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The Fleet at Flood Tide
Cover of The Fleet at Flood Tide
The Fleet at Flood Tide
America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • The extraordinary story of the World War II air, land, and sea campaign that brought the U.S. Navy to the apex of its strength and marked the rise of the United States as a global superpower

    Winner, Commodore John Barry Book Award, Navy League of the United States • Winner, John Lehman Distinguished Naval Historian Award, Naval Order of the United States
    With its thunderous assault on the Mariana Islands in June 1944, the United States crossed the threshold of total war. In this tour de force of dramatic storytelling, distilled from extensive research in newly discovered primary sources, James D. Hornfischer brings to life the campaign that was the fulcrum of the drive to compel Tokyo to surrender—and that forever changed the art of modern war.
    With a close focus on high commanders, front-line combatants, and ordinary people, American and Japanese alike, Hornfischer tells the story of the climactic end of the Pacific War as has never been done before. Here are the epic seaborne invasions of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, the stunning aerial battles of the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot, the first large-scale use of Navy underwater demolition teams, the largest banzai attack of the war, and the daring combat operations large and small that made possible the strategic bombing offensive culminating in the atomic strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From the seas of the Central Pacific to the shores of Japan itself, The Fleet at Flood Tide is a stirring, authoritative, and cinematic portrayal of World War II's world-changing finale.
    Illustrated with original maps and more than 120 dramatic photographs
    "Quite simply, popular and scholarly military history at its best."—Victor Davis Hanson, author of Carnage and Culture

    "The dean of World War II naval history . . . In his capable hands, the story races along like an intense thriller. . . . Narrative nonfiction at its finest—a book simply not to be missed."—James M. Scott, Charleston Post and Courier

    "An impressively lucid account . . . admirable, fascinating."The Wall Street Journal

    "An extraordinary memorial to the courageous—and a cautionary note to a world that remains unstable and turbulent today."—Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, author of Sea Power

    "A masterful, fresh account . . . ably expands on the prior offerings of such classic naval historians as Samuel Eliot Morison."The Dallas Morning News
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • The extraordinary story of the World War II air, land, and sea campaign that brought the U.S. Navy to the apex of its strength and marked the rise of the United States as a global superpower

    Winner, Commodore John Barry Book Award, Navy League of the United States • Winner, John Lehman Distinguished Naval Historian Award, Naval Order of the United States
    With its thunderous assault on the Mariana Islands in June 1944, the United States crossed the threshold of total war. In this tour de force of dramatic storytelling, distilled from extensive research in newly discovered primary sources, James D. Hornfischer brings to life the campaign that was the fulcrum of the drive to compel Tokyo to surrender—and that forever changed the art of modern war.
    With a close focus on high commanders, front-line combatants, and ordinary people, American and Japanese alike, Hornfischer tells the story of the climactic end of the Pacific War as has never been done before. Here are the epic seaborne invasions of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, the stunning aerial battles of the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot, the first large-scale use of Navy underwater demolition teams, the largest banzai attack of the war, and the daring combat operations large and small that made possible the strategic bombing offensive culminating in the atomic strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From the seas of the Central Pacific to the shores of Japan itself, The Fleet at Flood Tide is a stirring, authoritative, and cinematic portrayal of World War II's world-changing finale.
    Illustrated with original maps and more than 120 dramatic photographs
    "Quite simply, popular and scholarly military history at its best."—Victor Davis Hanson, author of Carnage and Culture

    "The dean of World War II naval history . . . In his capable hands, the story races along like an intense thriller. . . . Narrative nonfiction at its finest—a book simply not to be missed."—James M. Scott, Charleston Post and Courier

    "An impressively lucid account . . . admirable, fascinating."The Wall Street Journal

    "An extraordinary memorial to the courageous—and a cautionary note to a world that remains unstable and turbulent today."—Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, author of Sea Power

    "A masterful, fresh account . . . ably expands on the prior offerings of such classic naval historians as Samuel Eliot Morison."The Dallas Morning News
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    • From the book 1

      Engine of Siege

      Almost two years underway, the war in the Pacific, the Navy's war, was not yet total. Indeed, some were calling it a phony war. Such a term had been applied to the eight-­month period of stasis in Europe between the declaration of war by the Allies and their first major operations on Germany's Western Front in 1940. In the Pacific, the year 1943 had been, for the Navy, a year of rebuilding and waiting.

