Surigao Strait in the Philippine Islands was the scene of a major battleship duel during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Because the battle was fought at night and had few survivors on the Japanese side, the events of that naval engagement have been passed down in garbled accounts.
Anthony P. Tully pulls together all of the existing documentary material, including newly discovered accounts and a careful analysis of U.S. Navy action reports, to create a new and more detailed description of the action. In several respects, Tully's narrative differs radically from the received versions and represents an important historical corrective.
The book is published by the Indiana University Press.
©2009 Anthony B. Tully (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks
"This book is worth buying by serious students of the Pacific War." (The Journal of Naval History)
"The skillful incorporation of personal testimony from those involved is what really elevates this work above run-of-the-mill naval history and turns it into something special." (Warship)
The Battle of Surigao Strait was in many ways as confusing as the battle of Taffy 3. Mr. Tully did a masterful job in pulling all the disparate portions and records together to weave a coherent tale. My main problem was that Mr. Roelofs was obviously reading many of the names and locales phonetically and in many cases unless one speaks Japanese, it was difficult to keep all of the IJN players straight. Keeping all of the USN players straight was hard enough with all of the battleships and heavy cruisers playing chicken towards the end of the battle. I believe that part of the problem is that the IJN players like Kurita are familiar to American readers, but that the IJN officers at Surigao Strait aren't because they died there for the most part. Most of the senior officers I knew from previous books, but many of the ships' captains and officers were oft time difficult to keep straight with their ships.
The IJN run up the Straight is familiar to anyone who has watched "In Harm's Way", as James Bassett took this battle and mixed it with Taffy 3 in his book, "Harm's Way", on which the movie is based. While I could picture the essential maneuvers of the IJN run, it did get a bit confusing keeping the different heavy cruisers separate at times, and I'd have to back up the narration just to confirm which ship was which. But - the historic tale of the classic 'crossing of the T' at Suriagao Strait obviously does not stand up to scrutiny based on Mr. Tully's research. Oldendorf's reputation was largely made upon the picture of USN battleships steaming blissfully across the bows of IJN battleships in the dark while sending said IJN battleships to the bottom of Surigao Strait.
The phonetic pronunciations such as; "Lay-Tee", did get a bit tedious, Mr. Roelofs did a yeoman's job at narrating the book and has a wonderful voice to listen to. It seemed that he didn't understand what he was reading. He was reading the book without telling the story.
I would rate this book as average among the many WWII naval books I have read. It is more an academic work than a book one would read for pleasure.
I would only recommend this book to someone who had a strong interest in naval history and was comfortable reading a very factual, detailed, and analytical text. I would recommend it in book form as the narrator for this production is the worse I have ever experienced in all the Audible books I have listen to!
Roelofs is the worse narrator I have ever experienced in all my years of listening to Audible books. He sounds as if he is reading words, not sentences or a story. He must have been uncomfortable with the Japanese names as you notice a pause before he pronounces each name. It seems as if he mispronounced "Leyte Gulf" and they had to go back in an redo the pronunciation. He also does not know how to say military time as he calls 2000 "two thousand" instead of "20 hundred." If it were not for the fact that I had an interest in the battle, I would have stopped listening to this book before the end of the first chapter!
No. Too detailed and academic. Plus the narration is so poor it makes listening painful.
Unless you're already familiar with this sea battle and the geography of the area, you're going to find this a very hard account to follow.
The accounts of the sea battles and the incredible bravery of the Japanese sailors in the face of overwhelming odds was really admirable. The book's primary focus is on the actions of the Japanese fleet.
Where to begin? If I hear Lay-TEE gulf one more time, I'll scream! It would be nice if some narrators with military experience could be found; some of us actually can read. The one example that comes to mind is where the book mentions headings as (for example) 030T and the narrator says 030-TEE rather than 030 True. There are other similar things, but the basic point is he was reading the words, but I don't think he knew what they meant.
It would be a very interesting documentary. The audio book would GREATLY benefit from a pdf of maps to help the listener visualize the account. I was able to find a couple of maps on line that helped a little, but having at least one map per chapter would have helped immensely.
You should probably consider getting the book in addition to the audio ASSUMING the book includes maps. You'll get much more out of the account IF that's the case.
The book was excellent for those with an 'intermediate' level interest in naval history. Narrator's voice is fine, but mispronounced Japanese words and place names are frequent.
I think the story would have been more easily followed in written book format. There were too many characters and locations to follow in audio format. Unfortunately, the number of characters and locations was probably at least doubled and possibly tripled by the narrator's constant mispronunciation of every single non-English word, frequently changing his mispronunciations enough that it isn't always clear if it is a new character or once again, another mispronunciation of an existing character.
Gary Roelofs is the worst narrator I've ever heard. I will make it a point to never buy another book he narrates.
The author becomes so involved in Japanese names, ship and persons as to confuse the knowledgable reader. He is so involved in his knowledge of names of the Japanese he appears to lose track of a historical information. Save your time and energy. I had family I this battle so a real interest. This book bored me!
MSU Spartan, avid birdwatcher, tin can sailor, but mostly immobile now. I love Audible!
Book has many pieces of data I haven't heard before. Very interesting.
Yes! Unfortunately, Mr. Roelofs is NOT qualified to narrate this book. Pronunciations are execrable - forecastle instead of foc'sl, for instance - and names and places are awful. Would it be too much to find pronunciation of important geographic names? Or how to read a compass heading? Or "naval time" conventions?
Barely, but the narration almost makes the answer to this question "NO".
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