTo End All Wars Releasing on Steam! Slitherine is recruiting: Programmers required
Forums  Register  Login  Photo Gallery  Member List  Search  Calendars  FAQ 

My Profile  Inbox  Address Book  My Subscription  My Forums  Log Out

John Costello's book "The Pacific War"

 
View related threads: (in this forum | in all forums)

Logged in as: Guest
Users viewing this topic: none
  Printable Version
All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> War in the Pacific: Admiral's Edition >> John Costello's book "The Pacific War" Page: [1] 2   next >   >>
Login
Message << Older Topic   Newer Topic >>
John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 1:27:09 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9773
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Status: offline
I've been fiddling around reading John Costello's massive The Pacific War (1981) to fill in gaps in my knowledge about the Pac war. (How vast and many those gaps are - I know next to nothing about ABDA, India and Burma, I've come to find out).

I've been surprised at the number of errors I've encountered in the book thus far. There are numerous times when he writes "east" when he means "west." He refers to the "4th Marine Division" on Bataan many times. He says that the American cruisers Chicago and Perkins left Pearl Harbor. Nagoya is a destroyer.

This guy badly needed a Forumite to serve as a fact checker. Have any of you read this book? Are these "small" errors mere blemishes on a work that is otherwise full of merit or are they indictative of rot. IE, am I wasting my time?

P.S. I stopped reading Neptune's Inferno a year ago due to a number of mistakes indicating poor fact checking.

< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 3/5/2013 1:30:19 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 1:54:44 PM   
dr.hal


Posts: 2056
Joined: 6/3/2006
Status: offline
I think the fact that there are errors is regrettable, however I wouldn't throw out the baby with what ever. I find almost every book has an error or two (just finished Willmott's book "Battleship" where I found a few errors and having known Ned and his ability to dig for details I certainly wouldn't expect it, but it happens). However I don't allow that to over-shadow the other nuggets that the author might shed some light on.

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 2
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 2:04:30 PM   
Bo Rearguard


Posts: 262
Joined: 4/7/2008
From: Basement of the Alamo
Status: offline
As others have mentioned in past posts about this book before, there are simply too many silly errors-- such as the refloating of the first 'Lexington' in late 1943, the reappearance of the 'Shoho' long after it was sunk, or the Hellcat divebomber (F6F Hellcats could divebomb but the plane was designated a 'fighter'). Some of these errors were so egregious that I laughed out loud. Every several pages there was a goof regarding a name, place, or equipment.

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 3
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 3:29:07 PM   
dr.hal


Posts: 2056
Joined: 6/3/2006
Status: offline
To be clear, I've not read the book in question, but was making a general statement about looking at the broader contribution a work makes, rather than focus on the detail, no matter how silly (and yes I agree, some of them do make me groan!). Hal

(in reply to Bo Rearguard)
Post #: 4
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 3:56:07 PM   
DD696

 

Posts: 657
Joined: 7/9/2004
From: near Savannah, Ga
Status: offline
I have the book sitting within my view now. Bought it about 3 years ago on a whim, and was quite disappointed with the number of errors it has. Been awhile since I read it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone as a serious treatment of the Pacific war.

_____________________________

USMC: 1970-1977.

(in reply to dr.hal)
Post #: 5
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 5:24:28 PM   
Chickenboy


Posts: 18084
Joined: 6/29/2002
From: Twin Cities, MN
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

I've been fiddling around reading John Costello's massive The Pacific War (1981) to fill in gaps in my knowledge about the Pac war. (How vast and many those gaps are - I know next to nothing about ABDA, India and Burma, I've come to find out).

I've been surprised at the number of errors I've encountered in the book thus far. There are numerous times when he writes "east" when he means "west." He refers to the "4th Marine Division" on Bataan many times. He says that the American cruisers Chicago and Perkins left Pearl Harbor. Nagoya is a destroyer.

This guy badly needed a Forumite to serve as a fact checker. Have any of you read this book? Are these "small" errors mere blemishes on a work that is otherwise full of merit or are they indictative of rot. IE, am I wasting my time?

P.S. I stopped reading Neptune's Inferno a year ago due to a number of mistakes indicating poor fact checking.


