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Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at…

Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal (original 2011; edition 2011)

by James D. Hornfischer

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Title:Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
Authors:James D. Hornfischer
Info:Bantam (2011), Edition: First American Edition, Hardcover, 516 pages

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Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer (2011)

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Hornfischer does a good job of breaking down one of the more pivotal points of the war in the Pacific. The importance of these battles is well supported and I really appreciated the stories of individual soldiers and sailors. While the documentation of Neptune's Inferno was great for a history book, I found the narration to be spotty. Too often Hornfischer lost the thread and wondered off on tangents, failing to maintain the drama of such a drama-filled piece of history. This is a worthy edition to any WWII enthusiast's library, it isn't going to hold the attention of anyone who is just looking for a great war story. Good, but it left me wanting more. ( )
  csayban | Dec 30, 2014 |
Excellent review of naval actions in the Guadalcanal area, but a difficult book to listen to because of the constant reference to names and places. Really needed a set of maps to reference while listening. Still, once I accepted that I wasn't going to have that, the stories were excellent. ( )
  marshapetry | Nov 12, 2014 |
While much has already been written about this campaign, Hornfischer has managed to provide new details not previously part of the general literature. His in depth reporting of the events of the various battles provides deeper appreciation of the sheer terror faced by all who participated. Perhaps without intending to do so, his description of the thinking and the actions of the commanders clearly establishes a deep chasm to what was important in the peacetime Navy and what happened in war. It is a valuable lesson that probably will have to be relearned any time a nation goes to war. ( )
  DeaconBernie | Aug 30, 2014 |
Great book. A detailed view of the events leading up to the Naval battles in the Solomon islands at Guadalcanal. Bloody and depressing, but moving as well. A pretty balanced (to my view) of what we did right as well as what we did wrong, as well as what the Japanese did well or poorly. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
If we know about Guadalcanal, we know about it from the combat that took place on the island during the early part of WWII. Those battles have become famous from books (The Thin Red Line, Guadalcanal Diary), more so from the movies made of them, and for those of us of a certain age – my father served in the Pacific Fleet during the war – have come to stand for privation, suffering, honor, and, most of all, courage.

I was surprised to discover that three times the number of sailors died in the battles for the island as soldiers (mostly Marines), and that the series of naval engagements in the Solomons are considered by many historians to be the pivotal battles of the war, and that the higher human attributes were at least as manifest in the Navy as the Marines and were probably more effective in setting the U.S. on the path to victory.

Hornfischer focuses intensely, though not exclusively, on the Navy, and that focus allowed him mastery of the source material – he's read everything. With a good sense of pacing, a concentration on people, an ear for the telling anecdote, and a willingness to criticize bad decisions, he has put together a fine history that reads like a novel and presents us with the best, and sometimes the worst, actions of humans in desperate battle. ( )
  steve.clason | Oct 28, 2012 |
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Draws on interviews with veterans and primary sources to present a narrative account of the pivotal World War II campaign, chronicling the three-month effort to gain control of Guadalcanal as a battle that taught the U.S. Navy and Marines new approaches to warfare.… (more)

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