Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

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The Battle of Midway is traditionally held as the point when Allied forces gained advantage over the Japanese. In Islands of Destiny, acclaimed historian and military intelligence expert John Prados points out that the Japanese forces quickly regained strength after Midway and continued their assault undaunted.

Taking this surprising fact as the start of his inquiry, he began to investigate how and when the Pacific tide turned in the Allies’ favor. Using archives of WWII intelligence reports from both sides, Prados offers up a compelling reassessment of the true turning in the Pacific: not Midway, but the fight for the Solomon Islands.

Combat in the Solomons saw a series of surface naval battles, including one of the key battleship-versus-battleship actions of the war; two major carrier actions; daily air duels, including the aerial ambush in which perished the famous Japanese naval commander Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku; and many other hair-raising exploits. Commencing with the Allied invasion of Guadalcanal, Prados shows how and why the Allies beat Japan on the sea, in the air, and in the jungles.
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About the author

Dr. John Prados is a Senior Research Fellow on national security, including foreign affairs, intelligence, and military subjects, at the National Security Archive. He directs the Archive's Iraq Documentation Project, as well as its Vietnam Project. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from Columbia University. His books Unwinnable War, Keepers of the Keys (on the National Security Council) and Combined Fleet Decoded (on intelligence in the Pacific in World War II) were each nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He has published articles with Vanity Fair, The Journal of American History, Scientific American, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post,  and The Boston Globe.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Oct 2, 2012
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781101601952
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Naval
History / Military / United States
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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 Guadalcanal: Starvation Island

 Eric Hammel

 The Japanese defeats at Midway and Guadalcanal decided the outcome of the Pacific War. Guadalcanal was the classic three-dimensional campaign. On land, at sea, and in the air, fierce battles were fought with both sides stretching their supplies and equipment to the breaking point. The campaign lasted six months, involved nearly one million men, and stopped Japanese expansion in the Pacific.

 When the campaign began on August 7, 1942, no one on either side quite knew how to conduct it, as Eric Hammel shows in this masterly account. Guadalcanal: Starvation hand corrects numerous errors and omissions in the official records that have been perpetuated in all the books previously published about the campaign. Hammel also draws on the recollections of more than 100 participants on both sides, especially the enlisted men at the sharp end. Their words bring us into the heart of the battle and portray the fighting accurately, realistically, andvery powerfully.

Guadalcanal: Starvation Island follows the men and the commanders of this decisive World War II campaign in an integrated, brilliantly told narrative of the desperate struggle at sea, on land, and in the air.

***

Praise for Guadalcanal: Starvation Island and Eric Hammel

“A comprehensive history of the Guadalcanal Campaign . . . [and] a well‑balanced account. Well written and fast moving.”  —Marine Corps Gazette

“Hammel has written the most comprehensive popular ac­count to date . . . and exposes controversial aspects often passed over,”  —Publishers Weekly

“Hammel takes the reader behind the scenes and details how decisions were made . . . and how they impacted on the troops carrying them out. He tells the story in a very human way.”  —Leatherneck Magazine

“A splendid record of this decisive campaign. Hammel offers a wealth of fresh material drawn from archival records and the recollections of 100‑odd surviving participants. . . . A praise­worthy contribution to Guadalcanal lore.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“Hammel’s ability to reveal both the immediacy and the hu­manity of war without judgment or bias makes all his books both readable and scholarly.  —San Francisco Chronicle

“Hammel does not write dry history. His battle sequences are masterfully portrayed.  —Library Journal

"The Ghosts of Langley offers a detail-rich, often relentless litany of CIA scandals and mini-scandals. . . [and a] prayer that the CIA learn from and publicly admit its mistakes, rather than perpetuate them in an atmosphere of denial and impunity."
—The Washington Post

From the writer Kai Bird calls a “wonderfully accessible historian,” the first major history of the CIA in a decade, published to tie in with the seventieth anniversary of the agency’s founding