Hi Canoerebel,

I read Costello's "The Pacific War" probably 15 years ago. I hadn't noticed the factual errors you cite.

I thought it was a good (not great, but good) single-volume summary of the Pacific War, kind of a Reader's Digest version of same. At the time, I enjoyed the read for the summary format, which you can't find in too many other good one volume books.

You're just getting too smart for yer britches.

_____________________________


(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 6
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 5:30:01 PM   
Nikademus


Posts: 25307
Joined: 5/27/2000
From: Alien spacecraft
Status: offline
Costello's book has a number of small factual errors, such as mis-spelled ship names or mis-labeled ships. He could have used a better editor.

however this doesn't detract from the book's true strength which is a 1st class analysis of the Trans-Pacific situation and the origins of the Pacific aspect of WWII. The sections on China are also well done and expose an oft neglected portion of the war.

Its worth a read.

(in reply to Chickenboy)
Post #: 7
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 5:55:25 PM   
HansBolter


Posts: 3584
Joined: 7/6/2006
From: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Status: offline
Strange this should arrive on the forums just as I dusted it off the shelf for a reread.

I agree strongly with Chickenboy and Nickademus.

In spite of getting details wrong he does a good job of presenting a summary in one volume and a particularly good job of presenting a review of the source of the conflict.

_____________________________

Hans


(in reply to Nikademus)
Post #: 8
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 6:31:49 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9773
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Status: offline
Thanks for the input.  I know from experience that little errors have a way of creeping into even the most carefully edited publications.  But sometimes an avalanche of small errors undermines the credibility of a book - if you can't trust the small things what makes you think you can trust the big ones?

That was the position I was in.  I was surprised by the growing number of errors, which indicated an unusual level of sloppiness, which left me wondering whether it was worthwhile to read the book.  From the insight of the knowledgeable and helpful folks who have posted here, I see that it is.  I'll finish it.

(in reply to HansBolter)
Post #: 9
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 7:11:14 PM   
dr.hal


Posts: 2056
Joined: 6/3/2006
Status: offline
Canoerebel,

Let me know how you like it (and how it ends). As I indicated above I've not read it, but have it in my library and thus on my queue. Hal

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 10
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 7:27:04 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9773
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Status: offline
I started the book years ago but got bogged down in the geopolitical background to the war.  (I confess, I was looking for carrier battles and hitting the beaches and Burt Lancaster rolling on the beach with a pretty babe.)  So I put it down until about a week ago.  I picked it up and started at ABDA.  I've since made it to Midway.  I've found the book enjoyable, readible, and yet with sufficient depth to be rewarding.  I think my favorite part has been the depth given to intelligence and code breaking.  So I give the book a thumbs up since I now know (thanks to you guys) that its sloppiness isn't indicitive of inaccuracy.

(in reply to dr.hal)
Post #: 11
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 7:39:32 PM   
leehunt27@bloomberg.net


Posts: 450
Joined: 9/6/2004
Status: offline
Costello's book is great for a single volume on mostly the American point of view, but a more interesting one for the Japanese fanboys could be John Toland's The Rising Sun. Its nice to see a single volume from the other sides' point of view. Also you can see how crazy things got in the Imperial government at the very end, when all was lost there were still near coups etc

_____________________________

John 21:25

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 12
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 7:43:39 PM   
Lecivius


Posts: 1534
Joined: 8/5/2007
From: Denver
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bo Rearguard

As others have mentioned in past posts about this book before, there are simply too many silly errors-- such as the refloating of the first 'Lexington' in late 1943, the reappearance of the 'Shoho' long after it was sunk...


Having not read this, is this serious?!?

(in reply to Bo Rearguard)
Post #: 13
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 7:52:50 PM   
dr.hal


Posts: 2056
Joined: 6/3/2006
Status: offline
Thanks...

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 14
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 7:54:25 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9773
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Status: offline
We could have a contest:  Forumites agree to read "The Pacific War" and to list every error found (no use of Google or other reference tools).

P.S.  Just kidding.  But I bet the number or errors would exceed 100. 

