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The Eagle's Claw: A Novel of the Battle of Midway

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In a riveting tale that picks up where To Wake the Giant left off, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Shaara transports us to the Battle of Midway in another masterpiece of military historical fiction. Spring 1942. The United States is reeling from the blow the Japanese inflicted at Pearl Harbor. But the Americans are determined to turn the tide. The key comes from Comm In a riveting tale that picks up where To Wake the Giant left off, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Shaara transports us to the Battle of Midway in another masterpiece of military historical fiction. Spring 1942. The United States is reeling from the blow the Japanese inflicted at Pearl Harbor. But the Americans are determined to turn the tide. The key comes from Commander Joe Rochefort, a little known "code breaker" who cracks the Japanese military encryption. With Rochefort's astonishing discovery, Admiral Chester Nimitz will know precisely what the Japanese are planning. But the battle to counter those plans must still be fought. From the American side, the shocking conflict is seen through the eyes of Rochefort and Admiral Nimitz, as well as fighter pilot Lieutenant Percy "Perk" Baker and Marine Gunnery Sergeant Doug Ackroyd. On the Japanese side, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is the mastermind. His key subordinates are Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, aging and infirm, and Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi, a firebrand who has no patience for Nagumo's hesitation. Together, these two men must play out the chess game designed by Yamamoto, without any idea that the Americans are anticipating their every move on the sea and in the air. Jeff Shaara recounts in electrifying detail what happens when these two sides finally meet, in what will be known ever after as one of the most definitive and heroic examples of combat ever seen. In The Eagle's Claw, he recounts, with his trademark you-are-there immediacy and signature depth of research, one single battle that changed not only the outcome of a war but the course of our entire global history. The story of Midway has been told many times, but never before like this.


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In a riveting tale that picks up where To Wake the Giant left off, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Shaara transports us to the Battle of Midway in another masterpiece of military historical fiction. Spring 1942. The United States is reeling from the blow the Japanese inflicted at Pearl Harbor. But the Americans are determined to turn the tide. The key comes from Comm In a riveting tale that picks up where To Wake the Giant left off, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Shaara transports us to the Battle of Midway in another masterpiece of military historical fiction. Spring 1942. The United States is reeling from the blow the Japanese inflicted at Pearl Harbor. But the Americans are determined to turn the tide. The key comes from Commander Joe Rochefort, a little known "code breaker" who cracks the Japanese military encryption. With Rochefort's astonishing discovery, Admiral Chester Nimitz will know precisely what the Japanese are planning. But the battle to counter those plans must still be fought. From the American side, the shocking conflict is seen through the eyes of Rochefort and Admiral Nimitz, as well as fighter pilot Lieutenant Percy "Perk" Baker and Marine Gunnery Sergeant Doug Ackroyd. On the Japanese side, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is the mastermind. His key subordinates are Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, aging and infirm, and Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi, a firebrand who has no patience for Nagumo's hesitation. Together, these two men must play out the chess game designed by Yamamoto, without any idea that the Americans are anticipating their every move on the sea and in the air. Jeff Shaara recounts in electrifying detail what happens when these two sides finally meet, in what will be known ever after as one of the most definitive and heroic examples of combat ever seen. In The Eagle's Claw, he recounts, with his trademark you-are-there immediacy and signature depth of research, one single battle that changed not only the outcome of a war but the course of our entire global history. The story of Midway has been told many times, but never before like this.

