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The Silver Waterfall: How America Won the War in the Pacific at Midway

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Eighty years after the stunning and decisive battle, a revelatory new history of Midway The Battle of Midway was, on paper, an improbable victory for the smaller, less experienced American navy and air force, so much so that it was quickly described as “a miracle.” Yet fortune favored the Americans at Midway, and the conventional wisdom has it that the Americans’ lucky stre Eighty years after the stunning and decisive battle, a revelatory new history of Midway The Battle of Midway was, on paper, an improbable victory for the smaller, less experienced American navy and air force, so much so that it was quickly described as “a miracle.” Yet fortune favored the Americans at Midway, and the conventional wisdom has it that the Americans’ lucky streak continued as the war in the Pacific turned against the Japanese. This new history demonstrates that luck, let alone miracles, had little to do with it.  In The Silver Waterfall, Brendan Simms and Steven McGregor show how the efforts of America’s peacetime navy combined with creative innovations made by designers and industrialists were largely responsible for the victory. The Douglas Dauntless Dive Bomber, a uniquely conceived fighting weapon, delivered a brutally accurate attack the Japanese quickly came to dread.  Told through a vivid narrative, Simms and McGregor show how the course of the war in the Pacific was dramatically altered, emphasizing the crucial combination of a culture of innovation, a brilliant contribution from immigrants, and a vital intelligence coup that allowed the navy to orchestrate the devastating attack on the Japanese and dominate the Pacific for good.


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Eighty years after the stunning and decisive battle, a revelatory new history of Midway The Battle of Midway was, on paper, an improbable victory for the smaller, less experienced American navy and air force, so much so that it was quickly described as “a miracle.” Yet fortune favored the Americans at Midway, and the conventional wisdom has it that the Americans’ lucky stre Eighty years after the stunning and decisive battle, a revelatory new history of Midway The Battle of Midway was, on paper, an improbable victory for the smaller, less experienced American navy and air force, so much so that it was quickly described as “a miracle.” Yet fortune favored the Americans at Midway, and the conventional wisdom has it that the Americans’ lucky streak continued as the war in the Pacific turned against the Japanese. This new history demonstrates that luck, let alone miracles, had little to do with it.  In The Silver Waterfall, Brendan Simms and Steven McGregor show how the efforts of America’s peacetime navy combined with creative innovations made by designers and industrialists were largely responsible for the victory. The Douglas Dauntless Dive Bomber, a uniquely conceived fighting weapon, delivered a brutally accurate attack the Japanese quickly came to dread.  Told through a vivid narrative, Simms and McGregor show how the course of the war in the Pacific was dramatically altered, emphasizing the crucial combination of a culture of innovation, a brilliant contribution from immigrants, and a vital intelligence coup that allowed the navy to orchestrate the devastating attack on the Japanese and dominate the Pacific for good.

42 review for The Silver Waterfall: How America Won the War in the Pacific at Midway

  1. 4 out of 5

    William Harris

    I have recently concluded my read of an illuminating book, sort of a technical history, entitled "The Silver Waterfall: How America Won the War in the Pacific at Midway." The ARC was provided to me by the publisher, Public Affairs. There have obviously been many books and even films on the Battle of Midway; superb narrative histories are out there for those of you looking to review the details of the battle itself. Even a spate of recent novels fictionalizing the action at Midway offer much to t I have recently concluded my read of an illuminating book, sort of a technical history, entitled "The Silver Waterfall: How America Won the War in the Pacific at Midway." The ARC was provided to me by the publisher, Public Affairs. There have obviously been many books and even films on the Battle of Midway; superb narrative histories are out there for those of you looking to review the details of the battle itself. Even a spate of recent novels fictionalizing the action at Midway offer much to the discerning reader. This book, however, sets itself apart in that it examines at some length the weapons and tactical doctrines as well as procedures and protocols adapted by the warring powers. I found its discussion of weapons systems, principally the U. S. Navy aircraft and carriers and their Japanese opponents, a refreshing change from a more routine recitation of who bombed who when. Looking at things like the different procedures for storing aircraft on board and fire control procedures is very revealing in this context and had an enormous influence on the outcome of this crucial battle. For the reader who has never looked at these details, it is most enlightening. It is a very worthwhile addition to anyone interested not just in what happened but why it happened the way it did. I recommend it without reservation!

  2. 4 out of 5

    CASPER HILEMAN

    Professor Brendan Simms has added a very important addition to the history of the Pacific War. Few instances can be identified in Military History that truly showed a clear victor and path forward. Midway is one such path. While this is no "Miracle at Midway" it is well written and provides a reminder of how pivotal this battle truly was. The United States Navy during this battle broke the back of the Imperial Japanese Navy and began the slow methodical slog towards Tokyo and victory. Professor Brendan Simms has added a very important addition to the history of the Pacific War. Few instances can be identified in Military History that truly showed a clear victor and path forward. Midway is one such path. While this is no "Miracle at Midway" it is well written and provides a reminder of how pivotal this battle truly was. The United States Navy during this battle broke the back of the Imperial Japanese Navy and began the slow methodical slog towards Tokyo and victory.