During his first visit to Langley, the CIA’s Virginia headquarters, President Donald Trump told those gathered, “I am so behind you . . . there’s nobody I respect more, ” hinting that he was going to put more CIA operations officers into the field so the CIA could smite its enemies ever more forcefully. But while Trump was making these promises, behind the scenes the CIA was still reeling from blowback from the very tactics that Trump touted—including secret overseas prisons and torture—that it had resorted to a decade earlier during President George W. Bush’s war on terror. Under the latest regime it seemed that the CIA was doomed to repeat its past failures rather than put its house in order. The Ghosts of Langley is a provocative and panoramic new history of the Central Intelligence Agency that relates the agency’s current predicament to its founding and earlier years, telling the story of the agency through the eyes of key figures in CIA history, including some of its most troubling covert actions around the world. It reveals how the agency, over seven decades, has resisted government accountability, going rogue in a series of highly questionable ventures that reach their apotheosis with the secret overseas prisons and torture programs of the war on terror. Drawing on mountains of newly declassified documents, the celebrated historian of national intelligence John Prados throws fresh light on classic agency operations from Poland to Hungary, from Indonesia to Iran-Contra, and from the Bay of Pigs to Guantánamo Bay. The halls of Langley, Prados persuasively argues, echo with the footsteps of past spymasters, to the extent that it resembles a haunted house. Indeed, every day that the militarization of the CIA increases, the agency drifts further away from classic arts of espionage and intelligence analysis—and its original mission, while pushing dangerously beyond accountability. The Ghosts of Langley will be essential reading for anyone who cares about the next phase of American history—and the CIA’s evolution—as its past informs its future and a president of impulsive character prods the agency toward new scandals and failures.
This is the little known story of how the American President and his cabinet carried the United States to the brink of war in Indochina and potentially China—in 1954! Americans and the U.S. were intimately involved in the key battle that ended the French occupation of Vietnam. Operation Vulture tells the story of secret U.S. efforts to sustain the French in Indochina, of the men who labored alongside the French military, of the frantic behind-closed-door meetings and confrontations in Washington as diplomats sought the American’s intervention, and of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s reluctant step back from sending in the Marines and using atomic bombs.

Presenting the story from the U.S., French, and Vietnamese points of view, this eBook edition of Operation Vulture is completely revised and rewritten, with new text on almost every international facet of the Dien Bien Phu battle.  It provides the most detailed treatment of the secret plan to drop tactical nuclear weapons there.  It includes fresh material on American naval and air operations, on the CIA and French intelligence, on U.S. and French efforts to relieve the besieged fortress, on the historical disputes over the diplomacy of Dien Bien Phu and Geneva, and on the cover-up of Eisenhower era records of these events.  Also included are new maps specifically prepared for this edition.

PRAISE:

“A detailed and readable study…” —Foreign Affairs

“Dr. Prados’s perceptive...account gains impressive credence from his extensive use of recently declassified material.” —Army Magazine

“John Prados is a clever and prodigious digger of historical fact.” —Evan Thomas, New York Times Bestselling Author 

In December 1974, a front-page story in the New York Times revealed the explosive details of illegal domestic spying by the Central Intelligence Agency. This included political surveillance, eavesdropping, detention, and interrogation. The revelation of illegal activities over many years shocked the American public and led to investigations of the CIA by a presidential commission and committees in both houses of Congress, which found evidence of more abuse, even CIA plans for assassinations. Investigators and the public soon discovered that the CIA abuses were described in a top-secret document agency insiders dubbed the "Family Jewels." That document became ground zero for a political firestorm that lasted more than a year. The "Family Jewels" debacle ultimately brought about greater congressional oversight of the CIA, but excesses such as those uncovered in the 1970s continue to come to light.

The Family Jewels probes the deepest secrets of the CIA and its attempts to avoid scrutiny. John Prados recounts the secret operations that constituted "Jewels" and investigators' pursuit of the truth, plus the strenuous efforts—by the agency, the executive branch, and even presidents—to evade accountability. Prados reveals how Vice President Richard Cheney played a leading role in intelligence abuses and demonstrates that every type of "Jewel" has been replicated since, especially during the post-9/11 war on terror. The Family Jewels masterfully illuminates why these abuses are endemic to spying, shows that proper relationships are vital to control of intelligence, and advocates a system for handling "Family Jewels" crises in a democratic society.

With a new epilogue that discusses former CIA employee Edward Snowden's revelation of massive covert surveillance by the NSA, this powerful accounting of intelligence abuses committed by the CIA from the Cold War through the war on terror reveals why such abuses and attempts to conceal them are endemic to spying and proposes how a democratic nation can rein in its spymasters.

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