30 review for The Eagle's Claw: A Novel of the Battle of Midway

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    While I was never one to get excited about war, there’s something about Jeff Shaara and his writing that always invigorates me. It could be that I come away with a new perspective, no matter the story, or that Shaara breathes new life into battles and maneuvers that have long since been presented in history books, but the pieces of fictionalised military history always seem to pull me toward them, no matter who is front and centre. This is another novel set in the Pacific Theatre of the Second W While I was never one to get excited about war, there’s something about Jeff Shaara and his writing that always invigorates me. It could be that I come away with a new perspective, no matter the story, or that Shaara breathes new life into battles and maneuvers that have long since been presented in history books, but the pieces of fictionalised military history always seem to pull me toward them, no matter who is front and centre. This is another novel set in the Pacific Theatre of the Second World War, where the Japanese have recently bombed Pearl Harbor. The Americans are still reeling from it, unsure where to point all the fingers of blame, though they must be careful. The Japanese are not resting on their laurels at all, knowing full well that the American enemy is far from permanently crippled. However, perhaps one key strike at Midway could truly bring the giant to its knees, but it will have to be executed precisely and in complete secret. June 4th, 1942 was the Battle of Midway and what a skirmish it was! Shaara is brilliant in his writing again and fans of his work, or war history with a slight fiction twist will love this piece as well! The attack on Pearl Harbor was like nothing the Americans could have expected. As the country and its military reels at the surprise attack, America must dust itself off and face an enemy that fights in ways European militaries have never considered. Sly, cunning, and without bluster, the Americans face Japan and its slow, yet methodical, military forces that seek to claim control of the seas and the Pacific with a deliberate attack system, based on surprise. While the Americans refuse to bow down in the Spring of 1942, they are unsure of what to expect from their new foe. Peering out along the Pacific, Japan has already claimed much of the Asian islands and is inching towards Hawaii. This is less the aggressive tactics of the Nazis, but could be equally as troubling, when US ships and planes have nowhere they can be safe on the open waters. The Japanese refuse to relax after a successful attack on Pearl Harbor. They seek to keep making their presence known and have utilised some key military planning to choose their next target, in hopes of drawing the Americans into battle. It will have to be both a surprise and calculated, using codes that the Americans could never decipher. Key military commanders have an idea, choosing the island of Midway, but it will not simply fall because someone wishes it. This will have to be calculated and thoroughly planned to ensure success. Clashes between these two military giants have been ongoing, with submarines lurking below and eyeing the battleship and aircraft carriers, making sure to strike when the need arises. However, the battle is not always below the waters, as Navy pilots are scanning the skies and military men scan radio transmissions as well, all in an effort to report to their higher-ups to receive new orders in this game of chess that is being played in a methodical manner, much different than the land battled in Europe around the same time. As both sides inch closer, the prowess of the Japanese is key, with their tactical leaders and determination. However, it will be an American code breaker who learns of the plan and ensures those in leadership (and in the region) are able to prepare for the attack. What follows is not only a battle of military might, but wits and patience, as both sides fight for their survival in a clash that many have said turned the tide of things in the Pacific theatre. Told with sensational detail and using wonderful characters, Jeff Shaara proves that he is a master in the genre and readers with an interest in military history will surely devour this, even if the end result has been renounced many times before. One need not be obsessed with the military to enjoy these stories, though an interest in battle and movement of troops and tactical efforts surely helps. Shaara takes these battles that have been key to American military growth and breathes a new life into them, creating characters who live them. It is a ‘now you are here’ approach that allows the reader to feel a part of the action, while still being surrounded with names and locations that may be familiar to them from history texts and recounting of key skirmishes during wartime. I love it and it truly teaches me while entertaining in equal measure. As with many of his books, Shaara mixes actual historical figures with invented characters. This enriches the book and keeps it exciting for the reader, while also permitting constructed dialogue that may or may not have happened. Shaara’s approach to look at both sides and utilise plots in both military camps helps to give a well-roundedness to the story, adding depth and intrigue. By providing actual historical context in the Afterward, Shaara permits the reader to see where fact met fiction with all those who played a meaningful role in the story itself. I knew little about Midway and even less about many of the men who starred in this piece, but Jeff Shaara made sure I did not leave with the same misunderstandings. His rich delivery of history in an exciting manner left me excited and wanting more, never worried about missing a key part of the narrative. Told from many perspectives, Shaara makes sure the story is thoroughly recounted from all angles, never siding with one group over the other. Each chapter is rich with information, both of the military manoeuvres and those actors involved in things, to the point that the reader can see how much angst and struggle went into the decisions and that this was not simply two sides, hungry for blood and seeking to destroy the other in a sick game. Shaara has always been my go-to for military history with a personal touch and that has not changed. I am happy to invest my time and efforts into his writing. I eagerly await what else he has in store for his large collection of fans. Kudos, Mr. Shaara, for another winner. You dazzle like no author I’ve known in the genre and I appreciate it greatly. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    One of the things that I enjoy about Jeff Shaara's novels is that he makes history come alive. You are right there as events unfold. There is nothing glorious about war or being in the middle of one. In his novels you are often with a young man who one day was at home playing baseball, going to school, working odd jobs. The next thing you know you are in mortal combat. People around you dying. You are in the room with historical figures as they had to make decisions that impacted everyone. The Un One of the things that I enjoy about Jeff Shaara's novels is that he makes history come alive. You are right there as events unfold. There is nothing glorious about war or being in the middle of one. In his novels you are often with a young man who one day was at home playing baseball, going to school, working odd jobs. The next thing you know you are in mortal combat. People around you dying. You are in the room with historical figures as they had to make decisions that impacted everyone. The United States was reeling following the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as Japanese attacks on Wake Island, Guam, the Philippines. Now Japan was planning to lure American aircraft carriers into a trap and occupy Midway. Commander Joe Rochefort was a cryptanalyst stationed a Pearl Harbor and he, along with his team, helped break the Japanese code. In doing so the were able to learn the date and plan for the Japanese attack on Midway. They learned this when they released an unencrypted emergency warning of a failure of the water supply on Midway Island in hopes of provoking a Japanese response thus establishing whether Midway was a target. Tall about fake news! I knew the Battle of Midway was a turning point in the war in the Pacific but had never heard this story. Or heard of Joe Rochefort. In addition to historical figures such as Admiral Chester Nimitz you meet fighter pilot Lieutenant Percy "Perk" Baker and Marine Gunnery Sergeant Doug Ackroyd. On the Japanese side you meet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind, and his subordinates Admiral Chuichi Nagumo and Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi. Each chapter tells part of the story from the characters viewpoint. Overall a fascinating account of a major battle that helped turned the tide for the United States and provided some new insight.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    Shaara is one of my favorite authors, and so I was delighted when I received an invitation to read and review. My thanks go to Net Galley and Random House Ballantine; this book is for sale now. Like everyone else, I bring my own experiences and biases to this novel, and this one is a potential hot potato. I am married to a Japanese citizen, and my in-laws still reside in Japan. The implicit, and at times overt racism that many authors bring to this topic—the Pacific theater of World War II, betw Shaara is one of my favorite authors, and so I was delighted when I received an invitation to read and review. My thanks go to Net Galley and Random House Ballantine; this book is for sale now. Like everyone else, I bring my own experiences and biases to this novel, and this one is a potential hot potato. I am married to a Japanese citizen, and my in-laws still reside in Japan. The implicit, and at times overt racism that many authors bring to this topic—the Pacific theater of World War II, between the U.S. and Japan—ruins my mood for days, and consequently, I won’t even go near most nonfiction or historical fiction that focuses on this aspect of American history. When Shaara published To Wake the Giant, I signed on to read and review with great trepidation; I was afraid that I would not only hate the book, but emerge from it unhappy enough to abandon the author entirely. Imagine my delight when I found the opposite was true. Shaara’s signature format is to portray the events that unfold through the eyes of key participants, delivering staggered narratives that include admirals and pilots on both sides as well as a code breaker on the American side. Shaara sticks to the truth, and by now I know this, so I’m not distracted by the need to fact check information that is new to me. His research and attention to detail is matchless, and his capacity to develop characters on the page makes me feel I would know these men if I ran into them on the street. My review copy, sadly, did not have the maps added, merely noting on what pages they would later be added; however, I once more defer to this author’s track record. I would bet my last dollar that the maps are also excellent. One aspect that is usually a deal breaker for me is the frequent use of the period’s predominant racist slur, when Americans mention the Japanese. There are three syllables in this word, and they should be used. For those that plead that the one syllable word is authentic to the time and place, I would invite them to imagine a similar tale featuring a hypothetical African enemy during the same time period. What would be the expected, authentic term by which Caucasian Americans would refer to such enemy combatants, and to the government from which they hail? For the obtuse, I’ll tell you, it would be the N word. So would you just go ahead and drop it in there for the sake of accuracy, or would you use greater sensitivity and explain the alteration in an author’s note? You’d do the latter. Of course you would. In fact, likely it would be the only way your novel would see the light of day, and rightly so. But here as well, Shaara gets a pass from this reviewer despite his use of the term I abhor, and the reason is his candor, addressing the racism of the time period right up front. Though you might think it obvious, I have never seen a successful author of World War II historical fiction do this, and he is absolutely clear about it. In fact, I began highlighting the introduction—don’t skip it! And when it was done, I found I had highlighted nearly all of it. Whether you are drawn to this book from a love of history and the desire to learn a few things painlessly, or for the escapist entertainment that great novels provide, you can’t go wrong here. This is a damn fine book. I highly recommend it to everyone.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is very well written and a very important topic to study for those of us who have not become familiar with the Battle of Midway for one reason or another. The anniversary in August is coming up and I wanted to educate myself on this topic I know so little about. However...I am getting too upset reading it and have to put it aside for another day, another attempt. I recall watching news coverage last August from Japan but I also remember some ugly incidents when I was very young. I was born This is very well written and a very important topic to study for those of us who have not become familiar with the Battle of Midway for one reason or another. The anniversary in August is coming up and I wanted to educate myself on this topic I know so little about. However...I am getting too upset reading it and have to put it aside for another day, another attempt. I recall watching news coverage last August from Japan but I also remember some ugly incidents when I was very young. I was born in 1945 and prejudice was alive in the US when I was a youngster. I will return to the book later when able. Part of my problem is the writing is very dynamic and takes the reader into the immediacy of the action. One quote in intro: "If the enemy is efficient--prepare for him. If he is arrogant, behave timidly, to encourage his arrogance. Advance when he does not expect you." Sun Tzu, The Art of War, 500 B.C. Library Loan

