With "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" and "Ship of Ghosts," James D. Hornfischer created essential and enduring narratives about America's World War II Navy, works of unique immediacy distinguished by rich portraits of ordinary men in extremis and exclusive new information. Now he does the same for the deadliest, most pivotal naval campaign of the Pacific war: Guadalcanal. "Neptune's Inferno" is at once the most epic and the most intimate account ever written of the contest for control of the seaways of the Solomon ...
With "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" and "Ship of Ghosts," James D. Hornfischer created essential and enduring narratives about America's World War II Navy, works of unique immediacy distinguished by rich portraits of ordinary men in extremis and exclusive new information. Now he does the same for the deadliest, most pivotal naval campaign of the Pacific war: Guadalcanal. "Neptune's Inferno" is at once the most epic and the most intimate account ever written of the contest for control of the seaways of the Solomon Islands, America's first concerted offensive against the Imperial Japanese juggernaut and the true turning point of the Pacific conflict. This grim, protracted campaign has long been heralded as a Marine victory. Now, with his powerful portrait of the Navy's sacrifice--three sailors died at sea for every man lost ashore--Hornfischer tells for the first time the full story of the men who fought in destroyers, cruisers, and battleships in the narrow, deadly waters of "Ironbottom Sound." Here, in brilliant cinematic detail, are the seven major naval actions that began in August of 1942, a time when the war seemed unwinnable and America fought on a shoestring, with the outcome always in doubt. But at Guadalcanal the U.S. proved it had the implacable will to match the Imperial war machine blow for violent blow. Working from new interviews with survivors, unpublished eyewitness accounts, and newly available documents, Hornfischer paints a vivid picture of the officers and enlisted men who took on the Japanese in America's hour of need: Vice Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, who took command of the faltering South Pacific Area from his aloof, overwhelmed predecessor and became a national hero; the brilliant Rear Admiral Norman Scott, who died even as he showed his command how to fight and win; Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan, the folksy and genteel "Uncle Dan," lost in the strobe-lit chaos of his burning flagship; Rear Admiral Willis Lee, who took vengeance two nights later in a legendary showdown with the Japanese battleship "Kirishima"; the five Sullivan brothers, all killed in the shocking destruction of the "Juneau"; and many others, all vividly brought to life. The first major work on this essential subject in almost two decades, "Neptune's Inferno" does what all great battle narratives do: It cuts through the smoke and fog to tell the gripping human stories behind the momentous events and critical decisions that altered the course of history and shaped so many lives. This is a thrilling achievement from a master historian at the very top of his game. "From the Hardcover edition."
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An outstanding read. Description of the naval
battles that surrounded the taking and holding
of Guadalcanal in a clarity I have not found before.
Aug 23, 2012
Focuses On the Naval Battles
Very good book on the naval battles that determined the fate of the Guadalcanal campaign. I have always found this campaign fascinating as the Japanese had success at night, inflicting heavy casualties on the US Navy. The US with its superior air power controlled the area during the day.
I also appreciate the fair handed manner used to evaluate Admiral Fletcher, who has became a scape goat in my opinion.
Mar 22, 2012
I could not put this book down. Much detail, easy read, and fun to read. Many facts new to me.
May 26, 2011
Good bk for anyone interested in this detail
I have an historical interest in the Battle for the Pacific, WWII, and enjoyed this book a lot. It corrects a substantial mis-perception about Guadalcanal. However, as a writer myself, I was frustrated by the lack of clarity in time-line and events, the constant blurring of detail about a major battle or ship being sunk or a seaman being injured, seeking help, putting himself out on morphine in the machine shop. I had to read it twice to get it all straight, making notes and going back and forth. Better writing and organization would have made it much more reader friendly.
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