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Gambit21

The Pacific Book List

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Let's consolidate recommendations here.

I myself need to brush up on Okinawa, so any recommendations in that regard appreciated.

 

Here are my 2 favorite

 

"Fire in the Sky" The Air War in the South Pacific -  by Eric Bergerud

https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Sky-Air-South-Pacific/dp/0813338697

 

If you want to know about aviation in the Pacific theater, the origins of the aircraft, their development, their

performance and efficacy, details about their operations and their relationship performance-wise to each other,

about the men who flew them and endless details about the air war in the South Pacific - this is the book.

Can't recommend this one enough.

 

I've read it through 3 times.

 

 

Guadalcanal by Richard B. Frank

http://guadalcanal, richard b frank

 

An account of the entire 6 month long campaign, including the day to day air action that happened over Henderson Field.

Best book I know of you want to understand the history of that campaign from both a purely naval and air war perspective.

 

Islands of Destiny - John Prados

The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

https://www.amazon.com/Islands-Destiny-Solomons-Campaign-Eclipse/dp/0451414829

 

This book is outstanding...a detailed account of the Solomons campaign from 1942 - 1945.

Very well written and researched.

 

Edited by Gambit21

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Second "Fire in the Sky" that's a great one, though I've only read it once to your three ;)

 

But Bergerud specifically focuses on land based operations, for good reason, so I would love some carrier oriented recommendations.

 

Great thread idea Gambit.

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A brief history of Midway is contained in this Osprey Publication. I learned perhaps more with this very thin volume than all of the previous large tomes on the subject. Dispels a great many myths from the battle in a very concise work.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1846035015/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473531862&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=osprey+midway&dpPl=1&dpID=51pTYgkRPgL&ref=plSrch

Edited by II/JG17_HerrMurf

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The First Team series by John B. Lundstrom. Best combat aviation books I have ever read. They are second to none.

 

Shattered Sword is also an excellent read and dispels many myths surrounding Midway. In Japan Mitsuo Fuchida's Midway book is known to be grossly inaccurate.

Edited by 9./JG52Gruber
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Well, I was just writing reviews but my damn net killed post again. So this time I can only drop links to the books which I consider pearls of my collection :

 

GUADALCANAL, Cactus Air Force contre Marine Impériale.

Volume 1 

Volume 2 

 

 

EAGLES Of The SOUTHERN SKY

 

Edited by =LD=Hiromachi
  • Upvote 1

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Here's another great one.  This time from the point of view of the Americans:  Air Combat at 20 Feet by Garrett Middlebrook

 

https://www.amazon.com/Air-Combat-At-20-Feet/dp/1418477893/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473657492&sr=8-1&keywords=air+combat+at+20

 

Middlebrook flew B-25 strafers and gives an accurate (and rather gore spattered) account of his time in New Guinea and the Southwest Pacific area.  Don't be put off by the truly "crap-tastic" cover artwork...

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The First Team series by John B. Lundstrom. Best combat aviation books I have ever read. They are second to none.

 

Shattered Sword is also an excellent read and dispels many myths surrounding Midway. In Japan Mitsuo Fuchida's Midway book is known to be grossly inaccurate.

 

Agree fully!

 

Allow me to add; "December 8, 1941", "Doomed at the start" and "Every day a nightmare", all 3 by William H. Bartsch.

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The First Team series by John B. Lundstrom. Best combat aviation books I have ever read. They are second to none.

 

Shattered Sword is also an excellent read and dispels many myths surrounding Midway. In Japan Mitsuo Fuchida's Midway book is known to be grossly inaccurate.

I agree Lundstrom's two volume work is outstanding. The pair is in my top ten of the over 400 air combat titles I own (not on a Kindle).

 

Lawrence J Hickey's  combat chronology in Warpath Across the Pacific: Illustrated History of the 345th Bombardment Group During World War II (2008 edition) is superb with a whole bunch of pictures I'd never seen...and some gorgeous full page artwork by Jack Fellows.

 

post-19230-0-16566600-1473728187_thumb.jpg

Edited by busdriver

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Here is a complete listing search of "World War, 1939-1945 Naval operations, American." on the WorldCat website.

 

This website lists books available at almost every library.

 

http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=su%3AWorld+War%2C+1939-1945+Naval+operations%2C+American.&fq=&dblist=638&qt=sort&se=yr&sd=desc&qt=sort_yr_desc

 

 

Nice, thanks.  Any you would recommend?

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I heartily recommend Shattered Sword, an excellent review of the Battle of Midway focusing on japanese accounts, with a strong depiction of IJN carrier ops and how they differed from USN methods. An excellent read.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Sword-Untold-Battle-Midway/dp/1574889249

 

+10 to "Shattered Sword", 2/3's of the way through it now. Learned so much. Love the nuts-and-bolts details of how the IJN functioned, not just in terms of flight operations (organization, coordination of searches/strikes), but also deck operations (how aircraft were fueled, armed, spotted, and launched). 

 

What books covers USN operations in such comparable detail?

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Here is my contribution.  Many if not all have been mentioned already.  With some comments by me for those who want a little synopsis.

 

1.  Shatter Sword, Parshall and Tully. Dispels much of the "Miracle" of Midway, though it still kinda was miraculous, you get to see why things went so well for the US.  One of the best parts is how they really examine the fundamental design choices and differences in not only how the combatants fought their mighty carriers, but operated them, controlled damage, and employed their embarked air wings.

