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The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942–1944 (2015)

by Ian W. Toll

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Pacific War Trilogy (2)

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5671842,763 (4.46)10
History. Nonfiction. HTML:

The devastation of Pearl Harbor and the American victory at Midway were prelude to a greater challenge: rolling back the vast Japanese Pacific empire, island by island. This masterful history encompasses the heart of the Pacific Warthe period between mid-1942 and mid-1944when parallel Allied counteroffensives north and south of the equator washed over Japan's far-flung island empire like a "conquering tide," concluding with Japan's irreversible strategic defeat in the Marianas. It was the largest, bloodiest, most costly, most technically innovative and logistically complicated amphibious war in history, and it fostered bitter interservice rivalries, leaving wounds that even victory could not heal. Often overlooked, these are the years and fights that decided the Pacific War. Ian W. Toll's battle scenesin the air, at sea, and in the junglesare simply riveting. He also takes the reader into the wartime councils in Washington and Tokyo where politics and strategy often collided, and into the struggle to mobilize wartime production, which was the secret of Allied victory. Brilliantly researched, the narrative is propelled and colored by firsthand accountsletters, diaries, debriefings, and memoirsthat are the raw material of the telling details, shrewd judgment, and penetrating insight of this magisterial history. This volumecontinuing the "marvelously readable dramatic narrative" (San Francisco Chronicle) of Pacific Cruciblemarks the second installment of the Pacific War Trilogy, which will stand as the first history of the entire Pacific War to be published in at least twenty-five years.

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Read this book every morning during the summer of 2023 during our epic move in the camper. Part 2 of 3 of the trilogy following Pacific Crucible. Excellent account and thoroughly enjoyable read about America's conquest across the Pacific. Detailed individual accounts on the ground and on ship mixed in with thorough details of strategy in Washington and Pearl Harbor and in Tokyo. Thorough research was conducted on both sides to show how the US's advance in the Pacific demoralized the Japanese forces and the civilians at home on the main land. Does a great job explaining the crucial role of logistics and its obvious impact on the ultimate outcome of the wary. Highly recommend this trilogy to anyone interested in the Pacific theater of WWII.
  SDWets | Jul 29, 2023 |
Book 2 of the Pacific War Trilogy- just as great as book 1. This covers the period from Guadalcanal to the Battle of the Philippine Sea. At the start, the US has already had its great victory at Midway, but has yet to start taking back any territory captured by Japan in the first weeks of the war.
Guadalcanal is in the Solomon Islands, and the key airfield there was taken by the US rather easily, but the ensuing months were a lengthy battle to hold it against Japanese air strikes, naval barrages, and troops from elsewhere on the island. The US troops were inadequately supplied and the outcome was very much in doubt.

That was mid to late 1942. By 1944, though, the US war machine is at full throttle and the die is fully cast- Japan can't keep up and its position is more and more hopeless with each passing month.

Toll does a great job explaining the details. I wouldn't have minded more maps though. Looking forward to book 3 next. ( )
  DanTarlin | Jul 14, 2023 |
Outstanding read. The author presents the historical events from both the American and Japanese prospective. ( )
  paworkingmom | Jul 9, 2023 |
Volume 2 continues this excellent history of the Pacific theatre in WWII. As the author explains in his concluding note to the text, his work emphasizes the importance of the naval component of the campaign and proposes that the island-hopping that others have emphasized was secondary, all using an episodic instead of a chronological textbook technique with the several strengths mentioned in my review of volume 1. I recommend it highly. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
... history encompasses the heart of the Pacific War—the period between mid-1942 and mid-1944—when parallel Allied counteroffensives north and south of the equator washed over Japan's far-flung island empire like a "conquering tide," concluding with Japan's irreversible strategic defeat in the Marianas. It was the largest, bloodiest, most costly, most technically innovative and logistically complicated amphibious war in history, and it fostered bitter interservice rivalries, leaving wounds that even victory could not heal.

Often overlooked, these are the years and fights that decided the Pacific War. Ian W. Toll's battle scenes—in the air, at sea, and in the jungles—are simply riveting. He also takes the reader into the wartime councils in Washington and Tokyo where politics and strategy often collided, and into the struggle to mobilize wartime production, which was the secret of Allied victory. Brilliantly researched, the narrative is propelled and colored by firsthand accounts—letters, diaries, debriefings, and memoirs—that are the raw material of the telling details, shrewd judgment, and penetrating insight of this magisterial history.
  MasseyLibrary | Feb 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian W. Tollprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ochlan, P. J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Henry L. Stimson, the veteran Republican statesman who served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt's secretary of war, left a well-aimed barb in his postwar memoir.
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History. Nonfiction. HTML:

The devastation of Pearl Harbor and the American victory at Midway were prelude to a greater challenge: rolling back the vast Japanese Pacific empire, island by island. This masterful history encompasses the heart of the Pacific Warthe period between mid-1942 and mid-1944when parallel Allied counteroffensives north and south of the equator washed over Japan's far-flung island empire like a "conquering tide," concluding with Japan's irreversible strategic defeat in the Marianas. It was the largest, bloodiest, most costly, most technically innovative and logistically complicated amphibious war in history, and it fostered bitter interservice rivalries, leaving wounds that even victory could not heal. Often overlooked, these are the years and fights that decided the Pacific War. Ian W. Toll's battle scenesin the air, at sea, and in the junglesare simply riveting. He also takes the reader into the wartime councils in Washington and Tokyo where politics and strategy often collided, and into the struggle to mobilize wartime production, which was the secret of Allied victory. Brilliantly researched, the narrative is propelled and colored by firsthand accountsletters, diaries, debriefings, and memoirsthat are the raw material of the telling details, shrewd judgment, and penetrating insight of this magisterial history. This volumecontinuing the "marvelously readable dramatic narrative" (San Francisco Chronicle) of Pacific Cruciblemarks the second installment of the Pacific War Trilogy, which will stand as the first history of the entire Pacific War to be published in at least twenty-five years.

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