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Miracle at Midway

Book Review

 

Title:

Miracle at Midway

Author:

Gordon W. Prange

Publisher:

Viking Press

ISBN:

0-140-06814-7

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

February, 2003

Rating:

In Miracle at Midway, Gordon W. Prange outlines in the greatest  possible detail the events leading up to, through and after the battle of Midway.  This is a paperback book of about 470 pages.

Arguably the most decisive naval engagement of World War II, the defeat of the Japanese naval forces at Midway signaled the decline of  Japanese military power in the Pacific. In Miracle at Midway, the author provides  insights into the personalities and events that shaped this historic battle.  In addition to merely telling the story of the fight as so many works of this type do, he uses direct interviews with participants of the battle to provide  a first-person perspective to the events. The author pays attention to detail  for both the Japanese and American navies, providing a balanced and relatively  unbiased look at events.

The outstanding feature of this book is its attention to the smallest details. While some readers may find the onslaught of minutia distracting,  other readers will find they are learning intimate details about the personalities  on both sides that they were previously unfamiliar with. More than just a timetable of events, Miracle at Midway follows the players in this great drama into their pasts and futures. When recollection of events varies from different sources or there are not very many actual facts, Mr. Prange attempts to determine what was the most likely scenario or result, and explains the reasoning for his conclusions.

The greatest drawback of this work is also its greatest  feature - that so much small detail is covered. At times it becomes a little  difficult to follow the story if one is unfamiliar with the battle. It would  have been an improvement to have better illustrations and maps, although the  apparent wealth of research makes up for these disparities to some degree. Those readers familiar with other Gordon Prange books will find this one equal in  the amount of detail, although the presentation is perhaps a little more disorganized than usual.

Any history or war buff will want to review this book. A number of new and interesting facts come to life direct from the mouths of actual participants of the battle, and the reader is sure to gain new insight into  both the battle and the personalities of the men that fought it.

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