Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

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9780451238047: Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun
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Acclaimed WWII historian and military intelligence expert John Prados offers a provocative reassessment of the Allies’ battle for the Solomon Islands—a turbulent, dramatic campaign that, he argues, was the true turning point of the Pacific conflict.

 

Historians traditionally refer to the Battle of Midway as the point when Allied forces gained the advantage over the Japanese. In Islands of Destiny, Prados points out that the Japanese forces quickly regained strength after Midway and continued their assault undaunted. Taking this surprising fact as the start of his inquiry, he began to investigate how and when the Pacific tide turned in the Allies’ favor. His search led him to the decisive battles and strategic maneuvers in the fight for the Solomon Islands.

Beginning with the invasion of Guadalcanal in August 1942, the Solomons became a hotly contested battleground for over a year, culminating in the isolation of Rabaul by the Allies. As military forces fought over the strategically important islands, a secret war of intelligence was also being waged. For a total picture of the conflict, Prados integrates blow-by-blow action on the ground with the code breaking, aerial reconnaissance, secret spy posts, and submarine scouting that were vital to the Allied effort.

The Solomons arena saw some of the most intense combat of WWII—from major naval actions, including a key confrontation between battleships, to air battles that took place almost daily. With expert knowledge and crystal clear prose, John Prados illustrates why these events were not only thrilling, but pivotal in the Allies’ path to victory.

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About the Author:

Dr. John Prados is a senior research fellow on national security affairs, including foreign affairs, intelligence, and military subjects, at the National Security Archive. He also directs the Archive’s Iraq Documentation Project, as well as its Vietnam Project. He holds a PhD in International Relations from Columbia University. His books Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945–1975; Keepers of the Keys; and Combined Fleet Decoded were each nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He has published articles with Vanity Fair, The Journal of American History, Scientific American, The New York Times, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.

Review:

“John Prados is a clever and prodigious digger of historical fact. Using new sources, especially from the Japanese side, he offers a fresh and compelling account of the true turning point of the Pacific War.”Evan Thomas, New York Times Bestselling Author of Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Struggle to Save the World and Sea of Thunder

“John Prados has done it again: He has taken a well-known, oft-described military campaign and has brought new and important perspective and insight to the events.”Norman Polmar, Author of Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of the K-129

“John Prados has turned his considerable talents to the Navy’s Solomons campaign, not only shedding light on an oft-neglected aspect of World War II, but shedding new light by carefully evaluating the influence and impact of intelligence on that vital struggle.”—Thomas J. Cutler, Author of The Battle of Leyte Gulf

"Move over, Midway. John Prados wants to bump the famed naval battle from its vaunted spot as the Allies' Big Turnaround in the Pacific. Instead, the historian argues, the tide really turned during the long, complicated, and messy land-and-sea battles of the Solomon Islands...And his reasons are very persuasive...With his storytelling's rich depths and surprising perspectives, Islands of Destiny is essential reading for anyone interested in the Pacific War."—World War II Magazine

"In vivid, immediate prose, Prados details battles from Guadalcanal to a late-1943 siege at Rabaul in New Guinea, showing how cunning strategy allowed the Allies to overcome the Japanese at sea and in the air...Prados provides an accessible history that avoids excessive jargon. Even casual readers of World War II history will find it engaging, and they will likely agree that the author makes a strong case for his revisionist assessment. A well-crafted addition to the canon of World War II military histories."—Kirkus Reviews

"Authoritative...Islands of Destiny serves as a powerful reminder of the geography, the strategy and the ferocity of the Solomons campaign...this book won't disappoint."—Wall Street Journal

“[Prados] argues that Guadalcanal and the Solomons campaign, not Midway, were the Pacific War’s true turning point. His use of Japanese primary sources is especially impressive. Imperial Navy figures, often treated as ciphers, regain their humanity in this author’s sympathetic hands.”—San Diego Union-Tribune

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9780451414823: Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

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