Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
Toll's research is impressive and he writes superbly. What's more, Grover Gardner delivers the book with his usual precise craft, and I could happily have listened for far more than the 22 hours it took to take us from the approaches to Pearl Harbor to the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Midway. In fact, I wanted to since I was somewhat disappointed to find that, while the title promises "1941-1942," the account actually only covers the first six months of the Pacific naval war. Thus it wraps up months before the vital actions surrounding the holding of Guadalcanal. I would gladly have exchanged the prolonged biographical material on political and military leaders on both sides of the conflict, for more detailed accounts of the naval struggles at the Santa Cruz Islands and Iron Bottom Sound.
Still, it is probably churlish to complain that a terrific writer has not aligned his focus with your particular predilections. This is a very well written piece of history, and anyone interested in the rest of 1942 will find an extremely fine account in "Neptune's Inferno" by James D. Hornfischer.
This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.
A good history book gives you the facts and weaves them into a consistent sustained narrative. A great history book catches the human element that pushes history forward. Pacific Crucible is a good history book. It is well-documented, well-paced and never boring but, unfortunately, is somewhat complacent in big picture grand strategic facts over the actual human experience of the war, who the people that fought were and why they chose to do what they did.
If one is to pick up a first book on this issue, I much strongly recommend "the Battle of Midway" by Craig Symonds, a far superior account on all fronts which, contrary to what one may suspect, is not solely about Midway but covers mostly the same period. Unlike Pacific Crucible, Symonds' text provides a much more fleshed out account of the human mistakes made on both sides and of the pilots and of the generals. It also avoids the pitfalls of heavily documenting the life of generals that were far from the fronts and whose role in 41-42 might have been real but is tactically far from obvious.
Readable, but a disappointment.
Good details well spoken. Facts meshed with other books I've read, including a raid by Japanese raiders in responce to an earlier raid by USAAF to their island. The discriptions where fasinating because they where from two different people, at different places on the same Island. Alot of the damages where discribed from different points of view but the damage and intensity were so similar you could tell it was the same raid being discribed in two seperate books. One man was on the earlier raid and realized what it must have been like on the ground in his raid. The other was surprized at the tacticts of low repeated passes at night with much better affect then the higher altitude run he had been on, even tho his raid was very sucussful it took many more bombers, and in day light, which made his raid far more dangerous by Zeros and AA fire. Tonights raid, the enemy was almost invisable because you could only see them on their pass, hear them after that. hard to fire on sounds only. The book has a lot of back round information to the historical facts as I know them. A good insiders look at the beginnings of the Pacific War.
I can't pick a scene. The book covers so many aspects of that time period. The the whole coming and going on raids was more physical action then other parts but the whole Crucible is the point. So putting in contect everything going on and how many, indivigual stories you'll nerver hear. Is always in your mind. So many many people in the entire theater makes you realize why it's the Pacific Crucible
No, I like to strech it out over a couple nights. Something to look forward to.
No B.S. reviews. I'll never soft-pedal bad writing or inept narration.
A remarkable book, and a terrific listen! A tour de force for Ian W. Toll—and Grover Gardner's narration is FLAWLESS!
I've listened to nearly 200 audiobooks from Audible—fiction, history, science, classic, and comedy—and this is easily one of the best in any category.
With such lucid, visual, and insightful writing, it's no surprise that the characters, events, and images are all vividly fixed in my mind. This is the audio equivalent of a page turner.
After being so disgusted by James Lurie's narration of the audiobook "The Battle of Midway" that I actually returned it unfinished (Thank you, Audible, for making this possible!) I purchased "Pacific Crucible" in the hope of learning more about this historic battle. And I was not disappointed. This book is great! It gives crucial background and insights into the people, the times, and the cultural and political forces leading up to Pearl Harbor, on through the battle of the Coral Sea, and finally culminating in the battle of Midway. The author brings in all the essential points of view throughout—human, technical, tactical, and historical, and he does it seamlessly. A masterful piece of writing. The pacing and level of detail is perfect. I will look for more books by Ian W. Toll.
In "Pacific Crucible," Grover Gardner (already one of my favorite narrators) is absolutely suburb. It's obvious that he understands every bit of what he's reading BEFORE the words pass his lips. His phrasing is so consistently perfect that every sentence is clear, with exactly the emotion and expression the author intended. I don't believe I've ever heard a better narration of any audiobook. Plus, the equalization and recording is beautifully done, so there's no listening fatigue, even after 22 hours. I've been tempted to say that Simon Vance is the best narrator I know of, but this performance by Grover Gardner puts him in the same league. Just stupendous.
I know you will enjoy "Pacific Crucible."
PC delved into the personalities, both American and Japanese, that were part of this struggle. The writing was also compelling - reminding me of John Toland's "But Not In Shame". Total masterpiece.
all of them
This is the first perforance by Grover.
HOw can anyone read about the lead up and Battle of Midway without being moved and realizing that our military was a reflection of our culture and how important that is in allowing us to make the right choices.
I love your tiny little planet. I think I'll take it.
The depth of the story and information included. I also liked that the story was told from both sides, going into great detail about Japanese and American crewmen, captains and admirals.
I agree with another reviewer who stated that Ian Toll's earlier book, Six Frigates, was interesting, but that Pacific Crucible is amazingly good. I have read widely on the naval war in the Pacific and would rank this as one of the very best books on the topic ever. It is wonderfully researched, capturing both the historical influences affecting the decisions of the navies on both sides, as well as the lived experiences of the participants. Toll begins the work with an analysis of the impact of Captain Mahan's book, "The Influence of Sea Power on History". Also fascinating were his chapter on the cultural and ideological developments in Japan prior to the war, and his psychological portraits of Yamamoto and of Nimitz (each of whom deserves a full biography). I am not a fan of Grover Gardner generally, but he did an excellent job here.
My only complaint is an out-of-key note in the epilogue, where Toll uncritically cites a comment from Robert Sherwood, the playwright turned FDR speech writer, that World War II was widely unpopular with the US public. This is an extra-ordinary claim not borne out by the historical record, at least on its surface, made by a person promoting the reputation of FDR as the figure who held us all together. To accept such a statement without further research into its historical accuracy was a slip, in my opinion. It's the small portion that makes the whole work 99 and 44/100% excellent.
If you enjoy the naval histories of James Hornfischer, you'll love Pacific Crucible. It is a great book.
Say something about yourself!
This is a great book. I knew little about the history of the Pacific Theater in World War Two and this is an excellent introduction. The author very skillfully weaves together the larger history of both sides with individual stories. The narrator is great. The battle scenes are riveting, as was the account of the initial bombing of Tokyo. This one was hard to put down.
I would recommend this book to a friend. Another good story about WWII. If you are interested in the war in the Pacific buy this book you won't be disappointed.
I really enjoyed this book and was disappointed when it came to an end after the battle of Midway. I would have listened to hours more if it covered more of the war and will probably listen to this again.
I was intrigued by the disparity between what actually happened and what knowledge the Japanese actually acted on after the Battle of the Coral Sea and how that played into an under estimation of the US ability leading up to the Battle of Midway. In addition, the ability of the US to break the Japanese codes and how that turned the tides in the US favor was very interesting. I didn't realize that the unsung heros of the Battle of Midway were the code breakers that set up the US forces to accomplish what they did.
Honestly, I don't usually take the time to read books right now, but I have plenty of time during commutes to listen to books. This story did not require acting or presenting various dialects. It required a serious tone as it was a serious set of circumstances. In that endeavor, this was a perfect presentation by the reader.