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Admiral Bill Halsey: A Naval Life by Thomas…
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Admiral Bill Halsey: A Naval Life

by Thomas Alexander Hughes

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Recently added byShrike58, DVanderlinde, cbanks14

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One of the better biographies I've read in awhile, the author has the aim of examining the process of how Adm. Halsey went from being a pioneer of machine age naval power, to man of the hour in his nation's time of need, to becoming a caricature of himself and ultimately winding up becoming something of an embarrassment to and a pariah from the institution he served his whole adult life. In looking for the truth as to what sort of man Halsey really was, the problem was that while the thoughtful listener that illustrates the cover of the book is closer to the real person than the military showman, Halsey appears to have become addicted to publicity and wound up defending his public image to the point that it did him damage with his peers and comrades.

The main example is, of course, the conduct of the battle of Leyte Gulf. Most of the players were prepared to accept that mistakes had been made by all and that it was best to move on, but Halsey never got the message and he insisted that he bore no culpability at all in his post-war memoir. This is keeping in mind that Halsey was of the generation of U.S. naval officers for whom the command controversies of the Spanish-American War (see the public brawl between William Sampson and Winfield Schley) were an object lesson in the conduct one should not pursue. But if Halsey arguably had orders and doctrine on his side in regards to his conduct in the Philippines, he really had no good defense for not once, but twice, failing to admit responsibility for taking stupid chances in trying to continue military operations in the face of typhoons. A sad turn of events for a man who tried for the most part to maintain an honorable balance between responsibility and humanity. ( )
  Shrike58 | Feb 23, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674049632, Hardcover)

William Halsey was the most famous naval officer of World War II. His fearlessness in carrier raids against Japan, his steely resolve at Guadalcanal, and his impulsive blunder at the Battle of Leyte Gulf made him the “Patton of the Pacific” and solidified his reputation as a decisive, aggressive fighter prone to impetuous errors of judgment in the heat of battle. In this definitive biography, Thomas Hughes punctures the popular caricature of the “fighting admiral” to reveal the truth of Halsey’s personal and professional life as it was lived in times of war and peace.

Halsey, the son of a Navy officer whose alcoholism scuttled a promising career, committed himself wholeheartedly to naval life at an early age. An audacious and inspiring commander to his men, he met the operational challenges of the battle at sea against Japan with dramatically effective carrier strikes early in the war. Yet his greatest contribution to the Allied victory was as commander of the combined sea, air, and land forces in the South Pacific during the long slog up the Solomon Islands chain, one of the war’s most daunting battlegrounds. Halsey turned a bruising slugfest with the Japanese navy into a rout. Skillfully mediating the constant strategy disputes between the Army and the Navy―as well as the clashes of ego between General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz―Halsey was the linchpin of America’s Pacific war effort when its outcome was far from certain.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 07 Jun 2016 16:41:50 -0400)

"William Halsey was the most famous naval officer of World War II. His fearlessness in carrier raids against Japan, his steely resolve at Guadalcanal, and his impulsive blunder at the Battle of Leyte Gulf made him the "Patton of the Pacific" and solidified his reputation as a decisive, aggressive fighter prone to impetuous errors of judgment in the heat of battle. In this definitive biography, Thomas Alexander Hughes punctures the popular caricature of the "fighting admiral" to reveal the truth of Halsey's personal and professional life as it was lived in times of war and peace. Halsey, the son of a Navy officer whose alcoholism scuttled a promising career, committed himself wholeheartedly to naval life at an early age. An audacious and inspiring commander to his men, he met the operational challenges of the battle at sea against Japan with dramatically effective carrier strikes early in the war. Yet his greatest contribution to the Allied victory was as commander of the combined sea, air, and land forces in the South Pacific during the long slog up the Solomon Islands chain, one of the war's most daunting battlegrounds. Halsey turned a bruising slugfest with the Japanese navy into a rout. Skillfully mediating the army and navy's constant strategy disputes--as well as the clashes of ego between General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz--Halsey was the linchpin of America's Pacific war effort when its outcome was far from certain."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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