Reviews for Admiral Nimitz : The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater


Booklist Reviews 2011 December #2
This biography of Chester Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during WWII, is not comprehensive. It is not a substitute for E. B. Potter's more inclusive perspective on an additional 30 years of the subject's life, Nimitz (1976). Nimitz launched his naval career in submarines, working to create reliable, American-made diesel engines for the boats. He then rose steadily through the usual variety of command and staff positions until, in the wake of Pearl Harbor, he was appointed to his wartime command. His achievements in it can be summarized simply by declaring him one of the major architects of victory in the Pacific. He also emerges as a humane and even kindly man, an accolade that cannot be given to many of his fellow commanders. Regardless of its lack of comprehensiveness, this is a must for any U.S. naval collection that does not already include Potter on its shelves. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 October #2
A military historian's look at the five-star admiral "who commanded the 2 million men and 1000 ships that won the war in the Pacific." When Chester W. Nimitz (1885–1966) entered the Naval Academy, the Spanish-American War had only recently concluded. By the end of his distinguished career, the U.S. Navy featured supercarriers and nuclear submarines, innovations he'd vigorously championed. Retired Navy captain Harris (War News: Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil War, 2010, etc.) revisits every stage of Nimitz's era-straddling career, from his Texas boyhood and Annapolis years through his various postings and commands, to his crowning 1945 appointment as Chief of Naval Operations, where his postwar pushback against the move to unify the armed services probably preserved naval aviation and the Marine Corps. The bulk of this short narrative, however, focuses on Nimitz's command of land, sea and air forces in the Pacific during World War II. FDR ordered Nimitz to Pearl Harbor only days after it was attacked. He took over a shattered force and eventually orchestrated a string of naval battles and island conquests that culminated in the Japanese surrender, with Nimitz signing for the United States. Although it was Nimitz who memorably said of the Marines on Iwo Jima, "Uncommon valor was a common virtue," he was neither especially eloquent nor charismatic. Rather, he was a steady leader whose outward calm and ready supply of jokes masked the partial deafness and nervous tension that plagued him, and he was a superb handler of me. Intolerant of poor performance or discourtesy and horrified by any internecine squabbling, Nimitz rarely permitted his feelings to show. Still, he once explained the framed photo of Gen. MacArthur he kept on his desk as a reminder "not to be a horse's ass and make Jovian pronouncements complete with thunderbolts." For military buffs, surely, but also for general readers looking for an introduction to the Navy's senior hero of WWII. Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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