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dubi

    I've never read Jeff Shaara before. My friend Kevin has been recommending him for years, and I even bought one of his Civil War titles, but have not gotten to it yet. A big reason I didn't get to it is because I've been reading NetGalley ARCs over the past few years. As I was demonstrating NetGalley to Kevin a few weeks ago, The Eagle's Claw came up, which grabbed his attention. I put in a request for it and was approved -- thanks, NetGalley and Mr. Shaara's publisher! A synopsis of The Eagle's C I've never read Jeff Shaara before. My friend Kevin has been recommending him for years, and I even bought one of his Civil War titles, but have not gotten to it yet. A big reason I didn't get to it is because I've been reading NetGalley ARCs over the past few years. As I was demonstrating NetGalley to Kevin a few weeks ago, The Eagle's Claw came up, which grabbed his attention. I put in a request for it and was approved -- thanks, NetGalley and Mr. Shaara's publisher! A synopsis of The Eagle's Claw is straightforward -- an historically accurate re-telling of the pivotal WWII Battle of Midway, seen through the eyes of participants on both sides, all real-life figures. The historical emphasis is on the psychology of the Japanese invasion plan, in reaction to the symbolic impact of the Doolittle raid on the Japanese homeland, and the decisive work of U.S. Navy cryptologists in breaking the Japanese code, thus knowing their movements in advance. But what makes this new re-telling interesting is the literary point of view -- taking real-life characters, from well-known admirals down to unknown pilots and marines, and presenting them as literary characters, with internal monologue, inter-personal dialogue, emotion and personality, action and reaction. Shaara has done an especially good job with the Japanese characters despite significant cultural differences. The pace is brisk, the book is not overlong like historical fiction can sometimes be, and the action is never gratuitous, with strategy getting more attention than tactics, creating a nice balance between the two. The last few chapters are among my favorites, returning to some of the key characters in the aftermath of the battle to examine the impact on their psyche. My only quibble is that some key moments occur too quickly. Trying to explain this without spoilers, it's not clear how the dive bombers went from being so vulnerable to being so deadly, and it's not clear whether lead cryptologist Joe Rochefort was a technical genius or just lucky to be so intuitively correct. I'm particularly vexed at how Yamamoto could plan the invasion of Midway from what he considers a realistic mindset rather than the fantasy that the Japanese were invincible, and yet make so many blunders based on underestimating the Americans and overestimating his own plan. The story of Midway has not gone previously untold. John Ford filmed some of it live in 1942 and created an 18 minute documentary -- watch it on YouTube and get visual images to put alongside Shaara's literary images, even including one of the characters in the book, fighter pilot Jimmy Thatch. In fat, in a nice touch, Shaara gives Ford a couple of cameos in this book -- his complete WWII story is in the excellent book Five Came Back, about five big time Hollywood directors who supported the war effort via filmmaking (also a good Netflix series). The 1970's movie is nonsense, but the 2019 version has been lauded as a faithful history. But Shaara excels by getting inside the heads of participants, making this more than a faithful recreation of events but also a credible depiction of what it was like to be part of it all. He has the benefit of the long form of literary convention compared to cinematic language (although the movie has the benefit of visual spectacle and special effects). My friend Kevin has read many of Shaara's books, but not this one, as it hasn't been released yet. It is currently the only one I've read, although I will be reading more, having already acquired the Pearl Harbor story that precedes this one. So after all of Kevin's recommendations, I can now say to him: read this one, you're gonna like it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Kolwinska

