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The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History) | [Craig L. Symonds]

The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History)

There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever. In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds, paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice.
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Publisher's Summary

There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk, and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever.

In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds, paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice. Symonds begins with the arrival of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese attack and describes the key events leading to the climactic battle, including both Coral Sea - the first battle in history against opposing carrier forces - and Jimmy Doolittle's daring raid of Tokyo. He focuses throughout on the people involved, offering telling portraits of Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, and numerous other Americans, as well as the leading Japanese figures, including the poker-loving Admiral Yamamoto. Indeed, Symonds sheds much light on the aspects of Japanese culture - such as their single-minded devotion to combat, which led to poorly armored planes and inadequate fire-safety measures on their ships - that contributed to their defeat.

The author's account of the battle itself is masterful, weaving together the many disparate threads of attack - attacks which failed in the early going - that ultimately created a five-minute window in which three of the four Japanese carriers were mortally wounded, changing the course of the Pacific war in an eye-blink.

Symonds is the first historian to argue that the victory at Midway was not simply a matter of luck, pointing out that Nimitz had equal forces, superior intelligence, and the element of surprise. Nimitz had a strong hand, Symonds concludes, and he rightly expected to win.

©2011 Craig L. Symonds (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (171 )
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  •  
    Jeremy NEW YORK, NY, United States 11-22-12
    Jeremy NEW YORK, NY, United States 11-22-12 Member Since 2010

    This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.

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    "A unique tale of tactical wars"

    Most history books talk about wars a lot, but they tend to focus on the strategic decisions, those big decisions that change the course of a war, like a major military offensive, the supply channels, the number of troops or equipment commandeered, etc.

    This book is very different in that it is about the tactical detail of one military operation. For this reason it is also unique and I recommend to anyone who is interested about how war really work, on the field. For example, the general story about Midway is that the Japanese did not know that the aircraft carriers would be there and were taken by surprise. But what does it mean to be taken by surprise? Didn't they have their own carriers (and more of them) if the US carriers were actually on site? The tactical side explains that a single bomb will sink a carrier and that, silly enough, the Japanese had indicated their position as a result of a ship chasing a US submarine, that they had sent many of their attack planes on a raid instead of against the US carriers, that they couldn't even locate the latter, and that they had armed their bombs up on the carrier making them even more vulnerable.

    These are just many things that emerge from the tactical analysis, but there is much more interesting tale about how specific individuals did affect the entire operation, another testimony to the importance of just one person for an entire war.








    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rex Rosetta, South Africa 07-10-12
    Rex Rosetta, South Africa 07-10-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Good read (listen) for history buffs"
    What made the experience of listening to The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History) the most enjoyable?

    This is a tale told over and over again. This version was told in a very fresh manner and I enjoyed the narration.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nimitz: did he have balls!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The absolute divine intervention of getting the right mix upstairs and on the deck.


    Any additional comments?

    I did not realise how badly the Hornet flyers actually did... I was not aware of the Flight to Nowhere

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Alpharetta, GA, United States 12-29-13
    Christine Alpharetta, GA, United States 12-29-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Spellbinding account."

    This was a wonderful book that described the battle both in terms of the action and also with insight into the influence of culture. The author sites many names of those who were heroic but not officers which keeps us attuned to the people who fought this battle as well as the officers and decision makers. The performance was excellent, this book kept us on the edge of our seats even knowing the ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 12-04-13
    Matthew 12-04-13
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    "You may knock US down, but you can't knock US out"
    Would you listen to The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History) again? Why?

    Absolutely. I had already planned on doing that when I was still listening. There is simply too much information to fully absorb at one time. I've studied Midway in the past and each time I learn more about how close we were to the edge, but how those who fought there never felt defeated.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not a character because this is non-fiction, but my most heroic person, individually, would be Lt. Commander John C. Waldron of VT-8. A real life leader and hero.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    None. This was a horrible, but necessary event in history.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes the story of all of the torpedo squadrons and their attacks, but in particular the attack by squadron eight (VT-8) from the U.S.S. Hornet; this piece of history get's me every time. Here were 15 aircraft each carrying three young men in the prime of life. They didn't want to be there and they didn't want to die. Despite that and knowing full well they were outgunned, without fighter air cover, without dive bomber help for a coordinated attack, and flying slow obsolete aircraft; they went in on their attack runs. They knew the odds were heavily against them, but they brought the planes down low, slow and straight and pressed forward their attack. Each in turn. And they were slaughtered. Only one man survived the attack and none of their torpedoes did any damage to the enemy ships. That is real honor and heroism; not that stuff the enemy was shoveling.


