Cover image for Return to Midway
Return to Midway
Ballard, Robert D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, 1999.
Physical Description:
191 pages ; 29 cm
Reading Level:
1100 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 9 12 Quiz: 20472 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D774.M5 B35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
D774.M5 B35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
D774.M5 B35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D774.M5 B35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D774.M5 B35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Provides an account of the 1942 battle of Midway and the high-tech hunt for the lost ships fifty-six years later.

Author Notes

Robert Ballard was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1942, and was educated at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Hawaii, the University of Southern California, and the University of Rhode Island, where he received his Ph.D. in 1974. Part explorer, part geologist, part oceanographer, and part marine engineer, Ballard has worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Falmouth, Massachusetts, since 1969. He is currently director of the Center for Marine Exploration there.

Ballard is perhaps best known to the general public in connection to the luxury liner Titanic. Ballard organized and participated in the expedition that discovered the ship in 1985. More important, however, is his work in designing underwater survey vehicles and in participating in dives to explore the ocean floor. His work in marine design and engineering, in particular, has led to a dramatic increase in the scope of deep-sea exploration. In the 1960s, Ballard helped develop the Alvin, a deep-sea, three-man submersible equipped with a remote controlled mechanical arm for collecting specimens from the ocean floor. The device played an important role in mid-ocean studies, including exploration of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and dives to the Cayman Trough, a 24,000-foot-deep gash in the ocean floor south of Cuba.

Ballard was part of the Galapagos Hydrothermal Expedition in 1977, which discovered and investigated deep-sea thermal vents spouting mineral-rich water from volcanic cracks in the Earth's crust. In the 1980s, Ballard helped develop the Argo-Jason unmanned submersible system, the most advanced craft of its kind. Argo is a 16-foot submersible vehicle and Jason is a self-propelled robot tethered to Argo. The search for the Titanic was undertaken as a test of the Argo-Jason system; the success of the expedition demonstrated its capabilities and, according to Ballard, "ushered in a new era of undersea exploration."

The author of several bestselling books on deep-sea exploration, Ballard also contributes regularly to National Geographic and other magazines and he has produced several videotapes of deep-sea expeditions. His reputation as a "science populizer" has prompted harsh criticism from some of his scientific colleagues.

In 1985, Ballard was one of four scientists awarded a Secretary of the Navy Research Chair in Oceanography, an award that carries with it an $800,000 grant for oceanographic research.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Two excellent volumes provide different perspectives on the aircraft carrier Yorktown and her role in the Battle of Midway in 1942, in which she was sunk. Longtime collaborators Ballard and Archbold interweave their account of the discovery of Yorktown's wreckage three miles deep in the North Pacific and a sound, well-illustrated chronicle of the battle, including many rare and previously unpublished photographs and original paintings. The marine-archaeological portion of the book tells of a mission plagued by even more than the usual number of technical faults, which still definitely established that remote-controlled viewing devices are the wave of the future in such undertakings. Nesmith's book is partly oral history, partly survivors' accounts, and partly battle narrative; these add up to a somewhat informal, frequently moving and informative group portrait of the Yorktown crew, of which Nesmith's uncle was a member. The book isn't highly organized, and following the course of the battle isn't easy, but appreciating the experiences and deeds of more than 2,000 men isn't hard. Both books are admirable tributes to the dead of a decisive battle and desirable additions to the World War II shelves. --Roland Green

Library Journal Review

Midway--the name evokes images of insurmountable odds and heroic sacrifice on the part of the U.S. Navy in 1942, for it was this battle (and those of the Coral Sea and Guadalcanal) that stemmed the tide of Japanese aggression in the Pacific and began the march to victory that would end in Tokyo harbor in August 1945. In this rich visual and narrative account, Ballard deftly intersperses chapters on the Battle of Midway with a fascinating account of his search for the U.S.S. Yorktown, which was sunk by a Japanese destroyer on June 7, 1942. Period photographs from the battle are combined with those of the Yorktown as she rests today, and paintings by marine artist Ken Marschall add detail to complete the record. The lively narrative is punctuated with two Japanese and two American oral history accounts of the battle. As with his books on the Titanic, the Bismarck, and the ships of Guadalcanal, Ballard has once again produced a visual tour de force that will evoke memories in those remaining veterans of what the late Gordon W. Prange termed the "miracle at Midway" while firing the imaginations of a younger generation. Highly recommended.--Harold N. Boyer, Springfield Twp. Lib., Aston, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.