      The invasion of Guadalcanal, the first Allied offensive of the war, launched in August 1942, had been carried out on a shoestring, using a back-­of-­the-­envelope contingency plan. The six-­month campaign of attrition ended in U.S. victory in February, but nine more months would pass before the Marine Corps attacked another Japanese-­held island. While General Douglas MacArthur's troops wore down the Japanese in New Guinea and the Army's Kiska Task Force retook the Aleutians, the Navy endured an interval of gathering and adjustment, of preparation and planning, recruitment and training, construction and commissioning. Mostly the latter, and the shipyards would tell an epic tale.

      The lead ship of the Essex class of aircraft carriers joined the fleet on New Year's Eve 1942. The 34,000-­tonner would emerge as the signature ship of the U.S. Navy's combat task force. Four more would be launched before 1943 was out. A pair of Iowa-­class battleships reached the Pacific that year, too, as four more of the 45,000-­ton behemoths took shape in the yards. A horde of new destroyers and destroyer escorts—­more than five hundred of them—­were launched in the year's second half alone. But the greatest economies of scale revealed themselves in the building of merchant ships. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had directed the Maritime Commission to produce twenty-­four million tons of cargo shipping in 1943. The surge was so great that it might have strained the wine industry's capacity to make bottles to smash against prows on launching day. Surprising shortages cascaded through the supply chain. When grease was rationed for the exclusive use of combat units, a shipyard in Beaumont, Texas, found a substitute to use in lubricating the skids of their ramps: ripe bananas. Personnel officers, short on applicants, hired women and minorities to work in the yards and looked inland from the traditional recruitment fields of the coasts on the hunch that farmers with wits enough to survive the Dust Bowl might be useful in building ships. Coming out of the Depression, no one missed the chance to earn a better wage.

      It was this outpouring of manpower and industry that enabled the Navy's long-­envisioned drive through the Central Pacific to begin. Since 1909, the "Pacific problem" had been an important object of study, premised upon the Navy's need to retake the Philippines after a Japanese attack. Since 1933, Ernest King had favored a path through the Marianas, which he considered the "key to the Western Pacific." As commander in chief of the U.S. fleet, based in Washington, Admiral King had been pressing the Joint Chiefs to approve an invasion of the islands ever since the end stages of the Guadalcanal campaign. The size and difficulty of the island objectives seized to date—­mere apostrophes of coral with little elevation or terrain—­paled next to the Marianas, which lay within what Japan considered its inner defensive perimeter.

      In November 1943, as Admiral William F. Halsey's South Pacific forces attacked Bougainville, Vice Admiral Raymond Spruance's Central Pacific Force began its oceanic march, falling upon the tiniest and humblest of objectives: Tarawa, a...
    About the Author-
    • James D. Hornfischer is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Neptune's Inferno, Ship of Ghosts, and The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award. A native of Massachusetts and a graduate of Colgate University and the University of Texas School of Law, he lives in Austin, Texas.

      jameshornfischer.com
    Reviews-
    • Library Journal

      June 1, 2016
      Winner of the prestigious Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature, Hornfischer has authored several "New York Times" best sellers about the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II, including, most recently, "Neptune's Inferno". Here he draws on thousands of pages of primary-source research to chronicle the most important campaign in the Pacific War: the U.S. Fifth Fleet's seizure of the Marianas, which opened the gates to the defeat of Japan.

      Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945
    James D. Hornfischer
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