Academic journal article Military Review

Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

Academic journal article Military Review

Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

Article excerpt

ISLANDS OF DESTINY: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

John Prados, NAL Caliber, 2012

388 pages, $26.95

DR. JOHN PRADOS challenges conventional wisdom in an engrossing new work on the Solomons Campaign in World War II's Pacific Theater. Relying on intelligence sources as well as Japanese accounts, the author argues that the Solomons 9 Campaign, and not the Battle of Midway as many historians suggest, represents the true decisive point that accorded the Allies an unmistakable advantage over their Japanese adversaries in terms of air and maritime superiority. This precipitated eventual Allied victory in the Pacific.

While many accounts of the Solomons Campaign focus on the ground war and the desperate, compelling battles that ensued for control of islands such as Guadalcanal and their critical airfields, Prados concentrates on the vicious struggle for air and maritime superiority that was a corollary to permanent success on the ground. Here, the Imperial Japanese Navy was still a juggernaut, "down but not out" after its spectacular loss of four carriers during the battle of Midway in June 1942.

The author shows that the Imperial Japanese Navy was more than a match for Allied naval forces, particularly early in the campaign and especially at night. The U.S. Navy suffered some of the worst defeats in its history during the Solomons Campaign; at the battle of Savo Island, for example, the Allies lost four heavy cruisers in a single, brief engagement. At one point during the campaign, the situation in the Pacific became so dire that the Navy was down to a single carrier in the entire theater--the USS Enterprise--and had to request the loan of the HMS Victorious from the British. …

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