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Publisher's Summary

On 27 October 1942, four "Long Lance" torpedoes fired by the Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo exploded in the hull of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8). Minutes later, the ship that had launched the Doolitte Raid six months earlier slipped beneath the waves of the Coral Sea 100 miles northeast of the island of Guadalcanal and just north of the Santa Cruz Islands, taking with her 140 of her sailors. With the loss of Hornet, the United States Navy now had one aircraft carrier left in the South Pacific, USS Enterprise (CV-6), herself badly damaged in the two previous days of the Battle of Santa Cruz.
For the American naval aviators, it would be difficult to imagine that within 24 months of this event, Zuikaku, the last survivor of the Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers that had attacked Pearl Harbor, would lie at the bottom of the Philippine Sea north of Cape Engano on the island of Luzon, alongside the other surviving Japanese carriers, sacrificed as lures in a failed attempt to block the American invasion of the Philippines, and that the United States Navy's Task Force 38, composed of 16 fleet carriers, would reign supreme on the world's largest ocean.
©2017 Thomas McKelvey Cleaver (P)2017 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By David Maher on 12-18-17

Good for what it is, but not what it claims to be

From the title and description I expected a more of less comprehensive history of the Central Pacific campaign. In particular I expected at least an attempt to explain the planning and strategy of the campaign. Instead Cleaver is laser focused on the experiences of the air groups and the individual air crew. He has dug up a lot of good detail on the lives and missions of carrier aviators and those stories are informative and interesting. He does a decent job on the equipment, especially the Hellcat and Helldiver. Less so on the Avenger. The book also starts off strongly with a review of the development of American carriers and carrier doctrine in the pre-war period. It even does a good job of sketching even the events of the early war, setting the stage for August 1943

Unfortunately when the narrative reaches the start of the titular campaign the book's focus shifts to the micro level. Missions are described, the stories of individual pilots and air crew are told. Occasionally we get some strategic explanation, but never an over all clear picture.

Still glad I read it, with a title and description that match the content of the book I would rate it highly, just not the book it claims to be.

Tom Perkins does a fine job with the material and keeps the narrative moving forward. He does what most of the better narrators do, reads it well enough that you can enjoy the book and not think much about the narration.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Chiefkent on 01-07-18

Fine History; Mediocre Narration

This book deals with the minutiae of the naval war in the Pacific during the periods indicated in the title. The author does an excellent job in presenting what was essentially a carrier war with just enough background information not to bog his tale down. As with most of the recent histories, it is told from the perspective of the participants, rather than just the overall strategic picture. When dealing with the minutiae of the naval war in the Pacific, one ought to get a narrator who has a familiarity with both said Navy and the Pacific and how to pronounce the terminology and geography associated with them.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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