 

2.  Carrier Strike, Eric Hammel.  Covers the Battle of Santa Cruz ido Guadalcanal which occurs after Midway, but does so in a very engaging way.  An incredibly personable read with lots of well described aerial engagements.  Battle of Santa Cruz was one of the last times Carriers engaged each other with any sort of parity, so the battle is basically a clean look at an even fight.  Very enlightening.

 

3.  Fire in the Sky.  Eric Bergrud.  A good broad brush treatment of the Air War in the SoPac, but with anecdotal input from actual aviators.  Does a very good job painting a picture of the war with just enough insight into the Environment, the men, and Machines.

 

4.  Samurai.  Saburo Sakai.  Original memoir on one of the most prolific and storied IJN aces of the war, and the survived, which is a major feat for any Japanese WWII aviator. A seminal read from the Japanese perspective, though told from the point of view of Sakai many years later.

 

5. Clash of Carriers. Barret Tillman.  More advanced in the Pacific timeline Tillman, a 1st rate aviation author tells the story of the Marianas Turkey shoot.  An incredible look at the MASSIVE fleets that the allies eventually employed to take the war to Japan afloat.

 

6.  The Jolly Rogers.  Tom Blackburn.  A look at the Air War in the Solomons as the F4U-1 makes its early appearance under the Author's command.  A really unique look at a Navy Fighter Squadron deployed ashore to participate in the grind of the Solomons.  Lots of action.  Of note the first 3rd of the book explains how the US Navy Concluded the Corsair wasn't suitable yet to deploy from carriers, so VF-17 was shipped to the Solomons.  Great section there as well on the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, one of the most interesting of the whole war in terms of the different services on both sides and their aircraft. 

 

7.  The Black Sheep.  Bruce Gamble.  A fantastically well researched treatment of one of the most IN-famous USMC fighter squadrons.  The original book Baa Baa Blacksheep by Boyington himself was rife with inaccuracies and poorly remembered facts, not to mention his own ego.

 

8.  Carrier Warfare in the Pacific:  An Oral History Collection.  A collection of stories from the entire War that covers just about every angle of the war from the US perspective.

 

9.  Bloody Shambles. Christopher Shores.  Vol I is the early drift to war and the Fall of Singapore.  Vol II is Defense of Sumatra and the Fall of Burma.  Not quite War in the south pacific, but a highly detailed look at how Japan Steam rolled EVERYONE from '41 to '42

 

10.  Fortress Rabaul.  Bruce Gamble.  The story of Rabaul from its early days of seeming invincibility to its eventual fall.  Gamble makes the subject VERY readable.  Rabaul was a target in the Pacific that garnered the same sort of reputation that Berlin, Schweinfurt, and Ploetsi did in Europe.  In 1942 it was viewed as an impenetrable bastion of Japanese Naval and Aerial might.

 

11.  The First Team VOL I & II.  John Lundstrom.  The DEFINITIVE series on the early war Navy and Marine fighter pilots from Pearl Harbor to, Midway in VOL I, and Cactus and Santa Cruz in VOL II.  HIGHLY detailed and researched.  If you read these two books cover to cover and comprehend them fully you will be halfway to a Masters in Military history with an emphasis on the Air War in South Pacific.  No kidding.


+10 to "Shattered Sword", 2/3's of the way through it now. Learned so much. Love the nuts-and-bolts details of how the IJN functioned, not just in terms of flight operations (organization, coordination of searches/strikes), but also deck operations (how aircraft were fueled, armed, spotted, and launched). 

 

What books covers USN operations in such comparable detail?

 

 

The First Team Vol I covers the pre-war up to Midway.  Vol II gets you to Guadalcanal and Santa Cruz. You get to see how the US Navy literally changed day to day based on lessons learned throughout the war.  Very detailed. 

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I've added "Islands of Destiny" to my first post.

 

Halfway through, and it's an EXCELLENT account of the Guadalcanal and Solomon's campaign from 1942-1944.

This book combined with "Guadalcanal" by R.B.Frank and you'll have an excellent handle on the Solomons and the turning point in the Pacific war.

 

I've since read "Shattered Sword" as well, which is, as other's have stated, an excellent account of Midway.

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James A Michener, Tales of the South Pacific. I read it while travelling through Thailand, Indo and Cambodia so maybe that's why I love it so much but it's full of weird and wonderful stories from the PTO in WW2, highly recommend it.

Link to the book on Amazon

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Not that I want to be accused of advertising without permission again, because its not my goal ... but since PTO is delayed until God knows when its a great time to slow down and look for a nice read.  I've just spotted that there is a new book coming by unknown to me previously author Ron Werneth, who managed to interview over 60 IJN aviation veterans, so its a rare pearl to be found. Book is titled "THE FALL OF THE JAPANESE EMPIRE: MEMORIES FROM THE AIR WAR 1942-1945", and is about to be published. There is a facebook page to which I'm leaving  a link below:


https://www.facebook.com/FalloftheJapaneseEmpire/


 


 


Sidenote: Could any of the moderators be so kind and move this thread to PTO section ? https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/forum/106-pacific-theater-discussion-and-assistance/


This thread has a number of books that anyone interested in PTO should look for, for now its buried deep in General Discussion and it would be a shame if it was lost again. 

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I don't know if it's in print, but John Toland's 'But Not in Shame' (1961) is an excellent read.  Plenty of big picture, but lots of personal stories and action as well.  I also have my dad's old paperback copy of Feis' 'The Road to Pearl Harbor' (1965), but I don't think I've ever read it.

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