(in reply to dr.hal)
Post #: 15
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 9:36:28 PM   
Numdydar

 

Posts: 1823
Joined: 2/13/2004
Status: offline
You mean '... of errors ..." instead of "... or errors ..." correct Canoerebel ? See even in such a short post there can be small errors so I cannot imagine the number that a big book would have

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 16
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/5/2013 9:47:49 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9773
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Status: offline
That's just a typo.  To make it analogous to what Costello did, I'd have to have written something on the order of:  "...the number of escargots would exceed 100."

(in reply to Numdydar)
Post #: 17
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 12:09:13 AM   
DaveConn

 

Posts: 251
Joined: 5/3/2001
From: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Status: offline
quote:

That's just a typo. To make it analogous to what Costello did, I'd have to have written something on the order of: "...the number of escargots would exceed 100."


Finding all those errors would proceed at a snail's pace!

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 18
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 12:57:03 AM   
msieving1


Posts: 454
Joined: 3/23/2007
From: Missouri
Status: offline
The strength of Costello's book is his descriptions of the political and diplomatic aspects of the war. The errors, which are real enough, are generally trivial, but if you're mainly interested in detailed descriptions of battles it's probably not the book for you.

(in reply to DaveConn)
Post #: 19
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 1:53:53 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
Status: offline
In accordance with the long-established rule of speakers, that, "everything that needs be to said has been said, but not by everybody who needs to say it," I'll agree with the emerging consensus that Costello gets a lot of the (especially military) details wrong; regiments are divisions, ships mis-named, etc.

But he also does a bang-up job in a one-volume treatment of the geo-political issues. He is the first writer I've come across who speculates that the reason the allies were expecting an attack in late November/ early December, but were surprised that Pearl Harbor was the target, was because the British had cracked a particular Japanese naval operational code. Messages sent in the code warned fleet units to prepare for hostile action, but only mentioned the DEI, Malaysia, etc. as targets.

He was also the first writer I found who suggested that the US government knew and approved of Quezon's gold payment to MacArthur and members of his staff.

All in all the book was a good read, with some interesting and original insights, but not a trustworthy military analysis.

_____________________________

WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff

Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

(in reply to msieving1)
Post #: 20
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 1:57:39 AM   
rockmedic109

 

Posts: 2013
Joined: 5/17/2005
From: Citrus Heights, CA
Status: offline
Errors and all, i liked it as a good bathroom book.


(in reply to msieving1)
Post #: 21
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 3:40:52 AM   
Chickenboy


Posts: 18084
Joined: 6/29/2002
From: Twin Cities, MN
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: rockmedic109

Errors and all, i liked it as a good bathroom book.


I like the analogy. And it's true.

_____________________________


(in reply to rockmedic109)
Post #: 22
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 4:17:54 AM   
crsutton


Posts: 7153
Joined: 12/6/2002
From: Maryland
Status: offline
A historical work does need a good editor, peer review, and proof reading. I just finished the third volume of "The Last Lion." and noticed a few goofy errors. However, I don't expect a good historian to be as swept up in the minutiae as most of us are here on the forum and can excuse some mistakes. However, when they become frequent, then any book can become tedious no matter the otherwise quality of the work.

But in my mind, the responsibility of that sort of thing lies with the publisher. They have to back up a good authors weaknesses by providing the right support.

_____________________________

I am the Holy Roman Emperor and am above grammar.

Sigismund of Luxemburg

(in reply to Chickenboy)
Post #: 23
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 4:34:41 AM   
gradenko_2000

 

Posts: 770
Joined: 12/27/2010
Status: offline
I finished Neptune's Inferno, liked it, and thought it was a good book. How inaccurate was it? What could I have taken away from it that was wrong?

(in reply to crsutton)
Post #: 24
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 5:04:34 AM   
JeffK


Posts: 5171
Joined: 1/26/2005
From: Back in the Office, Can I get my tin hut back!
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton

A historical work does need a good editor, peer review, and proof reading. I just finished the third volume of "The Last Lion." and noticed a few goofy errors. However, I don't expect a good historian to be as swept up in the minutiae as most of us are here on the forum and can excuse some mistakes. However, when they become frequent, then any book can become tedious no matter the otherwise quality of the work.

But in my mind, the responsibility of that sort of thing lies with the publisher. They have to back up a good authors weaknesses by providing the right support.


