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The Conquering Tide
Cover of The Conquering Tide
The Conquering Tide
War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944
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New York Times Bestseller "A beautiful blend of history and prose and proves again Mr. Toll's mastery of the naval-war narrative." —Wall Street Journal

This masterful history encompasses the heart of the Pacific War—the period between mid-1942 and mid-1944—when parallel Allied counteroffensives north and south of the equator washed over Japan's far-flung island empire like a "conquering tide," concluding with Japan's irreversible strategic defeat in the Marianas. It was the largest, bloodiest, most costly, most technically innovative and logistically complicated amphibious war in history, and it fostered bitter interservice rivalries, leaving wounds that even victory could not heal.

Often overlooked, these are the years and fights that decided the Pacific War. Ian W. Toll's battle scenes—in the air, at sea, and in the jungles—are simply riveting. He also takes the reader into the wartime councils in Washington and Tokyo where politics and strategy often collided, and into the struggle to mobilize wartime production, which was the secret of Allied victory. Brilliantly researched, the narrative is propelled and colored by firsthand accounts—letters, diaries, debriefings, and memoirs—that are the raw material of the telling details, shrewd judgment, and penetrating insight of this magisterial history.

This volume—continuing the "marvelously readable dramatic narrative" (San Francisco Chronicle) of Pacific Crucible—marks the second installment of the Pacific War Trilogy, which will stand as the first history of the entire Pacific War to be published in at least twenty-five years.

New York Times Bestseller "A beautiful blend of history and prose and proves again Mr. Toll's mastery of the naval-war narrative." —Wall Street Journal

This masterful history encompasses the heart of the Pacific War—the period between mid-1942 and mid-1944—when parallel Allied counteroffensives north and south of the equator washed over Japan's far-flung island empire like a "conquering tide," concluding with Japan's irreversible strategic defeat in the Marianas. It was the largest, bloodiest, most costly, most technically innovative and logistically complicated amphibious war in history, and it fostered bitter interservice rivalries, leaving wounds that even victory could not heal.

Often overlooked, these are the years and fights that decided the Pacific War. Ian W. Toll's battle scenes—in the air, at sea, and in the jungles—are simply riveting. He also takes the reader into the wartime councils in Washington and Tokyo where politics and strategy often collided, and into the struggle to mobilize wartime production, which was the secret of Allied victory. Brilliantly researched, the narrative is propelled and colored by firsthand accounts—letters, diaries, debriefings, and memoirs—that are the raw material of the telling details, shrewd judgment, and penetrating insight of this magisterial history.

This volume—continuing the "marvelously readable dramatic narrative" (San Francisco Chronicle) of Pacific Crucible—marks the second installment of the Pacific War Trilogy, which will stand as the first history of the entire Pacific War to be published in at least twenty-five years.

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About the Author-
  • Ian W. Toll is the author of Pacific Crucible, The Conquering Tide, and Six Frigates, winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award and the William E. Colby Award. He lives in San Francisco and New York.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 6, 2015
    This solid second volume in naval historian Toll’s planned three-volume history of the U.S. Navy in the WWII’s Pacific Theater (after 2012’s Pacific Crucible) follows the campaign from the summer of 1942 through the summer of 1944. Those two years constituted the critical period where the war’s momentum shifted from the Japanese to the Americans. Based on archival and respected secondary sources, the work focuses on the Central Pacific and begins with the Guadalcanal campaign, with Toll clearly describing the narrow American victory. Through the book’s middle he describes the strategic decision-making that drove the direction of the campaign. Toll diverges into specialized topics that parallel or compliment the major naval campaign, including submarine warfare, naval logistics, and activities on the home front and within industry. The work ends with him addressing the decisive victory of U.S. forces in the battle for the Marianas Islands, where American numerical and technological superiority unmistakably pointed toward the war’s inevitable outcome. Toll has an engaging writing style and he deftly weaves biographical sketches of the strategic leadership together with strong descriptions of the tactical battles and personal combat narratives. Experts may find nits to pick, but this is an accessible and balanced overview for lay history buffs.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2015

    World War II has generated enormous amounts of literature, and there's no shortage of studies on the American struggle against the Japanese empire after Pearl Harbor. Best-selling author Toll (Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy) has plans for a three-volume treatment of the Pacific contest, and this book, the second in the trilogy, is a worthy successor to Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, which dealt with the period between the attack on Pearl Harbor (December 1941) and the Battle of Midway (June 1942). Toll's well-written narrative carries the action forward from the Battle of Midway to the summer of 1944. Told with verve, this account sweeps the reader along with a fascinating detailing of the personalities and strategy on both sides of this grim series of battles on the water and in the air. VERDICT Toll successfully captures the drama and excitement of the Pacific War. Readers of military history will anticipate the final volume in this excellent history that should be a part of every library's collection on World War II. [See Prepub Alert, 3/23/15.]--Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Walter R. Borneman;New York Times Book Review A gripping narrative of the central Pacific campaign.... Toll is strong on the operational details of battle, but he is no less skilled at presenting something that is frequently missing from military histories, a well-rounded depiction of the home front on both sides.
  • James D. Hornfischer, author of Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal A lucid and learned exposition of the grand chess match between high commanders in the middle years of the Pacific War, vividly evoking the grit and gristle of its many horrors and triumphs. Ian W. Toll is a superb historian whose writing appeals to both the head and the heart.
  • S. I. Dunn;Dallas Morning News Heavily researched.... Toll's absorbing text flows smoothly and quickly, helped along by anecdotes and stories involving combatants and political leaders on both sides.
  • Jonathan W. Jordan;Wall Street Journal A beautiful blend of history and prose and proves again Mr. Toll's mastery of the naval-war narrative, carrying the reader smoothly from the marble halls of Washington to the Pacific's gritty, red-stained beaches.
  • Evan Thomas, author of Sea of Thunder and Ike's Bluff In The Conquering Tide, Ian Toll takes his place as one of the great storytellers of war. He is equally vivid and commanding describing landing on a carrier at night, making grand strategy in Washington, and brawling in a bar in Australia. Toll is a master; he is writing for the ages.
  • Richard Snow In his masterly narrative, Ian Toll brings clarity and a stinging immediacy to America's long, bitter climb up the island ladder that led to Japan. This is maritime history at its best and most accessible, told with a verve that will leave the reader wondering how such a long book could have sped by so quickly.
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    W. W. Norton & Company
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The Conquering Tide
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War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944
Ian W. Toll
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