PACIFIC CRUCIBLE
The War in the Pacific, 1941-42

The planning, the strategy, the sacrifices and heroics—on both sides—illuminating the greatest naval war in history

On the first Sunday in December 1941, an armada of Japanese warplanes appeared suddenly over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Six months later, in a sea fight north of the tiny island of Midway, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sent into the abyss. Pacific Crucible tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history and seized the strategic initiative.
Ian Toll’s dramatic narrative encompasses both the high command and the “sailor’s eye” view from the lower deck. Relying predominantly on eyewitness accounts and primary sources, Pacific Crucible also spotlights recent scholarship that has revised our understanding of the conflict, including the Japanese decision to provoke a war that few in their highest circles thought they could win. The result is a page-turning history that does justice to the breadth and depth of a tremendous subject.

Ian W. Toll is the author of Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy (W.W. Norton, 2006). Six Frigates won broad critical acclaim and was selected for the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, the William E. Colby Award, and New York Times “Editor’s Choice” list. He lives in San Francisco, California.