  3. 5 out of 5

    John Purvis

    Brendan Simms and Steven McGregor are the authors of several history books. The book The Silver Waterfall: How America Won the War in the Pacific at Midway was published earlier this month. I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to some scenes of violence, I categorize this book as PG. This book covers the battle at Midway. Unlike many works of history, this story is told from both the Japanese and the US pe Brendan Simms and Steven McGregor are the authors of several history books. The book The Silver Waterfall: How America Won the War in the Pacific at Midway was published earlier this month. I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to some scenes of violence, I categorize this book as PG. This book covers the battle at Midway. Unlike many works of history, this story is told from both the Japanese and the US perspectives. The book tells the history of US dive bombers and, in particular, the Douglas SBD Dauntless. A lot of consideration is given to the development of the Dauntless. Many consider the battle at Midway the turning point of the war in the Pacific. The US Navy achieved an unexpected victory over the more experienced Japanese. The procedures and tactics of both the Japanese and US fleets are reviewed. Some of the exploits of individual pilots on both sides are followed. I enjoyed the 6+ hours I spent reading this 354-page WWII history. Unlike so many books on history, this book was an exciting read. If you are interested in the history of the Pacific Theater or naval aviation, you will enjoy this book. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a rating of 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5. You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter Goodman

    “The Silver Waterfall: How America won the war in the Pacific at Midway,” by Brendan Sims and Steven McGregor (Public Affairs, 2022). After all the books I’ve read about Midway, and the movies, this is the clearest, quickest, most intense recounting not just of the battle itself, but of all the planning that came before, from the end of World War I. the struggle between the battleship and carrier factions, the progress of the war to that point, and most interesting (to me), the story of Ed Heine “The Silver Waterfall: How America won the war in the Pacific at Midway,” by Brendan Sims and Steven McGregor (Public Affairs, 2022). After all the books I’ve read about Midway, and the movies, this is the clearest, quickest, most intense recounting not just of the battle itself, but of all the planning that came before, from the end of World War I. the struggle between the battleship and carrier factions, the progress of the war to that point, and most interesting (to me), the story of Ed Heinemann and the SBD Dauntless diver bomber he designed. (and none of the sentences in the book are as long as that one). It was fighter pilot Jimmy Thach, spotting the Dauntlesses high above as they began their dives, who described the sight as “a beautiful silver waterfall.” Great book. Now I’m going to watch the movie again. https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/ti...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ron Seckinger

    The authors attack conventional interpretations of the US naval victory at Midway as the result of luck or a "miracle." They point to the prewar development of the Douglas Dauntless dive-bomber, the strategic vision of senior (largely German-American) naval leaders, and the skill of seasoned pilots as advantages that contributed to the stunning defeat of the Japanese fleet. Simms amd McGregor offer a detailed account of the battle, using not only official records but also memoirs of survivors. T The authors attack conventional interpretations of the US naval victory at Midway as the result of luck or a "miracle." They point to the prewar development of the Douglas Dauntless dive-bomber, the strategic vision of senior (largely German-American) naval leaders, and the skill of seasoned pilots as advantages that contributed to the stunning defeat of the Japanese fleet. Simms amd McGregor offer a detailed account of the battle, using not only official records but also memoirs of survivors. Their well-written account provides a more complete analysis of the conflict, but I would not discard luck or happenstance entirely, particularly decisions by the Japanese command that aided the US forces.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Haley

    This book is great for World War II buffs! I myself have only just started to dabble into history novels that do deep dives into the events that happened in this bloody war but found this one to be an exceptionally educational read. Anyone interested in the air resources that led to the victory in this pivotal battle will want to pick this up. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jean Templin

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peg - The History Shelf

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Badolato

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rex McCoy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bill Albert

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Ewing

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ed

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lynne M Cirillo

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  18. 4 out of 5

    Don Price

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Brown

  20. 5 out of 5

    Thomas D. Ray III

  21. 4 out of 5

    Boudewijn

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dj

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pierce Banks

  24. 4 out of 5

    tm

  25. 5 out of 5

    Madison Johnson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pickle.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kovan

  29. 5 out of 5

    R Seykora

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carole Rokoff

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Cherpeski

  32. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  33. 4 out of 5

    Emrys

  34. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  35. 4 out of 5

    Wipeout

  36. 4 out of 5

    Julie Herringa Cirone

  37. 4 out of 5

    Noah

  38. 5 out of 5

    Ted

  39. 4 out of 5

    Park Ridge Public Library

  40. 5 out of 5

    Roberyo

  41. 5 out of 5

    Moe Palmer

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lastorbit

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