Any Writer wanting to be taken seriously has to get the little things right, or are his insightful comments into something else based on errors as well.
Get the little bits right.

I dumped Robin Neillands as a writer after reading his book on The Eighth Army, the number of "small goofy" errors on an already well covered topic made it irrelevant. I've since heard comments about some of his other works but havent read them.

_____________________________

Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum

(in reply to crsutton)
Post #: 25
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 6:49:13 AM   
sanch

 

Posts: 290
Joined: 10/30/2004
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Nikademus

Costello's book has a number of small factual errors, such as mis-spelled ship names or mis-labeled ships. He could have used a better editor.

however this doesn't detract from the book's true strength which is a 1st class analysis of the Trans-Pacific situation and the origins of the Pacific aspect of WWII. The sections on China are also well done and expose an oft neglected portion of the war.

Its worth a read.


That was my impressions as well. It's worth while for its take on the origins of the war and also to get a better understanding of the political environment in Japan that led to the war.

For the minutae, this forum is probably as good as any history book - in fact, I am often surprised at how much people here know.

(in reply to Nikademus)
Post #: 26
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/6/2013 12:22:15 PM   
HansBolter


Posts: 3584
Joined: 7/6/2006
From: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

That's just a typo.  To make it analogous to what Costello did, I'd have to have written something on the order of:  "...the number of escargots would exceed 100."



Over breakfast this morning I read the section on the Coral Sea. He referred to Captain Bukmaster of teh Yorktown as Buckmiester.......

Then I got to the last couple of paragraphs on the Coral Sea where he describes how both propaganda machines wwent into high gear spinning it as a victory for each. I had to chuckle when I read the last sentence of the section............the Japanese added a battleship to their claim of two carriers......
I just had to wonder if this was the source of our most annoying in game message from Orphan Ann we hear every time there is an encounter between a minesweeper and a patrol boat........"two carriers, a battleships and numerous cruisers and destroyers"....

_____________________________

Hans


(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 27
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/7/2013 6:06:17 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9773
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Status: offline
In finishing the section of the book on the Battle of Midway, was amazed to read that a Chicago newspaper noted that the US Navy "had prior information" about Japanese plans to strike.  Holy cow! Freedom of the press definitely has a downside, as General Sherman so forcefully noted on many occasions.

< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 3/7/2013 6:08:05 PM >

(in reply to HansBolter)
Post #: 28
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/7/2013 6:13:28 PM   
obvert


Posts: 6993
Joined: 1/17/2011
From: PDX (and now) London, UK
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

In finishing the section of the book on the Battle of Midway, was amazed to read that a Chicago newspaper noted that the US Navy "had prior information" about Japanese plans to strike.  Holy cow! Freedom of the press definitely has a downside, as General Sherman so forcefully noted on many occasions.


This seems bad, but I guess it could cut both ways. Sure it might make them alter that code a bit, but you would think they would have come up with that one on their own as well.

Interesting how deception often works best by giving good information mixed with bad or incomplete information. A book I'd recommend on this is Churchill's Wizards, detailing use of deception, code-breaking and use, spying and camouflage in WWI-II. Very tricky how some of this worked in reality, and very effective.

_____________________________


"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 29
RE: John Costello's book "The Pacific War" - 3/7/2013 6:35:45 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9773
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Status: offline
One of the best examples I recall is from World War II.  Prior to D-Day, the Allies made an elaborate show of preparing to invade Norway.  This included a "mock army" made of plywood and stuff and lots of signal disinformation.  The feint was so persuasive that Hitler personally ordered something like five or seven divisions moved to Norway (or prepared to do so).  That's, what, 70,000 troops that weren't at Normandy? 

P.S.  Pardon me if I don't have the details exactly right.  I'm going from "general memory" that tends to get fuzzy with time.  As for the press, putting troops in harm's way by revealing information may be unavoidable at times, but it's also pretty nigh unforgivable.

< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 3/7/2013 6:37:26 PM >

(in reply to obvert)
Post #: 30
Page:   [1] 2   next >   >>
All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> War in the Pacific: Admiral's Edition >> John Costello's book "The Pacific War" Page: [1] 2   next >   >>
Jump to:





New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition 2.4.5 ANSI

0.102