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"Books about Naval Battles at Guadalcanal?" Topic

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22 Jan 2013 12:40 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Books about Naval Battles at Guadalcanal." to "Books about Naval Battles at Guadalcanal?"
  • Removed from WWII Naval Discussion board
  • Crossposted to WWII Media board

920 hits since 22 Jan 2013
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Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 11:45 a.m. PST

A friend of mine had recomended those books for reading.
Please, anybody else had read any of them and if the answer is yes, comments?
I want to choose two of them.






Many thanks in advance for your guidance.


Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 12:21 p.m. PST

I would recommend Morison's volume on the battles.

John Leahy22 Jan 2013 1:11 p.m. PST

John beat me to it. That's my go to book. Years ago Half Price books had the whole series for sale. I snagged them.



BuckeyeBob22 Jan 2013 1:18 p.m. PST

To answer your direct question: I have read the 5th link posted; Battle of Tassafaronga.
The author was the gunnery officer of USS Maury which was involved in the battle. It is a good analysis of that battle and very readable (i.e. not a dry college level tome). The reviews on do a good job of describing the book. I enjoyed it and gleaned a lot of information about that battle, which the author covers from both sides.
I have not yet read the other books you have listed.

You do realize that for the most part, each book you have listed is about a different battle that occurred in the Guadalcanal area? Your second and third choices, although covering the one battle, are from different perspectives. One covers a surface action and the other the carrier battles. Are you interested in the carrier conflicts? Just one battle? Again, I suggest looking at the reviews on amazon concerning the topic and readability of the author's style. I have found that most reviewers are spot on in those aspects.

If you'd like a recommendation of a book that covers 7 naval engagements during that months long battle, I can highly recommend; Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal.

Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 1:46 p.m. PST

If you'd like a recommendation of a book that covers 7 naval engagements during that months long battle, I can highly recommend; Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal.

On Book TV a few months ago, very absorbing and I'm not a WW2 Naval history guy…I second this recommendation.

Also, there is an old 1950's/1960's PB that should still be available that while dated, was one of the very first books on the campaign. Pretty sure it's called SAVO, or Battle(s) of Savo or some such, the pub date will give it away, try that one too for period analysis.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2013 2:45 p.m. PST

If you only want to read two books I support the recommendations for Morison's volume on Guadalcanal and the Hornfischer book. Good history and riveting reading.

Charlie 1222 Jan 2013 4:57 p.m. PST

Another recommendation for Hornfischer's 'Neptune's Inferno'. Excellent read.

jgibbons22 Jan 2013 6:29 p.m. PST

All of those are pretty good books….

Battle of savo island by Newcomb is good too…

Mapleleaf22 Jan 2013 7:26 p.m. PST

If you want to balance the story yu will need something on the Japanese . I would recommend"A Battle History The Imperial Japanese Navy(1941-1945) by Paul S Dull


dmclellan Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 7:39 p.m. PST

I'll also recommend Neptune's Inferno. Excellent read.

Also Richard Frank's book on the Guadalcanal campaign
He covers the land sea and air campaigns in equal parts. So much of the naval actions revolved around the land campaign, you see a good overall flow of the action. He used recently released Japanese sources when the first edition was published.

McKinstry Fezian22 Jan 2013 9:29 p.m. PST

Not to be redundant but Neptune's Inferno is superb.

Agesilaus Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 9:31 p.m. PST

I agree with Mapleleaf.
Pick any two books written by Americans, but always read some thing written by the Japanese.
The book Mapleleaf recommends has translated chapters by Japanese admirals including an excellent one by Tanaka about the Tokyo Express.
Hara's book "Japanese Destroyer Captain" is also good and there are several others.
I teach History and I often read an account of battle to my class from both points of view. It's the best way to get an idea of what really happened.

Klebert L Hall Inactive Member23 Jan 2013 7:39 a.m. PST

Dull's work is one of the most important on the war, IMO.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2013 10:46 a.m. PST

Many thanks for your good guidance friends!!


cwbuff24 Jan 2013 9:55 a.m. PST

Would add John Prados "Islands of Destiny". A little more coverage of the Japanesse view. Just finished it.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP29 Jan 2013 6:21 p.m. PST

I own most of the books you link to in your OP. In particular, I have the Crenshaw book (your last link), and I recommend it highly. He was a professional naval officer who participated in the campaign, he writes well and insightfully, and appears to have an unbiased perspective. Also, it is very instructive to see the same battle from the differing perspectives of each of the opponents, and he handles that well in this book.

Morison is very good, but he is not always above the politics of the era, and one must keep that in mind (for example, he does a fair amount of injustice to Admiral Fletcher).

For the carrier battles, I suggest one of the John Lundstrom books; either "The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign", or "Black Shoe Carrier Admiral" (this latter is an analysis of Admiral Fletcher's performance at Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal, and is a very superior book; see my Amazon review).

BTW, I realize that the Hornfischer books are very popular, but I suggest you read some of the low-rated reviews of them before making a final buying decision. I did so, and decided that they weren't for me.


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Jan 2013 9:58 p.m. PST

Many thanks to you too guys!.


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