One feels, after reading this spirited account of the task force led by Admiral Merrill, that for all practical purposes, Merrill's handful of destroyers and cruisers comprised the whole South Pacific Fleet, during the dark months when the entire Solomon's area depended on it in 1943. Always outspeeded, outgunned, outarmoured, Merrill and his men nevertheless outmanoeuvred the enemy and won the distinction of never losing a ship in the Slot. Here is the long panorama of night battles that stopped the Tokyo Express, -- Rennell island, Bougainvillae, Rabaul, Munda -- battles covered heretofore by cryptic, official communiques. One of our first decisive naval victories is here revealed in greater detail by an expert on naval matters, who mixes the human with the technical in forceful, precise prose. Pratt is better in popularization of naval action than in more abstract technical naval strategy. This ranks with his best.