Book Review: ‘Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 (Volume I of the Pacific War Trilogy)

A Certain Point of View, Too

(C) 2011 W.W. Norton & Company

On November 14, 2011, W.W. Norton & Company published Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942, the first volume of Ian W. Toll’s Pacific War Trilogy. In twelve chapters and an epilogue which take up 493 pages of narrative, Toll covers the first six months of the Pacific War that pitted the Japanese Empire against the combined forces of the United States and the British Empire, as well as the small Dutch military contingent based in what was then the Netherlands East Indies – modern day Indonesia – from the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941)  to the fate-changing Battle of Midway (June 4-6, 1942) and its immediate aftermath.

By writing Pacific Crucible, Toll, whose first book of naval history Six Frigates: The Epic Story of the Founding of the U.S. Navy won the Samuel…

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