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Eagle against the Sun (1985)

por Ronald H. Spector

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This text reassesses U.S. and Japanese strategy and offers interpretations of the Pacific War.
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One volume history of WW2 in the Pacific draws on declassified intelligence files; British, American, and Japanese archival material; and military memoirs. Reassesses US and Japanese strategy and shows that the dual advance across the Pacific by MacArthur and Nimitz was more a pragmatic solution to bureaucratic, doctrinal, and public relations problems facing the Army and Navy than a strategic calculation. He also argues that Japan made its fatal error not in the Midway campaign but in abandoning its offensive strategy after that defeat and allowing itself to be drawn into a war of attrition.
Spector skillfully takes us from top-secret strategy meetings in Washington, London, and Tokyo to distant beaches and remote Asian jungles with battle-weary GIs. He reveals that the US had secret plans to wage unrestricted submarine warfare against Japan months before Pearl Harbor and shows that MacArthur and his commanders ignored important intercepts of Japanese messages that would have saved thousands of lives in Papua and Leyte. Throughout, Spector contends that American decisions in the Pacific War were shaped more often by the struggles between the British and the Americans, and between the Army and the Navy, than by strategic considerations. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Eagle-Against-the-Sun/Ronald-H-Spector/97...

Spector vividly recreates the major battles, little-known campaigns, and unfamiliar events leading up to the deadliest air raid ever, adding a new dimension to our understanding of the American war in the Pacific and the people and forces that determined its outcome.
A historian at the Army Center for Military History, Spector concentrates on the problem of command in the Southern Pacific theaters, the rivalries between the various U.S. armed services and the problem of allocating resources. PW praised his ability to ""show how even the most efficiently run campaigns unfold against a background of violent dispute.'' https://www.publishersweekly.com/9780394741017
  MasseyLibrary | Feb 21, 2024 |
I think this is the best one-volume on the Pacific War that I have ever read. Wonderful Folio Society edition.

There were a few repetitive moments between chapters when the same factoid was presented or same transition repeated between events, but overall a great read - tore through it over a holiday weekend. ( )
  kcshankd | Dec 30, 2020 |
In the 1960s Macmillan began publishing a series entitled "The Macmillan Wars of the United States." Written by some of the nation's leading military historians, its volumes offered surveys of the various conflicts America had fought over the centuries, the strategies employed, and the services which fought them. Ultimately fourteen volumes were published over two decades, with many of them still serving as excellent accounts of their respective subjects.

As the last book published in the series, Ronald Spector's contribution to it serves as a sort of capstone to its incomplete efforts. In it he provides an account of the battles and campaigns waged by the United States against Japan in the Second World War, from the prewar planning and the assumptions held in the approach to war to the deployment of the atomic bombs that ended it. In between the covers all of the major naval battles and island-hopping campaigns in the Pacific, as well as America's military efforts in the China-Burma-India theater. He rounds out his coverage with chapters discussing both the social composition of the forces America deployed and the complex intelligence operations against the Japanese, ones that extended beyond the now-famous codebreaking efforts that proved so valuable.

Though dated in a few respects, overall Spector's book serves as a solid single-volume survey of the war waged by the United States against Japan. By covering the efforts against the Japanese in mainland Asia, he incorporates an important aspect of the war too often overlooked or glossed over in histories of America's military effort against the Japanese, one that often influenced developments elsewhere in the theater. Anyone seeking an introduction to America's war with Japan would be hard pressed to find a better book, which stands as a great example of what Macmillan set out to accomplish when they first embarked upon the series. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
A comprehensive telling of the Allied War effort against Japan in the Pacific Theater during WW2.
This is what I consider a must read for anyone who is interested in this particular topic of Military History. ( )
  Teufle | Mar 13, 2015 |
This is a generally excellent history of the Pacific theater in WWII from the (mostly) US perspective. Well written, carefully researched and thoroughly documented, it is exceptional as a bibliographical resource for further study.

I am sure there will always be dozens of both major and minor issues we, decades later, Monday morning quarterbacks who were not even there can debated but I would consider assessments and judgements in this book to be well balanced - with a couple of exceptions. Though Spector reports some of the tragedies stemming from the massively arrogant egos of too many ranking US officers resulting in inefficient command structures and foolish rivalries causing untold numbers of lost military as well as civilian lives he seems to excuse these as acceptable characteristics of war. Some of these desirve at least moral condemation. On another level of morality the decision to use the atomic bomb is a bottomless quagmire of issues but I think Spector gave short shrift to argument that dropping the bombs ended the war more quickly thanavailable any "not dropping" options available to the US and saved many lives both US and Japanese. ( )
  oldretiredprof | Mar 23, 2013 |
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To the memory of my father, David D. Spector
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The failures and successes at Pearl Harbor, as well as those in the coming years of the Pacific War, ....
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This text reassesses U.S. and Japanese strategy and offers interpretations of the Pacific War.

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