Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tsundoku Tuesday - Pacific War Trilogy

 As a meta intro, the thought of using a Japanese word to begin a book review gave me a bit of a Bud Light induced chuckle. 

A bit of backstory:

Georgia Southern University, 2009

Our protagonist was in a bit of a bind. He had drawn a pretty good topic for his term paper in Early U.S. History, 1787 to 1830; HIST 2500 class. In fact, his topic was so easy as to lead to a bit of complacency. You, see our protagonist, spent four years of high school in NJROTC. And was a bit of a history nerd. So the topic " The Continental Navy and the early U.S. Navy" seemed like a piece of cake. Which was good because our protagonist was very busy with sorority girls and cheap beer. 

And then the next thing you know, it is 2045 on the night before the paper is do. The library is closed. But the local Barnes and Noble says they have a copy of "Six Frigates" in stock. And with a bit of creative sourcing, our hero is able to finish his paper, secure a B in the course, and have a lot of fun at the AOII Christmas party. 

*Insert picture her of me with a cardigan sweater and reindeer antlers on here*

So, ever since then I've really liked Ian Toll. 

He has recently finished the last book of his "Pacific Trilogy" concerning the war between the USA and Empire of Japan from 1941 to 1945. I've become a big fan here lately of the historical view that the Pacific War was damn near separate from WWII in Europe. Mister Toll is also a big proponent of that view.

The first book in his series is entitled "Pacific Crucible" and covers then period of 8 Dec 1941 until the Battle of Midway. And is very well done. I have a few minor quibbles in regards to how he formats some rank abbreviations and squadron designations. Also, I'm that guy. I like footnotes on the page where they are cited. So I can highlight then and there without having to refer to the index or bibliography. 

And the War in the Pacific has been rehashed a hundred different times. Mister Toll is very concise but doesn't really present anything new or Earth shattering. 

That being said; I still whole heartedly recommend his trilogy because of one cogent point.

He is rightfully appreciative and does his level best to give generous and due credit to the pre-war regulars. Both officers and enlisted. He gives them the credit for winning the war. Which they so rightfully deserve and are so often neglected for. The war began in earnest on 8 Dec 1941. We won it on 6 Jun 1942. The IJN just didn't realize it yet.

And the guys that held the line and won the war were all pre-war regulars, for good or ill. And they did their jobs. And did them well in spite of obsolete equipment and horrendous pay.

Ian Toll finally gives them their due. Can't recommend his books enough.


  1. Hey Mack

    I am reading some books involving the Cypher wars in the Pacific and Joe Rochefort after performing his miracle at Midway got hosed by politics and Admiral Redman and OP-20-G.

  2. I think Ian Toll did great work in covering the USN actions in the period leading up to Coral Sea and Midway.

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