    A great follow up to To Wake the Giant.” Some of the characters show up in this novel. While not as intimate as some of his earlier novels, you do get to understand the motivations of the characters and to identify with them. Midway was a critical turning point in the war. Shaara does a great job in drawing the scene and bringing the battle into focus. If you enjoy historic fiction, I think you will enjoy this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    If you’re a military history buff, the Battle of Midway is a well-known story. Historians have claimed that Midway was the most complete naval victory since Horatio Nelson’s near annihilation of the Spanish and French fleets at Trafalgar in 1805. In May 1942, Japan was the premier naval power of the world. The attack on Pearl Harbor the previous December left America’s Pacific fleet in tatters, with one notable exception: the United States still had her carriers. The key to turning the tide come If you’re a military history buff, the Battle of Midway is a well-known story. Historians have claimed that Midway was the most complete naval victory since Horatio Nelson’s near annihilation of the Spanish and French fleets at Trafalgar in 1805. In May 1942, Japan was the premier naval power of the world. The attack on Pearl Harbor the previous December left America’s Pacific fleet in tatters, with one notable exception: the United States still had her carriers. The key to turning the tide comes from Commander Joe Rochefort, a little-known “code breaker” who cracks the Japanese military encryption system. Now Admiral Chester Nimitz knows precisely what the Japanese are planning. In typical Shaara style, he recounts in electrifying detail what happens when these two sides finally meet outside a small atoll northwest of Hawaii. With the sinking of four Japanese carriers, the battle will become the turning point of the war in the Pacific. As always, Shaara throws in plenty of interesting tidbits of unique military history – new facts even for those who fully know the story – justifying the price of admission.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Jeff Shaara examines the Battle of Midway and writes about it as a historical fiction in this novel. Historical fiction transports readers to another time and place, either real or imagined. Writing historical fiction requires a balance of research and creativity, and while it often includes real people and events, the genre offers a fiction writer many opportunities to tell a wholly unique story. There are parts of this story that were interesting and some not so much. The decisive work of Joe Jeff Shaara examines the Battle of Midway and writes about it as a historical fiction in this novel. Historical fiction transports readers to another time and place, either real or imagined. Writing historical fiction requires a balance of research and creativity, and while it often includes real people and events, the genre offers a fiction writer many opportunities to tell a wholly unique story. There are parts of this story that were interesting and some not so much. The decisive work of Joe Rochefort and his U.S. Navy cryptologists in breaking the Japanese code, thus knowing there movements in advance aided the U.S. military in winning the Battle of Midway had me glued to the book. The closeups of the pilots on both sides was interesting and fair. As a novelist, he has license to wander off on any number of tangents, or build the characters in interesting ways but I felt there was to much babble going on each chapter, as this was constant theme throughout the book, and it was irritating and confusing at times. At times this babbling didn't add much to the plot of the story and had me rereading chapters to understand what the story was about. Maybe that is one of the challenges of writing historical fiction. While every story succeeds or disappoints on the basis of these elements, historical fiction has the added challenge of bringing the past to life. Sharra also frequently choose to explore notable historical figures in these settings, allowing readers to better understand how these individuals might have responded to their environments. The depictions of Yamamoto and Admiral Nimitz I felt were very different from what other biographers and historians have discussed about them. For an overall perspective on what happened the book is fine yet, I had high hopes for this one but it fell short. I am not sure where it missed my mark but it seemed flat. No spark, snap or lightening like some of his other book he has written.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    World War II in the Pacific features names that have endured through 80 years: Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Midway, and others. For Midway, the battle was mainly fought in the air over open ocean by carrier-based planes from American and Japan. Shaara gives his reliably excellent account of the battle and the major players from both sides. Of particular interest is his examination of the American cryptographic intelligence unit that deciphered the Japanese military code and allowed the U World War II in the Pacific features names that have endured through 80 years: Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Midway, and others. For Midway, the battle was mainly fought in the air over open ocean by carrier-based planes from American and Japan. Shaara gives his reliably excellent account of the battle and the major players from both sides. Of particular interest is his examination of the American cryptographic intelligence unit that deciphered the Japanese military code and allowed the US Navy to catch the Japanese fleet unprepared. Happening just six months after Pearl Harbor it was a much needed victory for the Americans that had lasting consequences for the balance of naval power. Shaara has made his name with accurately portrayed military historical fiction and to his credit he never glamorizes the horrific actions and losses of battle. The Eagle's Claw joins his impressive lineup of books on WWII.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Like Walter Lord's "Incredible Victory," Jeff Shaara makes the Battle of Midway, the turning point" in the Pacific Theater, come alive...I'm always rankled that Shaara is relegated to the historical fiction section because of his meticulously, researched and constructed dialogues make it on the fiction end of history, but, nevertheless, this is a good read! Like Walter Lord's "Incredible Victory," Jeff Shaara makes the Battle of Midway, the turning point" in the Pacific Theater, come alive...I'm always rankled that Shaara is relegated to the historical fiction section because of his meticulously, researched and constructed dialogues make it on the fiction end of history, but, nevertheless, this is a good read!

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    Not quite a full month since reading Jeff Shaara's wonderful account of Pearl Harbor, To Wake the Giant: A Novel of Pearl Harbor, this was merely okay by the same standard. The reasons: (1) In spite of Midway being a complex series of events, Shaara made a novel that was not even 2/3 the length of what he wrote about Pearl Harbor. The characters were rushed with not enough depth to get to know any of them. (2) After showing us Pearl Harbor through experiences and observation, Shaara has once aga Not quite a full month since reading Jeff Shaara's wonderful account of Pearl Harbor, To Wake the Giant: A Novel of Pearl Harbor, this was merely okay by the same standard. The reasons: (1) In spite of Midway being a complex series of events, Shaara made a novel that was not even 2/3 the length of what he wrote about Pearl Harbor. The characters were rushed with not enough depth to get to know any of them. (2) After showing us Pearl Harbor through experiences and observation, Shaara has once again resorted to the formula of late: officials in a room engaged in talk-talk-talk. This is what really dragged down The Frozen Hours, and it's annoying here too. (3) With Pearl Harbor, Shaara made us feel the terror of the action with nearly every explosion and casualty. With Midway, it flashes forwards at times. We experience one air carrier for each side with minimal detail. (4) Specific to the audiobook versions: After using Mark Bramhall as a narrator for To Wake The Giant in such a thoroughly satisfying performance, for some reason the Shaara team felt compelled to return to Paul Michael for this book. Paul Michael isn't a bad narrator, but he isn't nearly the same skill as Bramhall, and worse: It's at least his 10th Shaara book from no fewer than 4 different wars that are covered, and he makes every last one of them sound exactly the same. 2.5 stars but I'm rounding up because (sorry, but here's another list): (1) I'm giving benefit of the doubt that my frustration with the narrator affects some of the other flaws, and (2) Midway is an incredible historical event that is worth reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Spectre

