The Battle of Midway by Craig L. Symonds
(Pivotal Moments in American History)

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Synopsis

There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever.
In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice. Symonds begins with the arrival of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese attack, and describes the key events leading to the climactic battle, including both Coral Sea--the first battle in history against opposing carrier forces--and Jimmy Doolittle's daring raid of Tokyo. He focuses throughout on the people involved, offering telling portraits of Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance and numerous other Americans, as well as the leading Japanese figures, including the poker-loving Admiral Yamamoto. Indeed, Symonds sheds much light on the aspects of Japanese culture--such as their single-minded devotion to combat, which led to poorly armored planes and inadequate fire-safety measures on their ships--that contributed to their defeat. The author's account of the battle itself is masterful, weaving together the many disparate threads of attack--attacks which failed in the early going--that ultimately created a five-minute window in which three of the four Japanese carriers were mortally wounded, changing the course of the Pacific war in an eye-blink.
Symonds is the first historian to argue that the victory at Midway was not simply a matter of luck, pointing out that Nimitz had equal forces, superior intelligence, and the element of surprise. Nimitz had a strong hand, Symonds concludes, and he rightly expected to win.
 

About Craig L. Symonds

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Craig L. Symonds is Professor of History Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of many books on American naval history, including Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History as well as Lincoln and His Admirals, co-winner of the Lincoln Prize in 2009.
 
Published October 5, 2011 by Oxford University Press. 464 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Battle of Midway

The Wall Street Journal

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The Battle of Midway was decided in a five-minute span on the morning of June 4, 1942, when U.S. Navy dive-bombers landed a series of haymakers on Japan's formerly invincible aircraft-carrier striking force.

Nov 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Battle of Midway (Pivotal...

The Washington Times

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Yet, when the long, drawn-out battle between the USS Nautilus and the Japanese destroyer Arashi, ended in a draw, Arashi headed at high speed directly for the Kido Butai main body churning a giant wake.

Nov 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Battle of Midway (Pivotal...

Bookmarks Magazine

The author's account of the battle itself is masterful, weaving together the many disparate threads of attack--attacks which failed in the early going--that ultimately created a five-minute window in which three of the four Japanese carriers were mortally wounded, changing the course of the Pacif...

Nov 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Battle of Midway (Pivotal...

HistoryNet

The June 1942 Battle of Midway was one of the most consequential engagements of World War II.

Mar 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Battle of Midway (Pivotal...

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