Books arranged chronologically by event beginning with general period overviews
Pacific Crucible: World War II at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942,
by Ian W. Toll (2012 - 656pp)
The best current overview of the first 18 months of WW II. Japan's military expansion, Pearl Harbor and their cataclysmic loss of 4 carriers at Midway.
Still the definitive work on U.S. Navy ops during WW II. Excellent overviews of the personalities, strategies, defeats and victories in the Pacific, Atlantic and Med. Great maps.
Eagle Against the Sun, by Ronald Spector (1985 - 624pp)
Very readable, 1 vol high level look at the entire Pacific war from both the U.S and Japanese sides. Personalities of military greats, major battles.
Timeless 1957 classic of Pearl Harbor based on 577 eye-witness interviews. Still the best, most dramatic and concise coverage of this infamous day. (1957 - 288pp)
Easily, the most comprehensive, detailed, objective work on Pearl Harbor...prewar politics with Japan, military impact and later internal fallout.
Days of Infamy, by Newt Gingrich and William R Forstchen (2009 - 450pp)
Dramatic, engaging, historical fiction covering Admirals Halsey and Nimitz at sea during the days after Pearl on the carriers the Japanese missed.
Pacific Alamo, by John Wukovitz (2004 - 320pp)
Gritty, heroic story of one the U.S. military's finest hours. Wake's defenders refused surrender, bought time after Pearl, decimated Japanese invaders.
Darkest Hour: The True Story of Lark force at Rabaul, by Bruce Gamble
(2006 - 304pp)
One of the most gripping, tragic stories of the war of 1500 men and 6 nurses of the Aussie garrison at Rabual captured by the Japanese.
The main Japanese stronghold in the S.E. Pacific after its capture from a small Aussie force, Rabaul was an ongoing strategic problem for the U.S.
Ship of Ghosts, by James Hornfischer (2007 - 544)
Gripping story of the battle of the Java Sea, heroic crew of the USS Houston, flagship of the Asiatic fleet which was sunk and crew imprisoned in S.E. Asia.
Tears in the Darkness: The True Story of the Bataan Death March, Michael Norman (2010 - 496pp)
Heartrending, very human story of the brutal treatment by the Japanese, removal to labor camps on the mainland, post-war guilt of many Japanese guards.
Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid on Tokyo, James M Scott( 2015, Apr - 672pp)
Harvard Nieman Fellow Scott puts the famed Doolittle raid in a marvelously entertaining broad context based on new documents and intro's to a cast of WW II characters
Blue Skies and Blood, by Edwin M. Hoyt (1975 - 340pp)
The U.S lost the carrier Lexington, but halted a Japanese advance on Australia and sank two carriers contributing to their disaster at Midway.
The Admirals, by Walter Bornemen (2013 - 608 pp)
Exceptional naval history of the American Admirals who helped win the war in the Pacific. Great vignettes about these larger than life figures who risked all for god and country.
Rising Tides, by Taylor Anderson (2009 - 416pp)
Destroyermen Fiction Series # 5: Pure sci-fi fantasy and total fun. Naval historical fiction set in the Java Sea in 1942 as units of the U.S. fleet fight the Japanese and an unexpected foe from the distant past.
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