Admiral “Bull” Halsey: The Life and Wars of the Navy’s Most Controversial Commander

John Wukovits, Author
John Wukovits, Palgrave Macmillan, $32 (304p) ISBN 978-0-230-60284-7
Reviewed on: 05/03/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-230-10959-9
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Popular military historian Wukovits economically and convincingly refurbishes a WWII hero inappropriately grown unfashionable. Contemporary evaluations of Adm. William F. Halsey present him as a media creation, whose heroic words and posturing camouflaged mediocrity. Wukovits, in contrast, describes the early career that persuaded Halsey of the sovereign importance of acting “promptly, and with decision.” The author stresses Halsey’s ability to inspire loyalty and respect in his men, his skills as a trainer, and his success in developing harmonious interservice and interallied relationships. All were vital in the war’s early stages, when odds were even and resources limited. Halsey’s aggressive command style gave momentum and structure to the vital South Pacific campaign—where, the admiral said, “we broke their backs.” Halsey then became, with Raymond Spruance, part of naval history’s greatest operational command team. By 1945 he brought the war to the home islands of Japan with devastating surface/air bombardments. His mistakes at Leyte Gulf, while not trivial, reflected commitment to decisive action. Wukovits fully justifies “Bull” Halsey’s place among America’s greatest admirals. (July)
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