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Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

av John Prados

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1394196,266 (3.79)5
The Battle of Midway is traditionally held as the point when Allied forces gained advantage over the Japanese. In Islands of Destiny, acclaimed historian and military intelligence expert John Prados points out that the Japanese forces quickly regained strength after Midway and continued their assault undaunted. Taking this surprising fact as the start of his inquiry, he began to investigate how and when the Pacific tide turned in the Allies' favor. Using archives of WWII intelligence reports from both sides, Prados offers up a compelling reassessment of the true turning in the Pacific: not Midway, but the fight for the Solomon Islands. Combat in the Solomons saw a series of surface naval battles, including one of the key battleship-versus-battleship actions of the war; two major carrier actions; daily air duels, including the aerial ambush in which perished the famous Japanese naval commander Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku; and many other hair-raising exploits. Commencing with the Allied invasion of Guadalcanal, Prados shows how and why the Allies beat Japan on the sea, in the air, and in the jungles.… (mer)
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Useful to a reader already familiar with the campaign and interested in Japanese perspective contrasted with US perspective. Not a good overview for the casual reader, though. ( )
  liagiba | Dec 15, 2021 |
DNF at page 138

John Prados contends that the battle of Midway was NOT the turning point of the Pacific War. He points out that the "military balance still favored the Japanese", and during the campaign in the Solomons they "remained capable of giving as good as they got."

"In the Solomons the Imperial Navy inflicted eleven major warship (cruiser and above) losses and endured the sinking of nine of its own big ships. But from the end of this campaign until their surrender, the Japanese managed to sink just two major enemy warships while losing dozens of their own." (all quotes are from the Introduction)

I won't dispute his conclusion - it sounds reasonable enough to me - but I just don't find the book very interesting. He states that it is a "classic military history" and his focus is on the "big picture" rather than the individual element. This leaves it much less readable than [a:James Hornfischer's|3646|James D. Hornfischer|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1288960310p2/3646.jpg] excellent history of [b:Guadalcanal|18424360|Neptune's Inferno|James D. Hornfischer|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1410139218s/18424360.jpg|13444597] or [a:Ian Toll's|21986|Ian W. Toll|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1302123763p2/21986.jpg] Pacific War Series. (That was a disappointment to me, since my own grandfather fought at Guadalcanal with the Marine's [b:"Old Breed"|222691|With the Old Breed|Eugene B. Sledge|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1441045930s/222691.jpg|757389] division.) A couple of things that were nice were the inclusion of a little more information about the coast-watchers and code-breakers, as well as a lot more information from the Japanese perspective. Unfortunately, the Japanese perspective was too often mixed with the American side of the war and I often found it confusing who he was talking about and spent too much time re-reading. (Plus, he often uses the term "tin can" to refer to Japanese destroyers. I may be wrong, but I thought the term [b:"tin can"|5400|The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour|James D. Hornfischer|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388202712s/5400.jpg|134539] was specific to the lighter and cheaper destroyer escorts the US began producing in quantity by the middle of the war.) Overall, it's probably a good book if you enjoy the "classic military history," but absent the human element I just couldn't stay interested enough.
  J.Green | Mar 15, 2019 |
Excellent portrayal of the intense and crucial campaign for many small and obscure Pacific Islands with one great redeeming quality; they could become air bases. Air, sea and land battles, small and large occurred almost daily as Japanese strength and initiative waxed strongly then dramatically waned under the growing Allied initiatives. Much pertinent and interesting detail, particularly in the intelligence gathering , analysis and utilization which provided the Allies with a significant advantage during these early and awkward days after Midway. Narrated well by Richard Ferrone. ( )
  jamespurcell | May 3, 2016 |
I will start by saying that, though I heartily agree with Prados' thesis that the Pacific War turning point was in the Solomons Campaign, I was initially unimpressed with the book. It seemed in bad need of an editor. Prados can have a stilted, choppy writing style that is difficult to read. He also used incorrect terminology (it's F6F and F4F, not F-6F or F-4F) and flat out derogatory terms (an author using "Jap" when they are quoting a contemporary source is completely acceptable, using it while writing in their own voice is completely unacceptable.) He also referred to Guadalcanal as "Cactus" throughout the book, even when discussing Japanese (not Jap) planning in reference to it. It was confusing and bizarre considering that was the U.S. codename for Guadalcanal. Last he also made some pretty obvious historical errors (he refers to Gen. Lawton Collins as the commander of the Americal Division multiple times throughout a multi-paragraph stretch. Collins was the commander of the 25th Division not the Americal, something Prados should have known.) I was surprised at the number of faults I found considering Prados' impressive reputation as a historian. In defense of the book I will say it covers some interesting and new, for me, ground by integrating intelligence into the campaign. However, what really saved the book for me was the final chapter. There Prados does an excellent job of explaining how the Japanese (not Jap) conflict between decisive battle strategy and attrition battle operations really hurt them. That alone made the book worthwhile. I would suggest picking it up in the library and just reading that last chapter. If you want good books on the Guadalcanal and Solomons campaign I recommend Richard Frank's Guadalcanal and the relevant volumes from Samuel Eliot Morison's History. ( )
  mburdette | Jan 5, 2015 |
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The Battle of Midway is traditionally held as the point when Allied forces gained advantage over the Japanese. In Islands of Destiny, acclaimed historian and military intelligence expert John Prados points out that the Japanese forces quickly regained strength after Midway and continued their assault undaunted. Taking this surprising fact as the start of his inquiry, he began to investigate how and when the Pacific tide turned in the Allies' favor. Using archives of WWII intelligence reports from both sides, Prados offers up a compelling reassessment of the true turning in the Pacific: not Midway, but the fight for the Solomon Islands. Combat in the Solomons saw a series of surface naval battles, including one of the key battleship-versus-battleship actions of the war; two major carrier actions; daily air duels, including the aerial ambush in which perished the famous Japanese naval commander Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku; and many other hair-raising exploits. Commencing with the Allied invasion of Guadalcanal, Prados shows how and why the Allies beat Japan on the sea, in the air, and in the jungles.

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