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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John Prados
The assassination of Osama bin Laden by SEAL Team 6 in May 2011 will certainly figure among the greatest achievements of US Special Forces. After nearly ten years of searching, they descended into his Pakistan compound in the middle of the night, killed him, and secreted the body back into Afghanistan. Interest in these forces had always been high, but it spiked to new levels following this success. There was a larger lesson here too. For serious jobs, the president invariably turns to the US Special Forces: the SEALs, Delta Force, the Green Berets, and the USAF's Special Tactics squad. Given that secretive grab-and-snatch operations in remote locales characterize contemporary warfare as much as traditional firefights, the Special Forces now fill a central role in American military strategy and tactics. Not surprisingly, the daring and secretive nature of these commando operations has generated a great deal of interest. The American public has an overwhelmingly favorable view of the forces, and nations around the world recognize them as the most capable fighting units: the tip of the American spear, so to speak. But how much do we know about them? What are their origins? What function do they fill in the larger military structure? Who can become a member? What do trainees have to go through? What sort of missions do Special Forces perform, and what are they expected to accomplish? Despite their importance, much of what they do remains a mystery because their operations are clandestine and the sources elusive. In The US Special Forces: What Everyone Needs to Know, eminent scholar John Prados brings his deep expertise to the subject and provides a pithy primer on the various components of America's special forces. The US military has long employed Special Forces in some form or another, but it was in the Cold War when they assumed their present form, and in Vietnam where they achieved critical mass. Interestingly, the Special Forces suffered a rapid decline in numbers after that conflict despite the fact that the United States had already identified terrorism as a growing security threat. The revival of Special Forces began under the Reagan administration. After 9/11 they experienced explosive growth, and are now integral to all US military missions. Prados traces how this happened and examines the various roles the Special Forces now play. They have taken over many functions of the regular military, a trend that Prados does not expect will end any time soon. This will be a definitive primer on the elite units in the most powerful military the world has ever known.
John Prados
John Prados
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.
John Prados
The assassination of Osama bin Laden by SEAL Team 6 in May 2011 will certainly figure among the greatest achievements of US Special Forces. After nearly ten years of searching, they descended into his Pakistan compound in the middle of the night, killed him, and secreted the body back into Afghanistan. Interest in these forces had always been high, but it spiked to new levels following this success. There was a larger lesson here too. For serious jobs, the president invariably turns to the US Special Forces: the SEALs, Delta Force, the Green Berets, and the USAF's Special Tactics squad. Given that secretive grab-and-snatch operations in remote locales characterize contemporary warfare as much as traditional firefights, the Special Forces now fill a central role in American military strategy and tactics. Not surprisingly, the daring and secretive nature of these commando operations has generated a great deal of interest. The American public has an overwhelmingly favorable view of the forces, and nations around the world recognize them as the most capable fighting units: the tip of the American spear, so to speak. But how much do we know about them? What are their origins? What function do they fill in the larger military structure? Who can become a member? What do trainees have to go through? What sort of missions do Special Forces perform, and what are they expected to accomplish? Despite their importance, much of what they do remains a mystery because their operations are clandestine and the sources elusive. In The US Special Forces: What Everyone Needs to Know, eminent scholar John Prados brings his deep expertise to the subject and provides a pithy primer on the various components of America's special forces. The US military has long employed Special Forces in some form or another, but it was in the Cold War when they assumed their present form, and in Vietnam where they achieved critical mass. Interestingly, the Special Forces suffered a rapid decline in numbers after that conflict despite the fact that the United States had already identified terrorism as a growing security threat. The revival of Special Forces began under the Reagan administration. After 9/11 they experienced explosive growth, and are now integral to all US military missions. Prados traces how this happened and examines the various roles the Special Forces now play. They have taken over many functions of the regular military, a trend that Prados does not expect will end any time soon. This will be a definitive primer on the elite units in the most powerful military the world has ever known.
John Prados
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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