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Om författaren

Verk av W. G. Winslow


Allmänna fakta

Vedertaget namn
Winslow, W. G.
Namn enligt folkbokföringen
Winslow, Walter G.
Catain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)



This is a book I have read several times over the years since 1987, and it is histories such as this one that inspired me to join the Navy. Published in 1982, "The Fleet the Gods Forgot" is a classic World War II history written by a participant, retired U.S. Navy Captain Walter G. Winslow, whose last duty station before becoming a POW was aboard the fabled and doomed heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30). This book is an expansion of the work the author started in his earlier work "The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast" that goes into far more detail about the cruiser. In this volume, however, Winslow expands his unique view to the entire U.S. Asiatic Fleet during the first four months of the Pacific War, a period that had received short shrift from historians prior to the 1980's.

Winslow presents his readers with the usual forward and acknowledgement pages, then splits the 327 page book into two parts. The much shorter 82 page Part I is divided into eight chapters led by the first that provides a profile of the Asiatic Fleet as a whole. Each of the subsequent chapters in Part I is dedicated to the operations of a particular combatant type (cruiser, submarine, destroyer, etc.) and finishes this part with the telling of the operations of Motor Torpedo Squadron Three, a tale that Hollywood followed quite closely in director John Ford's "They Were Expendable".

Part II of this volume is titled "Battle Reports" and constitutes chapters 9 through 24. Each chapter is a standalone account of individual sailors, ships, and aircraft and is told much like a sailor's sea story. Winslow then delivers a brief epilogue, a listing of the units and ships of the Asiatic Fleet along with their commanding officers as of 8 December 1941, some pages with notes about each chapter, a bibliography, and an index.

When I called this book a classic World War II history, that is a description I apply to histories that are dependent almost totally on U.S. sources, although Winslow notes that Japanese source documents helped resolve the mysteries of the disappearances of some Asiatic Fleet units such as USS Edsall (DD-219) and USS Asheville (PG-21). There is nothing wrong with these kinds of books--even contemporary works that encompassed some Japanese source material (such as Prange's "At Dawn We Slept") have their issues as well. One has to look to the late 20th and early 21st century for breakthrough accounts of World War II batttles that have been able to include the kinds of information that have been made available only through the miracle of the Information Age. Books such as this are still informative and entertaining--Winslow's writing style makes for easy reading, and the pages slip by fast, especially in Part II. This volume does not suffer from intellectual rigor either, as the author acknowledges in his notes pages. The only real shortcoming is the relative lack of Japanese source material that provide that "other side of the hill" perspecitve, which is important when speaking about battles. The wuhtor himself states in his notes pages that many damage claims by Allied combatants in official reports were dubious; however, this history stands as a memorial to the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, and it stands well. It would not do to have such a heroic struggle depicted as wasted effort, especially by an author who participated in the struggle. Leave that unsavory task to later historians who are emotionally detached from the histories they write.

Just enjoy this read for what it is--a tale of heroism and sacrifice told by one who did both.
… (mer)
Adakian | Sep 1, 2021 |
The story of the outdated heavy cruiser USS Houston who started the war in the south Pacific and ended up facing a modern, overwhelming Japanese fleet on several occasions. The story covers the ship from the onset of hostilities until her sinking at the Sunda Straight during the invasion of Java by the Japanese with many personal experiences of the survivors. A good, interesting story.
dswaddell | Jul 7, 2020 |



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