Storm over Leyte

  • by John Prados
  • Narrated by Ricard Ferrone
  • 16 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The story of the Battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II - the greatest naval battle in history.
As Allied ships prepared for the invasion of the Philippine island of Leyte, every available warship, submarine, and airplane was placed on alert while Japanese admiral Kurita Takeo stalked Admiral William F. Halsey's unwitting American armada. It was the beginning of the epic Battle of Leyte Gulf - the greatest naval battle in history.
In Storm over Leyte, acclaimed historian John Prados gives listeners an unprecedented look at both sides of this titanic naval clash, demonstrating that despite the Americans' overwhelming superiority in firepower and supplies, the Japanese achieved their goal, inflicting grave damage on US forces. And for the first time, listeners will have access to the naval intelligence reports that influenced key strategic decisions on both sides.
Drawing upon a wealth of untapped sources - US and Japanese military records, diaries, declassified intelligence reports, and postwar interrogation transcripts - Prados offers up a masterful narrative of naval conflict on an epic scale.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Startling revelations to a 72 year battle!

I am NOT a historian, I am an educated amateur who has dabbled for over 50 years. I own and have read all of the books Mr. Prados refers to in this book, (including Morison's 15 volume 'History of United States Naval Operations in World War II'). His basis for writing this book was newly found information in both the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the newly translated diaries of Japanese WWII naval officers. The USN is in the process of getting rid of old documents,(declassified intelligence reports and postwar interrogation transcripts), and instead of giving them to the US Naval Historical Center, they're going to the vaults of NARA. Mr. Prados caught them as they were going into deep storage. Some of the Japanese diaries had been previously been translated years ago with a political slant and have recently been re-translated sans politics, and many others were translated for the first time.

While the dysfunction between the Imperial General Staff - Army and the Imperial General Staff - Navy, and within the Imperial Japanese Army has been well documented, the Imperial Japanese Navy has long been regarded as a relative voice of sanity throughout the war. After all it was Isoroku Yamamoto who warned of the long term failure of war versus the United States. It seems while there was structure of sanity within the Imperial Japanese Navy, they had their share of samurai supermen who believed in the Emperor's divinity and Japan's destiny of ultimate victory, war weary officers and simply old fashioned bureaucratic and personal infighting tearing the Navy apart from the inside. All of this was revealed in the Japanese diaries with great gusto. Anarchy was beginning inside the navy leading up to Sho 1 at Leyte. Events from the Japanese perspective, leading up to the Battle off Samar place Adm. Kurita in a much different light. Mr. Prados ties all the diaries with official histories and the declassified intelligence reports and postwar interrogation transcripts to present what actually happened from the Japanese perspective.

I'll be up front and say that I'm not a fan of FltAdm. William Halsey, Jr., IMHO, he should have been reassigned from duties other than 3rd Fleet long before "Bull's Run". Two future CNO's attempted to warn their superiors about this "operation"; Adm. Robert Carney, Chief of Staff to Halsey, and Adm. Arleigh Burke, Chief of Staff to Adm. Marc Mitscher, Commander -Task Force 38, Halsey's carriers. "Bull's Run" is well documented. What is new is Mr. Prados' claim that Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid's 7th Fleet Support Force of 6 battleships under reported the number of 16" and 14" armor piercing shells remaining onboard after the Battle of Surigao Strait. They could have supported the Taffys off the landing beaches off of Samar. I'd already ordered the hc for my library, but I'm most anxious to see the references on this. Official records that I've seen show that 3 of the battleships were still well loaded with armor piercing shells and I've always wondered why at least those 3 weren't sent early on for support. Now Mr. Prados intimates that all 6 were well stocked.

It's a well known fact that the USN covered Adm. Halsey's chestnuts on several occasions, mostly because he was so popular with a war weary public, and because of prior meritorious service. Now I'm wondering whether or not a second Admiral got a "gimme". There's other historical "facts' Mr. Prados takes to task, but you'll simply have to listen to find out which.

Mr. Ferrone is one of my favorite narrators and does yeoman service throughout the book. Some of his pronunciations rang rough on my ears, such as "Leyte"; some of the Japanese ship names were pronounced differently than I've heard before but the proper names sounded correct, (keeping in mind that I haven't lived in Japan for some 58 years).
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- Chiefkent "chiefkent"

Good history book, bad choice for audio book

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This is not really a good choice for an Audiobook. There are tons of small details about process and personalities and lots of players, but hard to keep track of them all, especially the IJN without a scorecard or something. I've read several books about this battle and things leading up to it and still had a hard time keeping this author's details straight in my head while listening.


What other book might you compare Storm over Leyte to and why?

It kept reminding me of "Shattered Sword" about the battle of Midway. Tons of small details and lots of Japanese names and places and process. Good if you are a student of history trying to really get a feel for the whole thing, but difficult to read more than a little at a time.


Would you listen to another book narrated by Ricard Ferrone?

Perhaps. This is a rather dry, detailed history, all written past tense, passive voice, so it's not fair to rate the narrator overall on this one piece.


Could you see Storm over Leyte being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Cannot imagine as film or TV. Would have to be a mini-series of 10-15 hours or so.


Any additional comments?

This book is really for the student of naval history, not for someone interested in the battles themselves. The battles take up only the last 1/4 of the book. "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by James Hornfischer is much better on the battles and is good in print or audio. Even the Samuel Eliot Morison book "Leyte Gulf" is more interesting and accessible.

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- R. Denton "Audiobooks help me hold on to the few wits I have left."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-05-2016
  • Publisher: Recorded Books