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Incredible Victory by Walter Lord

Incredible Victory (1967)

by Walter Lord

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282662,141 (4.02)3
Outgunned and outmanned on the Pacific Ocean, a small American fleet defied the odds and turned the tide of World War II On the morning of June 4, 1942, doom sailed on Midway. Hoping to put itself within striking distance of Hawaii and California, the Japanese navy planned an ambush that would obliterate the remnants of the American Pacific fleet. On paper, the Americans had no chance of winning. They had fewer ships, slower fighters, and almost no battle experience. But because their codebreakers knew what was coming, the American navy was able to prepare an ambush of its own. Over two days of savage battle, American sailors and pilots broke the spine of the Japanese war machine. The United States prevailed against momentous odds; never again did Japan advance. In stunning detail, Walter Lord tells the story of one of the greatest upsets in naval history.… (more)

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Of course I'd seen the Charleton Heston movie about the Midway battle, but that excluded so much detail that this book ably filled in. It was fascinating to see what was done with the scant amount of intelligence information they had in order to prepare for the battle to come. They had some very ancient air power and nothing as quick as the Japanese had, but they made the best use they could of it. They beefed up Midway island with everything they could think that would help in the case of a Japanese landing and quickly repaired and gathered as many carriers and support craft as possible, allowing the US at least some ability to give the Japanese a good battle. The crux of the matter, though, was that the Japanese were so sure that they could win and that the US had only one possible carrier in the area that the Japanese psyched themselves out of the game. I also thought that the battle was over after the second air strike again the Yorktown, which badly crippled it, but did not sink it. I don't think I ever knew about the submarine attack 2 days later that sank both the Yorktown and one of the battleships. Nor did I know about the attacks on the other Japanese battleships after the main battle was over. A very educational read. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Nov 15, 2016 |
A stunning combination of research and extremely skillful writing. In a thrilling multi-faceted account Walter Lord details the events leading up to the Battle of Midway, the many aspects of the battle itself, and the aftermath. Switching between many points of view – including the Japanese side – Lord pieces it all together in a way that reads more like a thriller than the meticulously researched classic of naval war history that this is. ( )
  Hagelstein | May 26, 2014 |
I first read this well over 30 years ago. It was an amazing read then and it has not lost any of its power.

Walter Lord was a great historical writer. He took information from a large number of sources and pulled it all together into an account that encompasses the full breadth of the story. A large part of the book's power comes from his ability to tell the story. However, it is an incredible story, and his opening sums this up well - this was a turning point in history.

If you like naval history this is something you should definitely have on your bookshelf. ( )
  Bill.Bradford | May 18, 2013 |
popularization of the story of the Battle of Midway -- lots of human interest, good introduction to the battle, very clear if not very deep
  FKarr | Apr 8, 2013 |
A fine story detailing a turning point in WWII. The narrative skills are so well done by Walter Lord that it's as if Walter Cronkite had returned to TV for another episode of You Are There.
The history is told from both the U.S. and Japanese sides with the author giving a meaning of what the struggle means to the people of the United States and Japan. It also reveals the heroism of so many young fighter pilots who attacked the Japanese fleet with outdated airoplanes wile the superior Japanese zeros outmanuvered and shot so many down. However the drive and determination of the U.S. fliers resulted in the final victory. ( )
  mikedraper | Aug 16, 2009 |
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To William Rushton Calfee
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By any ordinary standard, they were hopelessly outclassed.
Chapter 1
A Single Stroke
Petty Officer Heijiro Omi didn't have a word to say in excuse.
"Don't let this carrier escape" Dick Best called over the radio as his squadron prepared to take on a Japanese carrier.
"After 24 years, I can still feel like weeping with pride, admiration, and humility when I recall the courage those men displayed." Daniel Grace, then a Marine Pfc stationed on Midway.
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