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Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater (edition 2012)

by Brayton Harris

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2814389,858 (4.03)5
Member:ScholasticMonk
Title:Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater
Authors:Brayton Harris
Info:Palgrave Macmillan (2012), Edition: 1st Printing, Hardcover, 256 pages
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Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater by Brayton Harris

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In a period when biographers seem to want to communicate the worth of the subject by the heft of the volume, Brayton Harris would have made Admiral Nimitz proud with this modest, economical volume that communicates a great deal about an under-written giant of WWII history in its relatively few pages. It's perhaps fitting that the cover shows a somewhat faint image of Nimitz, above and in the background of Joe Rosenthal's famous photo of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. Unlike many other leaders in WWII, Nimitz did not actively seek the spotlight. And while that certainly has not led history to treat him unfairly, it has led him to be overlooked relative to his importance in the Pacific Theater.

In addition to presenting the historical narrative about Nimitz as a commander, Harris writes a great deal about Nimitz' leadership style and makes a point to show how his leadership style made him an unusually effective developer of flag officers. (This point likely being under-appreciated when comparing the records of WWII leaders.)

The book also provides insight into the inter-service rivalries of the inter-war and post-war period. And Nimitz' influence on the current structure of the US armed forces can certainly be seen through the lens of history.

In summary, it's refreshing to read a briskly written account of a great leader that is chock full of great lessons for today.

Disclosure: I received copy of the book via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program ( )
  ricksbooks | Jun 10, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I anticipated the arrival of Brayton Harris’ biography on Admiral Chester Nimitz with excitement and just a little trepidation. The excitement because I had not yet read any of the very limited works on the history of one of the United States Navy’s greatest leaders and the trepidation because that also meant Harris would have found surprisingly little information while researching his book.

It is nothing short of scandalous that such an important military leader has been so completely ignored and yet, Nimitz himself would probably have preferred it that way. Showing the genius of a truly great commander, unlike his army counterpart in the Pacific, he allowed the men on the front lines to acquire the headlines, and therefore, the glory.

In spite of having little available, Harris has managed to assemble an informative and educational history of Fleet Admiral Nimitz from his early life, to his unfortunate passing. We are given a glimpse of the US Navy’s history in the twentieth century along the way and more than a few pieces of information were new to me.

For any military historian or fan of the people who have led and done so successfully, Admiral Nimitz is a must read. Hopefully this book will garner great success, if for no other reason than to educate others as to which commander really orchestrated the battles that mattered during World War II in the Pacific.

www.daniellittle.com ( )
1 vote Sturgeon | Mar 18, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This small but rather nice biography of Chester Nimitz was an excellent read. It gives us a quick and broad overview of Chester Nimitz's naval career. We get a fair bit of history of the development of the navy along the way. The details on the infighting within and between the armed services got a little tedious, but it was instructive on how things were then.

I think Nimitz's name has faded from view as one of the great leaders of World War II. In the San Francisco area the name would be immediately recognizeable - Nimitz is the name of a large east bay freeway. The average citizen in the area probably knows nothing more. Nimitz deserves better. His name is overshadowed by bigger egos from the war, but his accomplishments before, during and after WWII were large and I am glad to have this book to cover the man and the events. Probably the largest possible fault of the book is the lack of some detail in places with regard to events in the war. Students of the Pacific War can certainly find this information elsewhere, but it would be nice to have a bit more at hand in the present book, certainly for a more casual reader. The plus side of Brayton Harris's approach with this book is that the reader does not bog down in details that might not be of great interest. We don't have endless descriptions of a battle, since that is not what this book is about.

I learned a lot from this biography. I thought it an excellent portait of Nimitz told in an accessible, straightforward fashion. The book does a good job of showing the reader Nimitz's development and leadership style, how he was tested and later how he was of great importance to the future of the navy and marine corps.

There are 16 photos in the middle of the book on 8 pages. They are good ones and I wish there were a few more. The photo of FDR, Nimitz and MacArthur is priceless. They really supplement the story in the text. There's a small bit of family history at the start of the book that didn't seem to have any importance and by being brief was not illuminating. I think replacing this with more information about Nimitz's youth or Academy time would have been a plus. This is just a minor quibble. I really liked this book.

I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, but I do not think that influenced my review. ( )
  RBeffa | Mar 16, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When I received this book in the mail, I was doubtful that a book so thin could do its subject matter any justice. Afterall, we are talking about one of the major allied figures of World War Two, none other than Admiral Chester Nimitz. I was wrong. With admirable economy of words Brayton Harris manages to give the reader a good look at a man whose deeds in the service of the United States Navy during war and peace were larger than life. Yet the quiet, unassuming manner of Nimitz meant that other more colorful and egotistical personalities such as MacArthur and Halsey became associated with the American victory in the Pacific while the name of Nimitz, over the years has faded in public recognition. Harris's biography reminds us of the enormous role played by Admiral Nimitz in winning the war against Japan as well as his other contributions which have shaped the current American navy. Although a more detailed record of Nimitz's career and personal life would be appreciated in another treatment, Brayton Harris's biography is a very enjoyable and readable introduction to the life of a man worthy of great esteem. ( )
  HowHop | Mar 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Admiral Nimitz by Brayton Harris was a well written biography of a giant figure of WWII. I do wish there would have been a little more information about some of the events and his decisions during the war. For those who are interested in what makes a good leader you will find Nimitz's approach different than most military leaders. He was not obsessed with his own power like MacArthur or Patton, The other interesting thing is the inter-service rivalries after the war.
  satchmo77 | Mar 6, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0230107656, Hardcover)

Chester Nimitz was an admiral’s Admiral, considered by many to be the greatest naval leader of the last century. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Nimitz assembled the forces, selected the leaders, and - as commander of all U.S. and Allied air, land, and sea forces in the Pacific Ocean - led the charge one island at a time, one battle at a time, toward victory. A brilliant strategist, he astounded contemporaries by achieving military victories against fantastic odds, outpacing more flamboyant luminaries like General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral "Bull" Halsey. And he was there to accept, on behalf of the United States, the surrender of the Japanese aboard the battleship USS Missouri in August 1945. In this first biography in over three decades, Brayton Harris uses long-overlooked files and recently declassified documents to bring to life one of America’s greatest wartime heroes.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:36 -0400)

A portrait of a World War II admiral traces his pivotal role in commanding all U.S. and Allied air, land, and sea forces in the Pacific after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

(summary from another edition)

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