    As a modern day Kenneth Roberts, Jeff Shaara's historical fiction serves as a terrific starting point for anyone who has an interest in wars and significant battles fought by the United States military ranging from the Revolutionary War through the Korean conflict. His historical insights allow the reader to understand a particular conflict and, through further reading and study, understand the battles from the point of view of Generals and Privates and those in between. His narrative of the bat As a modern day Kenneth Roberts, Jeff Shaara's historical fiction serves as a terrific starting point for anyone who has an interest in wars and significant battles fought by the United States military ranging from the Revolutionary War through the Korean conflict. His historical insights allow the reader to understand a particular conflict and, through further reading and study, understand the battles from the point of view of Generals and Privates and those in between. His narrative of the battle that turned the tide in the Pacific Theater, The Battle of Midway, is no exception to his excellent work.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Charles Lewis

    For those of you who have never read anything about the Battle of Midway you'll like The Eagle's Claw. Shaara is pretty good with historical fiction though I still have found his books about the Civil War far better than his books about World War II. For those who have read some history about Midway, partlicularly Craig Symonds "The Battle of Midway," a non-fiction historical account, you might be disappointed. Midway was one of the great sea battles in human history. It occured about six months For those of you who have never read anything about the Battle of Midway you'll like The Eagle's Claw. Shaara is pretty good with historical fiction though I still have found his books about the Civil War far better than his books about World War II. For those who have read some history about Midway, partlicularly Craig Symonds "The Battle of Midway," a non-fiction historical account, you might be disappointed. Midway was one of the great sea battles in human history. It occured about six months after Pearl Harbor when it looked like Japan migh defeat the U.S. The non-fiction version was edge-of-your-seat reading. How American code breakers were able to figure out the Japanese Navy's movements, and then with courage and luck, the Americans turned the tide of WWII in Asia, makes thrilling reading. But The Eagle's Claw to me loses some of that excitement in endless dialogue that does not move the action ahead. His actual battle scene were less dramatic that Symonds's excellent history.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This wasn’t stand out or anything but I was entertained to a certain extent. I don’t enjoy all the fake conversations between historical figures, but since this is tagged as fiction, all right I’ll let it slide. Tells the story of midway pretty well, although you would benefit from reading some history books (non fiction) for better telling. It’s fun to see cameos by some faves like Nimitz, Dick Cole (Doolittles copilot) and Joe rochefort.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven J

    I am a Jeff Shaara fan, but found this book to be was just OK. Very enjoyable with great description of the preparations and execution of the battles for Midway. I found the dialogue of Yamamoto very tedious and repetitive. Maybe he was actually like that, but it got old.

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Lomnicki,

    Good, but the PEARL HARBOR book was great Different insight into the battle, felt like I was watching the Midway movie without Charleton Heston. Maybe a bit too much soul searching. Still I enjoyed it and am waiting for the next book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Bond

    Another great one from Jeff Shaara. Great topic: one of the most important moments in US history, now nearly faded and unknown by many--the Battle of Midway. Highly recommend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Highly-recommended stuff from one of my favourite authors - I devoured it. I didn't really enjoy Shaara's Korean War novel as much as I had his Civil War, World War One and World War Two stuff, so imagine my delight when he delves back into WW2, the second of which is "The Eagle's Claw", focusing on the pivotal battle of Midway. And it was brilliant, gripping, interesting, informative, all the things you want from a great historical novel, without an overly long page count. Loved the John Ford ca Highly-recommended stuff from one of my favourite authors - I devoured it. I didn't really enjoy Shaara's Korean War novel as much as I had his Civil War, World War One and World War Two stuff, so imagine my delight when he delves back into WW2, the second of which is "The Eagle's Claw", focusing on the pivotal battle of Midway. And it was brilliant, gripping, interesting, informative, all the things you want from a great historical novel, without an overly long page count. Loved the John Ford cameo...and everything else about this book. Here's hoping Shaara writes another about WW2 to tie into "The Final Storm," which he wrote about the end of the Pacific War

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Liked most of it. It got boring in the chapters focused on the Japanese carriers. Liked his former novels. This maybe came up a little short. Wasn't clear that we were winning??? Liked most of it. It got boring in the chapters focused on the Japanese carriers. Liked his former novels. This maybe came up a little short. Wasn't clear that we were winning???

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    I am not sure what was different about this book when compared to other Jeff Shaara books, but I really had a hard time getting in to this one. It was probably my least favorite of his books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

