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The Battle of Surigao Strait was in many ways as confusing as the battle of Taffy 3. Mr. Tully did a masterful job in pulling all the disparate portions and records together to weave a coherent tale. My main problem was that Mr. Roelofs was obviously reading many of the names and locales phonetically and in many cases unless one speaks Japanese, it was difficult to keep all of the IJN players straight. Keeping all of the USN players straight was hard enough with all of the battleships and heavy cruisers playing chicken towards the end of the battle. I believe that part of the problem is that the IJN players like Kurita are familiar to American readers, but that the IJN officers at Surigao Strait aren't because they died there for the most part. Most of the senior officers I knew from previous books, but many of the ships' captains and officers were oft time difficult to keep straight with their ships.
The IJN run up the Straight is familiar to anyone who has watched "In Harm's Way", as James Bassett took this battle and mixed it with Taffy 3 in his book, "Harm's Way", on which the movie is based. While I could picture the essential maneuvers of the IJN run, it did get a bit confusing keeping the different heavy cruisers separate at times, and I'd have to back up the narration just to confirm which ship was which. But - the historic tale of the classic 'crossing of the T' at Suriagao Strait obviously does not stand up to scrutiny based on Mr. Tully's research. Oldendorf's reputation was largely made upon the picture of USN battleships steaming blissfully across the bows of IJN battleships in the dark while sending said IJN battleships to the bottom of Surigao Strait.
The phonetic pronunciations such as; "Lay-Tee", did get a bit tedious, Mr. Roelofs did a yeoman's job at narrating the book and has a wonderful voice to listen to. It seemed that he didn't understand what he was reading. He was reading the book without telling the story.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Where does Battle of Surigao Strait rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I would rate this book as average among the many WWII naval books I have read. It is more an academic work than a book one would read for pleasure.
Would you recommend Battle of Surigao Strait to your friends? Why or why not?
I would only recommend this book to someone who had a strong interest in naval history and was comfortable reading a very factual, detailed, and analytical text. I would recommend it in book form as the narrator for this production is the worse I have ever experienced in all the Audible books I have listen to!
What didn’t you like about Gary Roelofs’s performance?
Roelofs is the worse narrator I have ever experienced in all my years of listening to Audible books. He sounds as if he is reading words, not sentences or a story. He must have been uncomfortable with the Japanese names as you notice a pause before he pronounces each name. It seems as if he mispronounced "Leyte Gulf" and they had to go back in an redo the pronunciation. He also does not know how to say military time as he calls 2000 "two thousand" instead of "20 hundred." If it were not for the fact that I had an interest in the battle, I would have stopped listening to this book before the end of the first chapter!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No. Too detailed and academic. Plus the narration is so poor it makes listening painful.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful