The book refutes the widely-held notion that the attack on Pearl Harbor suddenly rendered surface combatants obsolete and that aviation and submarines dominated the Pacific War; it demonstrates that the battleships, cruisers and destroyers made major contributions to America’s victory and played decisive roles at critical junctures.
The U.S. Navy against the Axis offers a cautionary parable relevant to today’s Navy. It demonstrates how swift adaptability and intellectual honesty were fundamental to the Navy’s success against Japan. The book’s underlying premises is that we cannot assume that in a conflict against conventional or asymmetric enemies, the nation holds title to the same virtues demonstrated by the Navy three generations past. Instead those lessons need to be constantly studied and validated in the face of postwar mythologies, lest they be forgotten.
Ken Jones not only records their heroic deeds but helps explain what prompted those deeds, including the leadership qualities that fired the men into action. In doing so he brings to life the outfit's fighting spirit--that mysterious combination of qualities inspired by great leaders that wins battles--and the man who led them. Commodore Arleigh Burke was the right man at the right place at the right time; his leadership fused the squadron into a superb combat organization.
This book offers a vivid account of the fighting in the South Pacific during one of the most crucial periods of the war. In authentic, minute-by-minute detail drawn from once-secret documents, Jones describes the battles of Tassafaronga, Savo Island, Empress Augusta Bay, and Cape St. George. But the focus throughout is on the men as they meet the test of battle with a common bravery as staunch as any in the Navy's annals. No squadron in any navy is said to have won more battle honors in less time than the Fighting Twenty-third.
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.