    I am grateful to Ballantine Books and Netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this ARC of The Eagle’s Claw: A Novel of the Battle of Midway by Jeff Shaara in exchange for a nonbiased review. While billed as a novel, this book is told from the viewpoint of real historical figures who took part in the planning or events of the Battle of Midway. Shaara’s technique is to use research on these various figures to get the facts straight, but flesh out the story by imaging their thoughts and c I am grateful to Ballantine Books and Netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this ARC of The Eagle’s Claw: A Novel of the Battle of Midway by Jeff Shaara in exchange for a nonbiased review. While billed as a novel, this book is told from the viewpoint of real historical figures who took part in the planning or events of the Battle of Midway. Shaara’s technique is to use research on these various figures to get the facts straight, but flesh out the story by imaging their thoughts and conversations to give the reader the feel of actually being there. The story begins with Doolittle’s Raid and the bombing of Tokyo which although not part of the Midway battle, influenced the actions of both the Japanese and the Americans in leading up to the battle. From the Japanese side the planning is told through the person of Admiral Yamamoto, while the tactical side is told mostly through Admiral Nagumo. Both key figures in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They were determined to set a trap by attacking the island of Midway to draw out the American fleet and destroy our carriers. The planning and strategy from the American side is told through Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander in chief in the Pacific, and Joseph Rochefort in the Naval Intelligence HYPO section. This was a battle largely won or lost through intelligence gathering and analysis, and it was Rocheford’s unit who broke the Japanese code and were able to predict the movements of the Japanese fleet. This allowed the American Navy to turn the tables and launch a surprise attack on the Japanese instead. The action is told through the eyes of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Douglas Ackroyd on Midway itself and Lt. Perk Baker a Navy fighter pilot on the Yorktown. Others featured were Captain Elliott Buckmaster, captain of the Yorktown, and admirals Frank Jack Fletcher and Raymond Spruance. I enjoyed this book very much and found that it had a slightly different view on the strategy from both the Japanese as well as the American side than I had seen before. I now have a much better understanding of the background leading up to the battle. I did find the descriptions of the battle itself to be somewhat lacking. While I enjoyed the view from the cockpit of a fighter, I really missed not including anything from the view of the all-important dive bombers, the group that really won the battle. I think providing a view from one of the Dauntless dive bomber pilots would have made it possible to show a more complete view at the battle. Without it, the description seemed a bit rushed and lacking in depth. Overall, I enjoyed this book and picked up a lot of new perspective. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a new view of this battle that was a turning point in the war in the Pacific.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    352 pages 5 stars Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is the planner and in overall charge of the mission for the Japanese to attack Midway Island, drive the Americans off and take it over themselves. They know that this will give them a landing strip and a small base from which to attack Australia. It also gives them a base closer to Japan and easier to supply. Surrounding Yamamoto are his subordinates. Some are very loyal. Under Yamamoto's command is Admiral Nagumo. He is an older man who has a tendency to 352 pages 5 stars Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is the planner and in overall charge of the mission for the Japanese to attack Midway Island, drive the Americans off and take it over themselves. They know that this will give them a landing strip and a small base from which to attack Australia. It also gives them a base closer to Japan and easier to supply. Surrounding Yamamoto are his subordinates. Some are very loyal. Under Yamamoto's command is Admiral Nagumo. He is an older man who has a tendency to dither before making decisions. He makes a major blunder following the first sortie. Commander Gendo is in charge of the training of his pilots. He is very good at his job. And a host of other Japanese admirals, commanders, pilots and sailors. On the American side are fighter pilot Lieutenant Percy “Perk” Baker and Lieutenant Thach, his squad leader. We also have Admiral Nimitz, Gunnery Doug Sergeant Ackroyd of the Army who is stationed on Midway, and Captain Joseph Rochefort who is a crypto-analyst who is a genius at reading the coded dispatches of the Japanese. He is also irreverent and not good at personal relations. Jimmie Doolittle and his crew bomb cities in Japan. John Ford also makes a cameo appearance on Midway. This is an exciting and emotional book. We see the Battle of Midway from several perspectives. The ordinary soldier, the crypto-analyst, the officers and their subordinates. From my understanding of the battle, it is true to the facts. The men are beset by doubts and pretty terrified at times, but they do their duty. I liked the inner dialogue that each character carried on within himself. It gives the reader a very good understanding of not only the man, but their emotional state as well. The book is well written and plotted. Mr. Shaara does his usual stunning job in describing both the conditions and mind set of the men involved in the battle. The one thing I did not realize was that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was killed during the war. I want to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine/Ballantine for forwarding to me a copy of this remarkable book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    CoffeeBreakBooks

    The Eagle's Claw is a gripping historical tale, completely enveloping the reader by incorporating powerful imagery, settings, and characters.  Author Jeff Shaara has again excelled in penning a forceful, uplifting, and can't put it down true story of heroes of the Battle of Midway, one of the most famous and decisive naval battles in history.  Introductory chapters set the stage by depicting the planning and preparation for battle.  CINCPAC, the diplomatic and resolute Admiral Chester Nimitz, is The Eagle's Claw is a gripping historical tale, completely enveloping the reader by incorporating powerful imagery, settings, and characters.  Author Jeff Shaara has again excelled in penning a forceful, uplifting, and can't put it down true story of heroes of the Battle of Midway, one of the most famous and decisive naval battles in history.  Introductory chapters set the stage by depicting the planning and preparation for battle.  CINCPAC, the diplomatic and resolute Admiral Chester Nimitz, is ably assisted by intelligence officer Commander Joe Rochefort and Admirals Fletcher,  Halsey, and Spruance, among others.  On the Japanese side, Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chuichi Nagumo, and their respective staff are portrayed. The Japanese hoped to lure the American fleet into a battle during which their aircraft carriers could inflict a decisive blow, thus leaving them in control of the strategic Midway Islands.  However, much of the American fleet proved far more resilient than the Japanese had anticipated.  The Eagle's Claw depicts the overconfidence that went into the Japanese planning for the attack. Admiral Yamamoto expressed concerns for the growing presence of the “victory disease” influencing the thinking of Japanese naval officers.  At the same time the U.S. Navy, although outmatched by the Japanese in certain respects, had the key advantages of knowing beforehand some of the Japanese plans and of surprise. Shaara, through meticulous research including diaries, interviews, and archives, both educates and entertains us with a variety of firsthand character viewpoints, from admirals to gunnery sergeants to pilots.  The reader will come to understand exactly how and why this battle was so pivotal. Luck did play a part, but the outcome primarily rested with the men who made the various decisions.  Among the most fascinating characters was Commander Joe Rochefort, the far from spit and polish intelligence officer.    Enjoying history, I have read a number of books regarding the war, along with hearing stories from family members who served.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steve Wilkerson

