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

by James D. Hornfischer

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

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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 |
Excellent tale of the U.S. Navy's support of American forces engaged on Guadalcanal. This engrossing account includes includes coverage of theater strategy, naval surface warfare tactics, and tales related by individuals engaged in the actions. ( )
  jrtanworth | Dec 15, 2011 |
A great look at the obstacles faced by the Navy around Guadalcanal. Hornfischer points out the basic problem the American Navy had with its lack of experienced commanders who were willing and versed to use available technology and leaders who had actually been in the midst of battle and knew what to do. Training and preparedness of the crew was another problem. Depicted here was much bravery and as in all aspects of war, too much death, many lives sacrificed by poor leadership. ( )
  creighley | Nov 29, 2011 |
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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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