Audie Award Nominee, History, 2013
The planning, the strategy, the sacrifices and heroics - on both sides - illuminating the greatest naval war in history. On the first Sunday in December 1941, an armada of Japanese warplanes appeared suddenly over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Six months later, in a sea fight north of the tiny atoll of Midway, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sent into the abyss.
Pacific Crucible tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history and seized the strategic initiative. Ian W. Toll's dramatic narrative encompasses both the high command and the "sailor's-eye" view from the lower deck. Relying predominantly on eyewitness accounts and primary sources, Pacific Crucible also spotlights recent scholarship that has revised our understanding of the conflict, including the Japanese decision to provoke a war that few in the country's highest circles thought they could win. The result is a pause-resistant history that does justice to the breadth and depth of a tremendous subject.
©2011 Ian W. Toll (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
“An entertaining, impressively researched chronicle of the tense period between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and American victory at the battle of Midway....Toll gives everyone involved in the conflict a chance to speak, bringing readers into the command centers and cockpits to reveal the humanity of combatants on both sides of the Pacific.” (Kirkus)
“Revealing and poignant, Toll’s latest deftly navigates the rough waters of the Pacific struggle with flying colors.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Narrator Grover Gardner gives an applaudable narration of this detailed history of the Pacific Theater in WWII…Gardner presents the many historical details in this work with an easygoing pace and precise enunciation that quickly draw in the listener and never let go. Rather than affecting an accent for quotations, he adjusts his inflection slightly, which works well. Novices and history buffs will find this performance a treat and want to hear the continuation of the story.” (AudioFile)
I thought Tull's "Six Frigates" was just of average interest, but "Pacific Crucible" is leaps and bounds beyond that. It's just the kind of narrative history I love: the writer is willing to take time to explore the background and side stories at length without losing the momentum of the story. Tull takes the time to show how the American and Japanese navies came to be shaped and then demonstrates throughout his account of the clashes, beginning with Pearl Harbor and ending with Midway, between them. Like Max Hastings, Tull is adept at interweaving personal accounts with the larger historical view. To me, the ultimate test of an audiobook is whether I'm tempted away to listen to other things: in this case, I was held for over twenty hours without ever once experiencing that temptation. A terrific listen!
I have been reading about World War II for many years, but most of the books I have read cover the war in the European area – North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Poland and Russia. While I have read some books about the war in the Pacific (Stillwell and the American Experience in China, John Keegan’s World War II, Mitsuo Fuchitda’s Midway and some others) none have given a really good view of the war in the entire Pacific area. I bought this book thinking it might fill in some big holes in my knowledge and I was not disappointed.
While the book is concerned mainly about the first year or so of the Pacific war it actually begins with the history of the lead up to War War II starting with the period of the Russo-Japanese war and discusses, in some detail, the political movements in Japan during the period of 1920 through 1941. It provides a great deal of background by discussing events from both the American and Japanese view points and is very helpful in explaining how the Japanese military gained control over the civilian governments during this period and thus paved the way for the war with the US. Indeed one of the things that sets this book apart from others that I have read is that it provides an enormous amount of insight into what the Japanese thinking was both prior to and during the war and there is a great deal of information about things I never knew – the conflict between Japan’s Battleship and Aircraft Carrier officers, the strenuous efforts made by the Treaty Admirals in Japan to prevent war with the US, the reason for some of Japan’s tactical decisions during the conflict and the story (in detail) about the American breaking of some of the Japanese codes. While I thought I knew about the code breaking effort I realized, from this book, how little I knew of how it was done and what happened to the code breaking unit (and to Lt Cmdr Joseph Rochefort) before and after the battle. In addition the book is read by Grover Gardner who does a masterful job of narration. The book is so interesting and so well read that I found myself reluctant to stop listening.