    Turning history into fictional narrative is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult forms to achieve successfully. The events are there in the sequence they took place, but the writer has to turn those events into an engaging fictional narrative without too much distortion. The trick is to select the events which make the most interesting narrative without turning it into a chronicle. Turning historical individuals of recent memory into fictional characters is especially difficult. Although WW Turning history into fictional narrative is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult forms to achieve successfully. The events are there in the sequence they took place, but the writer has to turn those events into an engaging fictional narrative without too much distortion. The trick is to select the events which make the most interesting narrative without turning it into a chronicle. Turning historical individuals of recent memory into fictional characters is especially difficult. Although WWII is more than 70 years in the past, the individuals are still vivid. personalities. Since the outcome of the Battle of Midway is well known to anyone who reads American history, Shaara has the added challenge of creating fictional tension and resolution, necessary requisites for a good piece of fiction. I don't think Shaara succeeded on all counts with this novel. The selection and narrative of the events is good, and I think he creates some tension within the narrative of the battle. I find that portion engaging, although I knew the outcome. His characterizations of historical characters, Chester Nimitz, Joe Rochefort, Doug Ackroyd, Jimmie Thach, Chuichi Nagumo, Matome Ugaki, Isoroku Yamamoto, and others are cardboard. I know that the goal of the novelist is to humanize rather than mythologize; Schaara does neither. They are, after all, personages one can encounter in any history of the Pacific Theater of War. I know it's extremely difficult to portray an individual's brilliance, charisma, and leadership style in a novel, but that's the challenge Shaara set for himself when he started the novel. Some of these men have attained the pinnacle of their professions; they hold great power. Those are attributes which are hard to characterize in a novel, and I don't believe these characters are believable. They're stiff and essentially uninteresting. Actions always speak louder than words; most of these characters have little action, which contributes to the hollowness because Sharra had to do it with dialogue, but the dialogue is terrible, consistent with the cardboard characterizations, or, perhaps the dialogue is reason the characterizations are cardboard. It's artificial and unimaginative, not at all how people converse, especially in extremely tense situations, like waiting for the outcome of a battle or engaging in battle. None of the characters were convincing. Yamamoto, especially, never comes across. Shaara just doesn't portray what he calls the "Victory Disease" of the Japanese well. The "Afterword: is worth reading because he humanizes the major characters better there than he does in the narrative. Even if you are unfamiliar with the Battle of Midway Island and the personages involved, there are better and more entertaining books available.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Glady

    I received a free advanced ebook of The Eagle's Claw from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Jeff Shaara's latest novel is a fast paced take on the Battle of Midway. Still reeling after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the uncertainty of the Battle of Coral Sea, American forces appear weak and unprepared. But the American forces have a secret weapon - they have a crack cryptoanalysis team stationed at Pearl Harbor. This team has made astonishing gains on cracking Japanese codes that prov I received a free advanced ebook of The Eagle's Claw from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Jeff Shaara's latest novel is a fast paced take on the Battle of Midway. Still reeling after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the uncertainty of the Battle of Coral Sea, American forces appear weak and unprepared. But the American forces have a secret weapon - they have a crack cryptoanalysis team stationed at Pearl Harbor. This team has made astonishing gains on cracking Japanese codes that provide a hint of what the Japanese have planned for future naval engagements. Even with some advance knowledge of the enemy's movements, it is a risk to engage them with the limited American aircraft carriers and their less nimble aircraft. Shaara's books have always been the result of extraordinary research and this one is no exception. He manages to get into the heads of military leaders, both American and Japanese, to provide readers with a tale that reads like a contemporaneous account of the battle. Of course readers already know the significance of the Battle of Midway but this version is seat-of-your-pants exciting. Shaara also presents the actions of some less than famous participants. In this particular novel, these people do not have as detailed a depiction as comparable characters in some other of Shaara's works. Readers see less of their backgrounds and therefore less of the "golly gee" nature of people far from home for the first time. Shaara does, however, present military leaders like Nimitz as focused, daring, and dedicated. Neither side has absolute certainty of the location and size of the enemy's forces and their intent. For the Americans, the outcome of the Battle of Midway represents an element of good fortune and serves as a turning point in World War II. #NetGalley #TheEagle'sClaw

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jo Anne

    Jeff Shaara's The Eagle's Claw, proves once again that he is a master at making events that took place almost 80 years ago feel as if they are taking place in the moments you are reading them today. What makes this book so very special is that it provides the back story of how the skill and intuitiveness of the Navy codebreakers, led by the brilliant Joseph Rochefort, and the skill and bravery of Naval aviators and sailors and those who led them, achieved a victory that otherwise could have never Jeff Shaara's The Eagle's Claw, proves once again that he is a master at making events that took place almost 80 years ago feel as if they are taking place in the moments you are reading them today. What makes this book so very special is that it provides the back story of how the skill and intuitiveness of the Navy codebreakers, led by the brilliant Joseph Rochefort, and the skill and bravery of Naval aviators and sailors and those who led them, achieved a victory that otherwise could have never been achieved. Very simply, the Japanese Navy, in terms of weaponry and readiness, would and should have won the battle of Midway but the knowledge made available by Naval intelligence turned the tables and gave our Navy an enormous advantage, an advantage they fully utilized. What makes the battle of Midway so important? As the author makes clear, that battle came at a time when Japan had experienced virtually nothing but success in its efforts to discourage and defeat American and British forces in the Pacific. After Pearl Harbor, Japan continued to dominate and destroy Allied forces and their momentum was both discouraging and frightening. To a very real degree, the battle of Midway showed that the Japanese could be damaged and defeated and that they could sustain losses that turned around what had appeared to be unstoppable initiative and momentum. The Eagle's Claw introduces us to the fliers, ships' crews, and Naval brass, and how they planned and executed those plans to achieve success. Can't wait to read the next Chapter of Jeff Shaara's saga!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    Shaara, Jeff. The Eagle’s Claw: A Novel of the Battle of Midway. Ballantine, 2021. The Eagle’s Claw is Jeff Shaara’s latest historical novel on the major events of World War II. In many historical novels, fictional characters are placed on a historical stage to act out private dramas. The Eagle’s Claw is more a novelization of history than fiction in a historical setting. Most of his major characters are historical figures and fictional characters play a very minor role. Shaara creates imagined d Shaara, Jeff. The Eagle’s Claw: A Novel of the Battle of Midway. Ballantine, 2021. The Eagle’s Claw is Jeff Shaara’s latest historical novel on the major events of World War II. In many historical novels, fictional characters are placed on a historical stage to act out private dramas. The Eagle’s Claw is more a novelization of history than fiction in a historical setting. Most of his major characters are historical figures and fictional characters play a very minor role. Shaara creates imagined dialogue but does not stray, as far as I can tell, from actions in the historical record. The pace is quick and the action exciting and clearly described. We get a good sense of the conflict between the admirals in the field and their Washington bosses and of the difficulty a nonconforming code breaker had in selling his discoveries to all his superiors but Halsey and Nimitz. We also get a big picture of the Japanese strategy. The idea was to lure American aircraft carriers out from the relative safety of Pearl Harbor and take Midway as a forward operating base. But communication problems, exacerbated by Yamamoto’s imposition of radio silence on his fleet, let the American Navy out maneuver him. His decision to divide his forces in the name of security also proved disastrous. The Japanese Zero was a faster, more maneuverable plane than anything Americans had at the time, but superior American combat tactics prevailed. The most moving story in novel is of the sinking of the aircraft carrier Yorktown. If you like historical fiction, this one makes a quick beach read. 4 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Driscoll

