Most books about Guadalcanal concentrate on the gallant stand of the 1st Marine Division. Hammel has written the first comprehensive study of the overall campaign, demonstrating that Guadalcanal was as much a matter of air and surface action as it was a land battle. In the concluding volume of his Guadalcanal trilogy, he maintains that the inability of the Japanese to overcome the Marines' ``Cactus Air Force'' was the ultimate cause of their defeat; nevertheless, most of the narrative concerns the victory of the U.S. Navy at sea and the awesome confrontations between battleships, cruisers, and destroyers during the climactic three-day battle. Until that turning point in the Pacific war, surface warships of the Navy had lost every engagement with their Japanese counterparts. The victory prevented the Japanese from reinforcing their garrison ashore and at the same time enabled the Americans to augment the precarious foothold established by the Marines. Hammel's description of surface tactics, naval gunnery, and what happens when the order to abandon ship is given is vivid and memorable. Illustrations. (October)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988 Release date: 09/01/1988 Genre: Nonfiction
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