New Book on the Battle of Midway to be Published in 2005!
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Read Shattered Sword's Introduction

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Jon Parshall ('s founder) and Tony Tully (longtime contributor to the site) are working on a forthcoming book, entitled Shattered Sword: The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway. Drawing heavily on Japanese sources and operational records, it is the definitive account of the Japanese side of the battle, a story which has not been properly told up until now. Here's what some noted authors are saying about it:

"Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully explain, in an entirely new light and from a fresh perspective, how the Japanese Navy fought the Battle of Midway. Extensively researched, soundly reasoned, and engagingly and colorfully written, Shattered Sword is the most original piece of scholarship on this decisive event since John B. Lundstrom's groundbreaking The First Team."

      — Robert J. Cressman, editor and principal author of A Glorious Page in Our History: The Battle of Midway, 4-6 June 1942  

"Shattered Sword is without doubt the most significant and balanced treatment of the Japanese side of the Battle of Midway and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

      — John B. Lundstrom, author of The First South Pacific Campaign, The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway, and The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign.

Here are some answers to some commonly asked questions about Shattered Sword:

Morning attack on Midway.

"Why does the world need a book on the Japanese side of the battle? Everybody knows what happened to the Japanese at Midway."

Well, it's like this. You may think you know what occurred to the Japanese, but there are many serious flaws in the current histories of the battle.

Here's an example: Midway's defining moment remains the devastating, and seemingly last-minute attack of American dive-bombers against the Japanese carrier task force on the morning of 4 June 1942. The image of Dauntlesses hurtling down from the heavens to drop their bombs on the helpless Japanese carriers, their decks jam-packed with aircraft just moments away from taking off, has been emblazoned on the American consciousness since the day the battle was fought.

Yet this version of events--which has been endlessly repeated in every history of the battle--is fundamentally wrong. In point of fact the Japanese carriers had no strike aircraft on their flight decks, and were nowhere near ready to launch a counterattack against the Americans when they were bombed. Don't believe it? Then take a look at the article we published in the Naval War College Review (or here, in PDF format) for proof. This is just one of the many myths we debunk in Shattered Sword.

Capt. Yanagimoto Ryusaku, Captain of aircraft carrier Soryu

Commander Shogo Masuda, air officer of carrier Akagi

"But how did these errors lie undetected for so long?"

The Western accounts of the Japanese side of the battle have heretofore been built around three primary sources: The after-action log of Admiral Nagumo ("The Nagumo Report"); the interviews with Japanese naval officers conducted after the war by the United States Strategic Bombing Survey ("USSBS"); and Mitsuo Fuchida's book, Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, which was published in the United States in 1955. These three sources, augmented by fragmentary survivor accounts, have formed the backbone of the Japanese account for all Western histories up to this point.

Unfortunately, one of these sources--Fuchida's Midway--is irretrievably flawed. Fuchida's misstatements, which have lain undetected in the West until very recently, have had manifold negative effects on the veracity of the standard English-language battle accounts. His were not minor errors of omission that can be brushed off or explained away-they were fundamental and willful distortions of the truth that must be corrected. Intriguingly, Fuchida's account was overturned and discredited in Japan more than twenty-five years ago. Yet in the West, he has remained as important as the day his book was first published. Shattered Sword is a complete, bottom-up replacement for Fuchida's account, built on new Japanese sources. And that's why any student of the Pacific War needs this book.

Carrier Soryu

0710 B-26 / TBF Avenger attack on Akagi, Hiryu, and Nagara.

"Great! What will be in the book?"

In a nutshell, here's what we aim to give you:

Thud Factor. A comprehensive account containing new information about the battle never before seen. Detailed, but written with all the verve you could ask for. Probably 500+ pages.
Extensive Illustrations. The book is heavily illustrated with over one hundred original drawings and photographs, many of which have never been published or seen only rarely in the West before.
Authoritative Appendices, including extensive information on Japanese flight rosters, the carrier operations in both Midway and the Aleutians, and an improved order of battle with many corrections. We will also cover the Japanese carriers in great detail, including new technical information and comprehensive casualty breakdowns.

