Audie Award Nominee, History, 2013
The planning, the strategy, the sacrifices and heroics - on both sides - illuminating the greatest naval war in history. On the first Sunday in December 1941, an armada of Japanese warplanes appeared suddenly over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Six months later, in a sea fight north of the tiny atoll of Midway, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sent into the abyss.
Pacific Crucible tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history and seized the strategic initiative. Ian W. Toll's dramatic narrative encompasses both the high command and the "sailor's-eye" view from the lower deck. Relying predominantly on eyewitness accounts and primary sources, Pacific Crucible also spotlights recent scholarship that has revised our understanding of the conflict, including the Japanese decision to provoke a war that few in the country's highest circles thought they could win. The result is a pause-resistant history that does justice to the breadth and depth of a tremendous subject.
“An entertaining, impressively researched chronicle of the tense period between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and American victory at the battle of Midway....Toll gives everyone involved in the conflict a chance to speak, bringing readers into the command centers and cockpits to reveal the humanity of combatants on both sides of the Pacific.” (Kirkus)
“Revealing and poignant, Toll’s latest deftly navigates the rough waters of the Pacific struggle with flying colors.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Narrator Grover Gardner gives an applaudable narration of this detailed history of the Pacific Theater in WWII…Gardner presents the many historical details in this work with an easygoing pace and precise enunciation that quickly draw in the listener and never let go. Rather than affecting an accent for quotations, he adjusts his inflection slightly, which works well. Novices and history buffs will find this performance a treat and want to hear the continuation of the story.” (AudioFile)
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A detailed review of the first years of the war
Pacific Crucible is a wonderful blend of history and personal accounts. Although the book is obviously factual, it provides the types of interesting details into certain people's lives that made it feel like a story.
Do realize, however, that the book details Pearl Harbor through Midway Island only, and does not go further into the Pacific conflict. That should not stop you though. The book provides great detail into the main battles, and main commanders of the Pacific front during this time of the war.
I have listened to quite a few books on this period, and have quickly become a fan of Toll and his works. I highly recommend this book.
Exciting as a thriller, even knowing what happens
- Ethan M.