    Jeff Shaara is definitely one of my favorite author's, making American battles and wars come to life more than a history book can. He does this again in The Eagle's Claw with the Battle of Midway quite well, and yet I find myself just a little disappointed ultimately. It's not that the book is bad, or different from previous novels, but I think an artifact of the battle itself. There is very little direct action between the players, the entire battle of actual "fighting" is measured in minutes, Jeff Shaara is definitely one of my favorite author's, making American battles and wars come to life more than a history book can. He does this again in The Eagle's Claw with the Battle of Midway quite well, and yet I find myself just a little disappointed ultimately. It's not that the book is bad, or different from previous novels, but I think an artifact of the battle itself. There is very little direct action between the players, the entire battle of actual "fighting" is measured in minutes, not hours or days. There's not *too* much to talk about there, the actual battle itself is only a few chapters of the book, the rest is the build up, which makes sense but doesn't work as well for a story. Plus he focuses too much on the fighters I believe, and far less on the dive bombers/torpedo bombers, I assume because he mostly spoke to surviving fighters pilots. Also after reading Shattered Sword, you realize how much there actually is to the battle underneath and how some of the myths of the battle that survive due to previous authors (particularly Fuchida's account). Most any Japanese commander would have made the same errors as Nagumo from how doctrinal they were with how to launch planes, which Shaara repeats as being more a personal failing on Nagumo's part. Regardless, it's a good book I read in a few days and makes for a fun read, but it is fiction, so one should keep that in mind before taking away too much from it historically.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Midway was one of the battles of WW2, the turning point of the Pacific War that, six months following Pearl Harbor, announced to Dai Nippon that its days in the sun were numbered. The Japanese planned to seize the Midway Atoll, both as a staging area for a later invasion of Hawaii, and as an opportunity to draw the US carrier fleet into the open, so that it might be destroyed and complete the work begun at Pearl. Unfortunately for Yamamato, US cryptographers were reading enough Japanese transmis Midway was one of the battles of WW2, the turning point of the Pacific War that, six months following Pearl Harbor, announced to Dai Nippon that its days in the sun were numbered. The Japanese planned to seize the Midway Atoll, both as a staging area for a later invasion of Hawaii, and as an opportunity to draw the US carrier fleet into the open, so that it might be destroyed and complete the work begun at Pearl. Unfortunately for Yamamato, US cryptographers were reading enough Japanese transmissions to know that something was being planned – allowing US forces to position themselves to ambush the ambushers. In The Eagle’s Claw, Jeff Shaara takes us through the weeks before Midway and then through the battle itself, using his and his father’s signature style to put us into the minds of various American and Japanese officers and men, from the code-cracking dungeon to the dogfights high above the Pacific. Although the novel rightly lauds Joseph Rochefort’s crypto team for their role in allowing the US Navy to deliver proper vengeance for Pearl Harbor (the Empire lost four of their carriers), Shaara does not omit the factor of glorious luck – of dive bombers arriving over the Japanese carrier fleet just as the Japanese were loading ordinance for a second bombing run on the Atoll, and their fighters running on fumes. Shaara also includes a little scene with John Ford, who had arrived on the Atoll on orders from the OSS.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This is the second book of a duology series from the masterful historical fiction writer Jeff Shaara. I honestly did not know much about the Battle of Midway before reading this book, but it was an excellent follow-up to his book about Pearl Harbor, To Wake the Giant. The book tells the story from the perspective of some of the important people involved in this historical conflict. The story-telling was wonderfully crafted and pulled me into this time period. This book covers the time period fro This is the second book of a duology series from the masterful historical fiction writer Jeff Shaara. I honestly did not know much about the Battle of Midway before reading this book, but it was an excellent follow-up to his book about Pearl Harbor, To Wake the Giant. The book tells the story from the perspective of some of the important people involved in this historical conflict. The story-telling was wonderfully crafted and pulled me into this time period. This book covers the time period from the Doolittle Raid through the aftermath of the Battle of Midway. Shaara does a great job of telling an unbiased story from both the American side and the Japanese side. I did not realize how fast I was going through this story until I realized that the battle was over. It was that engrossing. Shaara does a great job of bringing the people and historical context to life. At the end of the book, I was truly sad to know that these people's stories were finished. I know that this has been planned as a two book set, but I would love to read more about the stories from the Pacific, maybe a story about the atomic bombings and aftermath. A splendid read.

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