53 WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / DECEMBER 2015
Books Chronicle WW II in the Pacific,
British Fleets and Axis Midget Subs
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
HIROHITO’S WAR: The Pacific
By Francis Pike. New York:
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.
1,152 pp. $45.00
THE CONQUERING TIDE:
War in the Pacific Islands,
By Ian Toll. New York: W.W. Norton
& Co. Inc., 2015. 672 pp. $35.00
At the 70th anniversary of the end of
World War II, Francis Pike offers a
comprehensive look at the Pacific
War, which the publisher claims is
the first single-volume history of the
war produced in 30 years. This voluminous book is well organized with
subheads and serve in many ways as illuminating sidebars. The author is able to highlight some aspects that
often go unremarked, such as the Chinese losses and the
losses of Japanese soldiers to starvation. Pike also questions some assumptions of the causes of the war and the
need for the fire- and atomic-bombing of Japan.
Toll’s book is the sequel to his “Pacific Crucible,”
which covered 1941-42. This volume covers the Pacific
actions from the 1942 Guadalcanal campaign to the capture of Guam in mid-1944. He is equally comfortable discussing grand strategy, operations, tactics, leaders and the
experiences of individuals, folding all into context to give
an understanding of the carrier battles, amphibious invasions and submarine patrols that pushed the Japanese
back to the inner island chains.
THE BRITISH PACIFIC
FLEET EXPERIENCE AND
By Jon Robb-Webb. Surrey, England:
Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2013.
301 pp. $49.95
The defeat of Japan in World War II,
in large part brought about by the
U.S. Pacific Fleet, was helped along
by the British Pacific Fleet, formed
in October 1944. The largest fleet ever operated by the
Royal Navy (RN), it fought alongside U.S. carrier task
forces and battled the kamikaze onslaughts, an experi-
ence that forged strong bonds between the two navies,
including sharing of technology and knowledge, that
extended far into the future.
THE BATTLE FOR BRITAIN:
Interservice Rivalry Between
the Royal Air Force and
Royal Navy, 1909-40
By Anthony J. Cumming. Annapolis:
Naval Institute Press, 2015.
240 pp. $35.95
While the United States engaged in
its own post-World War I debate
about airpower and an independent air force, Britain
was engaged in a rivalry and competition for funding
between the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the RN. The
author challenges the narrative of the RAF as the sole
savior of Britain in 1940 and argues that the RN’s substantial contributions helped Britain survive until the
United States entered the war on its side in 1941.
AXIS MIDGET SUBMARINES
By Jamie Prenatt and Mark Stille.
Oxford, U.K. Osprey Publishing,
2014 48 pp. $17.95
The Axis nations in World War II
built approximately 2,000 midget
submarines and manned torpedoes,
some of which were used in combat and scored successes
under near suicidal conditions. This monograph describes
the design, development, armament and operational history of these submersibles used by Germany, Italy and
Japan. Japan used midget subs in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and they were successful in locations as far-flung as
Sydney, Australia; Madagascar; the Solomons; and the
Philippines. German Seehund submersibles sank 120,000
tons of shipping. Italian submersibles struck ships in
Gibraltar, Algiers, Alexandria and the Black Sea. ;
Seapower does not review works of fiction or self-published books.