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Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With…
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Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan (original 1984; edition 1985)

by Ronald Spector

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468922,128 (3.93)15
Member:jamespurcell
Title:Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan
Authors:Ronald Spector
Info:Vintage (1985), Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed, Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Non Fiction, History, Military, Pacific, Campaign, Infrastructure, Survey, TM

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Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan by Ronald Spector (1984)

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This is a generally excellent history of the Pacific theater in WWII from the (mostly) US perspective. Well written, carefully researched and thoroughly documented, it is exceptional as a bibliographical resource for further study.

I am sure there will always be dozens of both major and minor issues we, decades later, Monday morning quarterbacks who were not even there can debated but I would consider assessments and judgements in this book to be well balanced - with a couple of exceptions. Though Spector reports some of the tragedies stemming from the massively arrogant egos of too many ranking US officers resulting in inefficient command structures and foolish rivalries causing untold numbers of lost military as well as civilian lives he seems to excuse these as acceptable characteristics of war. Some of these desirve at least moral condemation. On another level of morality the decision to use the atomic bomb is a bottomless quagmire of issues but I think Spector gave short shrift to argument that dropping the bombs ended the war more quickly thanavailable any "not dropping" options available to the US and saved many lives both US and Japanese. ( )
  oldretiredprof | Mar 23, 2013 |
Eagle against the Sun by Ron Spector turned out to be quite an informative book about some little known areas; Burma, Thailand, New Guinea, coastwatchers and submarines as well as interesting insights into the MacArthur vs Nimitz issues that were part of the Pacific scene. Well written with good documentation, at the end of each chapter, and seeded nicely with apt personal vignettes. ( )
  jamespurcell | Jan 29, 2013 |
I read Ronald Spector’s one-volume history of the American war against Japan in honor of last month’s VJ day.
Spector’s book received acclaim when it was published in 1985. He covers, in 589 pages, the Pacific conflict from pre-war planning to the conclusion of the war. In doing so, he must strike a balance between detail of action, strategic political decisions, intelligence and logistics.

He does this well and the book is easy reading. I found an appropriate balance between background behind the strategic and political decisions made (Why were we in Guadalcanal anyway?) and the salt spray of action in the air, jungles and on the seas. The advances across the Pacific rightly receive prime attention but action in China, India, and Burma are not neglected.

As a survey of the Pacific war, I recommend it.

As I read it, I found myself wondering how those images of leadership color our thinking now and how true were they. For example, we hear about Lieutenant Colonel Chesty Puller’s First Battalion, Seventh Marines critical defense against superior numbers of Japanese at the airfield on Guadalcanal. Yet, how much of that was accomplished by top down direction and how much was accomplished by deliberate planning, and distributed decision making by small elements of Marines in their individual foxholes?
I also found myself wanting more information on the industrial decisions made in wartime America. When and why did were the key decisions about the B-29 made? What about the Essex class carrier? I’m looking for a good follow-up read here.

The most exciting book I’ve read about the Pacific war is the recent Shattered Sword, The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully. It covers a specific battle but the depth of research is eye-opening and myth-busting! ( )
  ldmarquet | Oct 18, 2010 |
Spector's is the definitive single-volume history of the Pacific theater in World War II. ( )
  wanack | Jun 30, 2010 |
An excellent review of the pacific war. Much told from the Japanese view. ( )
  Borg-mx5 | Mar 21, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394741013, Paperback)

Only now can the full scope of the war in the Pacific be fully understood. Historian Ronald Spector, drawing on newly declassified intelligence files, an abundance of British and American archival material. Japanese scholarship and documents, and research and memoirs of scholarly and military men, has written a stunning, complete and up-to-date history of the conflict.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:00 -0400)

Reassesses U.S. and Japanese strategy and offers interpretations of the Pacific War.

(summary from another edition)

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