This book is, in my estimate, one of the finest books covering the war that I have read. My only real complaint is that it covers the war only up to the Battle of Midway and I would buy any sequel covering the rest of the war in a heartbeat if it was available. I highly recommend this book if you have any interest in either the history leading up to the start of World War II in the Pacific or the events during the first year of the war.
This book is a marvelous read and the narrator presents well. This is the second book I've listened to by Toll, the first being Six Frigates. Both have been a pleasure to listen to.This is a narrative version of the history of events in the Pacific theater from Tsushima in '05 to Midway in '42.
The story addresses the increase in Japan's Pacific influence, the reasons for the decisions made by Japan and other major countries to move as they did. Major events like Pearl Harbor and the battle of the Coral Sea are covered in fine detail. Many major players are described in detail as well: Nimitz, Yamamoto, Emperor Hirohito, Roosevelt, King, Rochefort, et al. Toll also presents their motivations for consideration insofar as history allows.
All-in-all this is a very well presented story of an important part of the tumultuous first half of the 20th century. Two thumbs way up.Some have complained in these comments about the abrupt ending after Midway. I found the author did a good job of finishing the description of that momentous battle and wrapping up the work. Yet there was much that occurred in the Pacific theater over the next 3 years of the 2nd World War. Maybe Toll is working on his sequel?
I only have the audio edition.
Toll goes into detail on the initial carrier raids of the Marshall Islands. This chapter of the conflict is little known and Toll not only explains the motivations behind the attacks but also how the attacks affected the Japanese High Command.
They were all equally good as Gardner sticks to narrating the story instead of trying to guess how a particular character would have sounded.
Yes. The dedication of the Pearl Harbor cryptanalyst went unnoticed by many at the time. The jealousy of stateside intelligence toward Captain Joseph Rochefort. Most of the cryptanalyst were working for days at a time without rest and only kept awake and alert by the liberal use of amphetamines and coffee.
The book is excellent. Toll brings us up to the attack on Pearl Harbor with insightful history of the dealings between Japan and the US from the beginning of the century that give an understanding on how and why such an event took place. Toll then gives a brief description of the already well known attack on Pearl Harbor and then goes into detail of the events and battles which led up to and including Midway. What makes the narrative even better is Grover Gardner. I first listened to Gardner in Shelby Foote's massive The Civil War and never grew tired of his narrative. The same can be said of Gardner's performance with this book. He doesn't try to add accents and the reading is smooth and intelligible throughout.
The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity. --Robert Anthony Contentment is, after all, simply refined indolence. --Thomas C.
I downloaded it because it had Grover Gardener as the narrator & it was a WWII history book – two of my favorite things! Turns out it was so engrossing, it was very hard to put down and hit the pause button. It gave some great new insight into the period from Pearl Harbor to Midway, and I was pretty bummed out when it ended.
The background given to each of the Admirals (King, Nimitz, and the others) really brings them to life. In addition, I found the narrative he weaves of the events leading up the Midway and the days of the battle very well done. As usual, Gardener does an extraordinary job of making you feel like he is sitting right there, bringing a story to life and illuminating the text for you. It's very hard to listen to an audiobook by any other narrator once you've just finished a Gardener book.
WWII histories are among my favorites, but this one really brought everything to life in a way that not many actually do.
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.
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 am the most amazing version of myself that I have ever met.
Pacific Crucible is a wonderful blend of history and personal accounts. Although the book is obviously factual, it provides the types of interesting details into certain people's lives that made it feel like a story.
Do realize, however, that the book details Pearl Harbor through Midway Island only, and does not go further into the Pacific conflict. That should not stop you though. The book provides great detail into the main battles, and main commanders of the Pacific front during this time of the war.
I have listened to quite a few books on this period, and have quickly become a fan of Toll and his works. I highly recommend this book.
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.
I rank this book highly
The sinking of the aircraft carrier Lexington
Gardner dramatizes some of the dry biographical sections
no extreme reaction
this is a good introduction to the events around Midway Isl in June 1942
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