Japanese casualty breakdown for Midway

Midway carrier crew rosters

"Cool! When's it coming out?"

Shattered Sword is scheduled to be published in late fall, 2005.

Collision of Mikuma and Mogami

Mailing List
If you want to be on the Shattered Sword mailing list, we'll be happy to keep you up to date on the progress of the book, including letting you know when we publish.

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Latest News
Here's what's going on with Shattered Sword:

Well, the book is now completely indexed (what a big job) and typeset. I am waiting for the final proof edits to come back from Potomac, but from what I am hearing from my production editor on that end, there's not much to do--the manuscript is very clean. So, after that we just have to hammer down the last little items, and then this thing goes to press! Woo hoo! Also, the Introduction is now up on this site, so you can take a look at what you're going to get. Likewise, I just found out yesterday from a friend in the UK that we're already up on! I have to admit that I'm pretty stoked to see that. We're getting closer to making this a reality all the time!

I can't believe it's been two months since I've posted an update! Shattered Sword has been laid out, and is now in for final proof-reading, while I attend to the index. So, that's a big job that's been completed, and a final big job left to go. However, the feedback on the book has been great at the publisher. When your production editor says, "Don't get a big head or anything, but it's a fantastic book. :-) I'm already planning to set aside some comps. for my Xmas gifts......" you have to be on the right track. Also, in another piece of good news, I have managed to secure photographic rights to some rare images from the Fukui Shizuo collection in Japan, meaning that Shattered Sword will contain several pictures that have never been printed before in the West. I'm very excited about that! Finally, as soon as I get the okey-dokey, I will be posting the Introduction to Shattered Sword here on the web site.

So, you probably already guessed that Shattered Sword is going to be a big book. Yet, we still want it to be affordable (i.e. a price tag of under $40.00). In an effort to keep Shattered Sword's cost to a minimum, I have reached a somewhat unusual agreement with Potomac Books. Instead of their internal production department laying out and typesetting the book, I am going to be taking on those duties. I have Adobe InDesign, and some background in desktop publishing in times past, so it's my baby now. Wish me luck!

Well, the cover design has been finalized by Potomac, and I've put it up on the site. You can see the full-sized image of it here

We've gotten a very favorable reaction to this page, with lots of people signing up. I've tried to answer as many emails as I can, but it can be a daunting task. Also, as soon as the book's Introduction makes it through copy-editing, we will be posting it here on the site. This will help people get a taste for the book, as well as some of the issue's we'll be tackling. So check back from time to time. I'll be emailing the list to let folks know when it's been posted, of course.

The revised manuscript is now finished and is back in the hands of Brasseys. Thus far, the manuscript has been reviewed by John Lundstrom, Osamu Tagaya, Mark Peattie, Robert Cressman, James Sawruk, Donald Goldstein, and Mark Horan. The reviews we've received so far have been (if I do say so myself) very favorable. I can't wait to see the catalog copy! All illustrations are now completed, and we're just trying to tie up loose ends on some of the photographic permissions. Soon enough, though, I will have to start dealing with galleys, and the index, which by all accounts is just a lot of fun (not!)

We are pleased to announce that Potomac Books (formerly Brasseys) has signed a deal with us for publication of Shattered Sword, scheduled for the fall of 2005. We couldn't be happier with having reached an agreement with Potomac Books, as they have a very well-established reputation for excellence in the field of military history.

Tony and I are pleased to announce that we have secured the services of Mr. James Hornfischer, a noted literary agent. Jim has represented a number of very succesful authors, and has represented several NY Times non-fiction bestsellers. You can visit Jim's site by clicking here. We are thrilled to be working with Jim, not only because of his professional reputation, but also because of his genuine love of naval history. Jim is currently working on a forthcoming book of his own on the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The manuscript is about seventy-five percent complete at this point. Many of the illustrations are completed as well. Still working on tracking down the photos, though--that's going to be tough. But we're determined to have more than the same old photographs you've already seen in other Midway books.

Disclaimer: Due to the vagaries of the editing and publishing process, illustrations and photographs shown on this page may, or may not, appear in the final published work, and/or may appear differently than depicted here.