Cover image for The Eagle and the Rising Sun : the Japanese-American war, 1941-1943, Pearl Harbor through Guadalcanal
Title:
The Eagle and the Rising Sun : the Japanese-American war, 1941-1943, Pearl Harbor through Guadalcanal
Author:
Schom, Alan.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
xviii, 540 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Chapter 1: A distinguished visitor -- Chapter 2: The world in flux -- Chapter 3: Spreading imperial virtue -- Chapter 4: The eight corners of the world -- Chapter 5: Unlimited national emergency -- Chapter 6: We cannot speculate with the security of this country -- Chapter 7: General quarters! -- Chapter 8: Two admirals -- Chapter 9: ...and a General -- Chapter 10: The Philippines: "A limit to human endurance" -- Chapter 11: First Washington Conference -- Chapter 12: Yamamoto's great offensive: coral sea and midway -- Chapter 13: Australia-New Guinea -- Chapter 14: "Sock 'em in the solomons" -- Chapter 15: Guadalcanal -- Chapter 16: Operation KA -- Chapter 17: The open slot -- Chapter 18: "A goddam mess" -- Chapter 19: "Friday the bloody thirteenth" -- Chapter 20: A troubled Hirohito.
ISBN:
9780393049244
Format :
Book

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D767 .S3515 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Alan Schom's histories and biographies have been celebrated for their iconoclastic approach and a dramatic focus on extraordinary personalities meeting at the crossroads of history. In this magisterial history of World War II in the Pacific, he shows how the conflict was in neither the United States's nor Japan's best interest. On one hand, the American government and people were as inadequately prepared for war as any major power has ever been; on the other hand, Schom's close reading of Japanese military and political documents reveal that their supreme command knew they could not possibly win.


Author Notes

Alan Schom is the author of the acclaimed biography Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life and several histories, including Trafalgar and One Hundred Days. He lives in France


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

This stout, imposing history of the first year and a half of World War II in the Pacific resembles Barbara Tuchman's World War I classic, The Guns of August, even if the blurbs say so themselves. Schom is a master of narrative technique, though not always of minor details of naval technology. He depicts the Japanese navy as probably superior in fighting power as well as numbers during this phase of the war. But it was critically weakened by poor logistical support against an American navy slowly learning to fight and rapidly building strength, thanks to America's matchless war productivity. A particular strength of the book consists of Schom's portraits of numerous leaders, some well known, such as MacArthur, about whom Schom is scathing, and Nimitz, about whom he waxes just this side of hagiography; and others who have been out of the limelight, such as Richmond Kelly Turner, an implacable and effective sea warrior with a terrible temper, and Frank Jack Fletcher, whose grasp of carrier warfare badly needed improvement. --Roland Green Copyright 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

This opinionated but cluttered history covers the dramatic slugfest in the Pacific during the first year and a half after Pearl Harbor. Schom?s treatment of historiographical issues?the rise of Japanese militarism, the need for raw materials that set Japan on the path of conquest, America?s woeful unpreparedness and obliviousness to warnings of the impending Pearl Harbor attack?is usually well judged, although not groundbreaking. He emphasizes naval operations, and his analysis of initial American tactical ineptitude, especially in handling aircraft carriers, is particularly acute. Schom (Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life) turns a beady eye to history?s personalities here, offering gossipy character studies of its leading (and not-so-leading) participants. This approach sometimes yields pungent insights, as in his blistering attack on MacArthur, a ?befuddled? self-promoter and ?greatest natural-born autocrat of them all,? whose bungled defense of the Philippines Schom pegs as the worst American failure of the war. But the frequent intrusion of extraneous biographical detail (e.g., ?Chester Nimitz walked to school barefoot as a child?) disrupts coherent thematic development, while the author?s fondness for living-history tableaux (?the smiling FDR wore a Panama hat and light beige tropical suit, his cigarette at its usual jaunty angle?) pads the narrative. Schom has done a lot of research, on everything from the love lives of American commanders to the London theater season during Hirohito?s 1921 state visit, to a strained encounter between Roosevelt and a nude Churchill, and he seems determined to let none of it go to waste. Some readers will love this; others may find themselves wishing he would lay off the human interest and get on with the war. Photos. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.


Library Journal Review

Schom (Napoleon Bonaparte; Trafalgar) applies his reputable skill as a historian to the first two years of World War II's Pacific theater of operations. Instead of giving a detailed history of combat, Schom focuses on the personalities of the numerous military and political leaders who commanded. These men risked the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers in some of the bloodiest campaigns of this pivotaltwo-year period, and Schom wants to hold them accountable for their leadership. Writing in a style akin to Barbara Tuchman's in The Guns of August, Schom concisely explains the key leaders' backgrounds, reviews their cultures and beliefs, and traces their inexorable paths to a war the Japanese command knew they could not possibly win and the American government and people were woefully ill prepared to fight. Readers will learn the causes for which men died, the role of intelligence in the war, the cost of misapplied force, and the importance of air power that continues to influence military strategy to this day. Highly recommended for all military history collections, especially in academic libraries and military research centers.-Dale Farris, Groves, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Fast-paced and well written, Schom's well-balanced study introduces a new generation of readers to the history of the Pacific War and offers equal treatment of the political background, strategic planning, and combat operations through the end of the Guadalcanal campaign in 1943. Like most war chroniclers, Schom has his own cast of villains and heroes. He lavishes praise on admirals Chester Nimitz, Richmond Kelley Turner, Marc Mitscher, and Tanaka Raizo; generals Robert Eichelberger, Archie Vandergrift, and Alexander Patch; and President Roosevelt and his advisor, Harry Hopkins. Those found wanting include admirals Ernie King, Frank Jack Fletcher, and Robert Ghormley; generals George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, and Richard Sutherland; Charles DeGaulle; and Emperor Hirohito. Although Schrom provides an excellent description of the war's first two years, there are no new interpretations or analyses of this crucially important period. In addition, given the vast amount of literature available, a rather limited bibliography apparently overlooks some of the major works in this area, such as Ronald Spector's Eagle against the Sun (CH, Mar'85) or Richard B. Frank's Guadalcanal (CH, May'91). Nevertheless, this book captures much of the excitement of the war's early days. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers and undergraduates beginning a study of the Pacific War. C. J. Weeks emeritus, Southern Polytechnic State University