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 sunk and their dominance in the Pacific was finished.
Craig L. 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. In this riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, leading naval historian Craig Symonds paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice.
The story 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 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 Admiral Yamamoto. Indeed, Symonds sheds light on numerous aspects of Japanese culture and warfare--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.
Symonds weaves 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 badly damaged, changing the course of the Pacific war in a moment.
- Military / World War II, Military / Naval
- October 5, 2011
- October 5, 2011
- Craig L. Symonds