Featured Book

January, 2008

"America's Fighting Admirals"

Book Review
by Bob Hackett

"America's Fighting Admirals" by World War II Navy veteran and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Tuohy (Zenith Press, St. Paul, MN 2007). Hardbound, with dust cover, retails for about $26.00, ISBN 13-978-0-7603-2985-6.

Tuohy’s "America's Fighting Admirals” follows his earlier “The Bravest Man: Richard O'Kane and the Amazing Submarine Adventures of the USS Tang”. Tuohy’s new book is easily one of the most readable, comprehensive and well-researched books I have seen about America’s top naval leaders, their adversaries and the war at sea in World War II. His fast-paced and wide-ranging account concisely examines and summarizes key actions and players at war in the vast expanses of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Tuohy analyzes the strategy, detailed planning and execution of the war's major campaigns by America’s fighting admirals and provides brief, but concise overviews of each major battle from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo and North Africa to Normandy.

The roles of great personalities such as King, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, Fletcher, Mitscher, Turner and Kinkaid are well covered, but Tuohy provides new details on lesser-known flag officers such as Jack Towers, "Slew" McCain, "Ching" Lee, "31-knot" Burke, "Uncle Dan" Barbey, "Tip" Merrill, "Pug" Ainsworth, "Close-in" Conolly and many others. Tuohy's battle coverage includes the Fighting Admirals' counterpart foes in the Imperial Japanese Navy such as admirals Yamamoto, Nagumo, Ozawa, Kurita, Nishimura, "tenacious" Tanaka and others.

This well-organized 400-page book contains an introduction, 31 chapters, an epilogue, brief biographical highlights of 54 admirals, plus Marine LtGen Holland M. "Howlin" Mad" Smith and Army Gen Douglas MacArthur, a list of sources, chapter notes, maps, 14 pages of flag officers’ photographs and unit, vessel and general indices.

I highly recommend this book. For the historian, it provides a fresh look at well-documented events and personalities. For the layman, it provides a sweeping picture of the greatest naval leaders of the greatest fleet fighting the greatest naval war in history. It supplements earlier works such as Pfannes and Salamone's The Great Admirals of World War II: The Americans, Boyne’s Clash of Titans and Howarth’s Men At War. I thoroughly enjoyed Tuohy’s excellent book and give it five stars.

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