Despite our familiarity with Pearl Harbor and the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, which are the main set pieces of this book, Titans of the Seas is made compelling by its focus on tactics and the steps by which the world's greatest carrier force (Japan's) was laid low by a once-paralyzed enemy. The U.S. had no carrier at Pearl; the Japanese had six within attack distance and they released nearly 2000 planes in their surprise strike. Their pilots were vastly better trained than ours and had the experience of actual battle in China. Their torpedoes were un. believably deadly and powerful; our torpedoes didn't work, even in a direct hit. Though Japanese success at Pearl was not as great as they had hoped, the Belotes argue that a ""victory disease"" settled on the high command that caused fatal flaws in their deployment strategy. The book also analyzes the uses of varied aircraft aboard carriers: fighter planes are defensive, dive bombers and torpedo planes offensive. The carriers themselves were floating bombs because of the great reservoirs of aviation gasoline they carried. Nearly all our successful runs against them were the result of dive bombing. Part of the present account's readability comes from the fact that its main source materials were written soon after the events by participants--the taste of battle still fresh. Moderately absorbing.