MIDWAY: Turning Point of the Pacific by Vice Admiral William Ward (Ret.) Smith

MIDWAY: Turning Point of the Pacific

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Admiral Smith, on board the heavy cruiser Astoria and in command of the Yorktown's cruiser and destroyer escort, had one of the best available overall views of the battle of Midway. Despite this, most of the material he covers was beyond personal observation. The disposition of the Japanese fleet, what planes its carriers used, and even what our own planes were doing are all seen from hindsight. This is not to say there's no immediacy in his telling of the battle, for there's plenty. And there's also some backscratching clubmanship whenever a naval officer is mentioned (his present rank in retirement and so on). Admiral Smith has sketched it vividly rather than provided an official version; while there is no doubting his authority, the research seems relaxed. This is apparent in his handling of the Japanese. He simply has not probed records in the fashion that Stanley Falk did in Decision at Leyte (p. 46). The strategy, however, comes through clearly, as does our surprise victory. Readable enough, but Samuel Eliot Morison will still remain both the first and the last word in this theatre.

Pub Date: June 4th, 1966
Publisher: Crowell