For twenty-five years, master storyteller Jeff Shaara has taken readers on journeys from the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War II and the Korean War, with stops in between. In this, the second of his most recent series, Jeff focuses on the Battle of Midway.
The United States still reels from the disaster the Japanese inflicted on the Americans at Pearl Harbor. Now, barely six months later, the Americans will turn the tide. The key comes from Commander Joe Rochefort, a little known “code breaker”, who cracks the Japanese military code. With Rochefort’s astonishing discovery, Admiral Chester Nimitz knows precisely what the Japanese are planning- and how to counter it.
But the battle must still be fought, and the price is extraordinarily high.
From the American side, the story is told through the eyes of Rochefort and Admiral Nimitz, as well as fighter pilot Lieutenant Percy “Perk” Baker and Marine Gunnery Sergeant Doug Ackroyd.
But this is a two-sided fight, and the Japanese make an enormous show of their own. Admiral Yamamoto is the master planner, while his key subordinates, Admiral Nagumo, aging and infirm, who serves only by his seniority, and Admiral Yamaguchi, a firebrand who has no patience for Nagumo’s hesitation. Together, the two men must play out the chess game as designed by Yamamoto, without any idea that the Americans are anticipating his every move on the sea and in the air.
As with every Jeff Shaara novel, this story is told with you-are-there immediacy, the exhaustive research allowing the reader to see events through the very eyes of the characters. In the end, this is a story about one fight in one war, that changed not only the war, but history.
The story of Midway may have been told many times, but rarely like this.