    Any additional comments?

    I actually liked the narrator. His voice, inflection and cadence were appropriate for the telling of this story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. 12-03-13
    S. 12-03-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Very good history -"

    This is a very good history - I think it is worth the time for anyone interested in WWII history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Palmyra, VA, United States 10-22-13
    William Palmyra, VA, United States 10-22-13 Member Since 2008
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    "good retelling of the tale"
    What did you love best about The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History)?

    corrections that were made due to new information


    What did you like best about this story?

    the reading kept moving


    Have you listened to any of James Lurie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    This time we get it right


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Hoeilaart, Belgium 10-14-13
    David Hoeilaart, Belgium 10-14-13 Member Since 2010
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    "A solid book to listen to..."

    The author writes the history in a very clear narrative style. The amount of background is sufficient, and introduced in the proper way. In the end he explains not only the Battle of Midway, but the thinking, strategies, limitations, and advantages that eventually led to the US victory at Midway and in the Pacific War.

    Mr Lurie has a smooth speaking style. He is the kind of narrator that makes you forget that he didn't actually write the book - he is only reading it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan McGrew Safford, AZ 05-09-13
    Dan McGrew Safford, AZ 05-09-13

    Military History and Archaeology

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    "Midway Revisited"
    What other book might you compare The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History) to and why?

    This is a good book that has some very interesting new information, that some of the other books on Midway don't have. There are also flaws in this book as well, such as the deployment of the F4F Wildcat in 1942, Wildcats were operational in Dec 1941, on Wake and Midway, the F2B Buffalos deployed to Midway late in May-June of 1942 were sold to the Dutch government for their use in their colonies but absorbed into the USMC after Java and other Dutch colonies fell to the Japanese.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by James Lurie?

    I would have to be very interested in the book to listen to him again, I almost returned the book but the story held my interest.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No but remembering the sacrifice of the Torpedo Squadrons and VMF 211 is a part of the battle that needs to be remembered


    Any additional comments?

    Despite its short comings this is a book worth reading or listening too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    don hickory creek, TX, United States 10-16-12
    don hickory creek, TX, United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Sorry, I can't stand listening to this guy."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A narrator that didn't sound condescending and half asleep. This is without doubt the most important battle of the Pacific, maybe of the entire 2nd World War and this narrator makes the listener go to sleep!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The history!! I am obsessed by the facts of history.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of James Lurie?

    Someone who wasn't so self absorbed in his own voice.


    What character would you cut from The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History)?

    Absolutely none.


    Any additional comments?

    I want to exchange this for another WWII history book til someone else is able to be the narrator.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 06-20-13
    Jim 06-20-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A text book"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    It reads too much like a text book. This is one of the greatest stories of the twentieth century reduced to facts, etc. This book is everything that turned me off about history before I discovered my love for it.


    What was most disappointing about Craig L. Symonds’s story?

    What story?


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He did the best he could with what he had.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    No reaction except joy as it finally concluded.


    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Mr. Trevor Lott
    Costa Blanca, Spain
    10/31/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A very accurate and exciting position of the facts"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If WW11 in the Pacific is of interest to you, then this will hit the spot.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    They all were, as without them working as a team together the complicated tactics deployed would of failed. Nimitz is the guy that stuck by the intelligence he was given and this proved the right thing to do.


    What about James Lurie’s performance did you like?

    Very punchy and convincing portrayal of the characters that made the Midway island so strategic to the success in the Pacific during WW11


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The USA's fight back to victory start's here.


    Any additional comments?

    Really entertaining, worth the purchase.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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