E. B. Potter
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Called a great book worthy of a great man, this definitive biography of the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet in World War II, first published in 1976 and now available in paperback for the first time, continues to be considered the best book ever written about Adm. Chester W. Nimitz. Highly respected by both the civilian and naval communities, Nimitz was sometimes overshadowed by more colorful warriors in the Pacific such as MacArthur and Halsey. Potter's lively and authoritative style fleshes out Admiral Nimitz's personality to help readers appreciate the contributions he made as the principal architect of Japan's defeat. Following the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, President Roosevelt named Nimitz as commander of the Pacific Fleet. An experienced and respected leader, Nimitz was also an effective military strategist who directed U.S. forces as they closed in on Japan, beginning in May and June of 1942 with the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. Nimitz was promoted to the newly-created rank of fleet admiral in 1944 and became the naval equivalent to the army's General Dwight Eisenhower. The book covers his full life, from a poverty-stricken childhood to postwar appointments as Chief of Naval Operations and U.N. mediator. It candidly reveals Nimitz's opinions of Halsey, Kimmel, King, Spruance, MacArthur, Forrestal, Roosevelt, and Truman.
“I’ll bet that damned station wagon won’t be there either.” One of the lieutenants mentioned having been out to one of the army camps on Oahu and finding the troops bored and lonely. “Soft, they’re soft,” said Nimitz. “They’ve got to learn to be hard. They’re not having trouble. They only think they are. We’re going to be here for a long time, and they’d better get used to it.” At about 9:00 p.m. the diners shoved their chairs back and Nimitz said, “Let’s get a breath of fresh air”—his usual
gross of condoms on the island of Oahu, at least not in the Navy’s possession. Anyway, what the dickens did the general want them for? Lamar, deciding the time for action had come, put on his uniform, went up to Admiral Nimitz’s quarters, and awakened him with Vandegrift’s message. Nimitz, not in the least perplexed, smiled and said, “General Vandegrift is probably going to use them on the rifles of his marines to keep out the rain.” September 1942 was for the high command a month of travel and
intricate process, interrupted frequently by questions and criticisms, but when it ended, CinCPac and CinCPac staff knew what the Fifth Fleet intended to do, and the Fifth Fleet had benefited from the comments of CinCPac and CinCPac staff. The plan could now undergo final revision and be mimeographed and distributed. Just when plans for Operation Galvanic seemed firm and settled, the situation down south almost wrecked its timetable. Halsey, about to invade Bougainville Island at Cape Torokina,
ship senior officers got all the interesting and responsible jobs, and ensigns had to settle for routine duties. Moreover, although contemporary naval leaders did not even suspect it, the heyday of the battleship was approaching an end, whereas submarines were yet to reveal their extraordinary capacity as offensive weapons. Nimitz swallowed his disappointment and threw himself wholeheartedly into his new assignment, thereby learning the important lesson that most projects, however
Harbor, 1942 Early Raids by U.S. Carrier Forces The Pacific Areas The Battle of the Coral Sea, May 4–8, 1942 The Battle of Midway: The Approach Scene of Early Operations in the South and Southwest Pacific Areas The Battle of Savo Island, August 9, 1942 The Battle of the Eastern Solomons, August 24, 1942 The Battle of Cape Esperance, October 11–12, 1942 The Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, October 26, 1942 The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal: Cruiser Night Action, November 12–13, 1942 The