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Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942

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Pacific Crucible: War At Sea In The Pacific, 1941-1942

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" Both a serious work of history . . . and a marvelously readable dramatic narrative." " San Francisco Chronicle

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, a blow that destroyed the offensive power of their fleet. 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.

This dramatic narrative, relying predominantly on eyewitness accounts and primary sources, is laced with riveting details of heroism and sacrifice on the stricken ships and planes of both navies. At the war's outset, Japan's pilots and planes enjoyed a clear-cut superiority to their American counterparts, but there was a price to be paid. Japanese pilots endured a lengthy and grueling training in which they were disciplined with baseball bats, often suffering broken bones; and the production line of the Zero" Japan's superbly maneuverable fighter plane" ended not at a highway or railhead but at a rice paddy, through which the planes were then hauled on ox carts. Combat losses, of either pilots or planes, could not be replaced in time to match the fully mobilized American war machine.

Pacific Crucible also spotlights recent scholarship that revises our understanding of the conflict, including the Japanese decision to provoke a war that few in their highest circles thought they could win. Those doubters included the flamboyantly brilliant Admiral Isokoru Yamamoto, architect of the raid on Pearl and the Midway offensive.

Once again, Ian W. Toll proves himself to be a simply magnificent writer. The result here is a page-turning history that does justice to the breadth and depth of a tremendous subject.

24 pages of illustrations; 12 maps

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W. W. Norton & Company

Ian W. Toll

Ian W. Toll

No of Pages
656
Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN-13
9780393343410
Awards
None
Book Format
Paperback
Published Date
Nov 26, 2012

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About Ian W. Toll

Ian W. Toll is a writer and independent scholar.  He is the author of three highly regarded works of American military history:  Six Frigates, Pacific Crucible, and The Conquering Tide.  The latter two titles are the first two volumes of a nonfiction trilogy about the Pacific War.  The third and concluding volume, Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945, will be published in 2018.​

Six Frigates was the 2007 recipient of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature, the William E. Colby Military Writers Award, and was placed on the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” list.  Pacific Crucible received the Northern California Book Award for Nonfiction in 2012. The Conquering Tide was a New York Times bestseller and was also selected for that newspaper's “Editor’s Choice” list.

Toll has been widely published in newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Naval History.  He is a regular reviewer for the New York Times Review of Books.  His books on the Pacific War have been translated into Japanese and published in that country by the publishing house Bungeishunjū, and are being translated into Chinese for publication in mainland China.  Toll has spoken at venues and institutions throughout the United States, including the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Naval Observatory (official residence of the vice president), the the U.S. Naval War College, and the U.S. Naval Academy.  Toll has also been interviewed on many national and local television and radio programs, including NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, WAMC’s Roundtable, CSPAN’s Book TV, and innumerable commercial radio programs throughout the U.S.A.  ​

Prior to beginning work on Six Frigates in 2002, Toll was a Wall Street analyst (1997-2001), a Federal Reserve financial analyst (1995-1997), and a political aide and speechwriter (1989-1993).​

Toll received an undergraduate degree (B.A.) in American History at Georgetown University (1989) and a Masters in Public Policy (M.P.P.) from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government (1995).  Toll and his family live in New York City.

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