*Pacific Crucible*

The author is Ian W. Toll and the subtitle is War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942.  I loved this book and it should join my list of the very best books of the year.  Every page was gripping and instructive.  Here is an excerpt on “how to leave the dollar zone”:

The word HAWAII was overprinted on all paper currency — in the event of invasion the U.S. Treasury would declare the bills worthless.

I very much liked this passage:

Holmes added that a cryptanalyst “needs only time, patience, an infinite capacity for work, a mind that can focus on one problem to the exclusion of everything else, a photographic memory, the inability to drop an unsolved problem, and a large volume of traffic.”

I learned that Hawaii never interned its Japanese (with no problems), why the Japanese didn’t go after Australia and why they should have, and why the Japanese failed in the Battle of Midway.  I had not known that MacArthur received a payment of $500,000 from the Philippine Treasury in 1942, and the U.S. knew about it and let him keep it.

Highly recommended, even if you don’t care about naval warfare per se.  I am now ordering Toll’s other book.


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