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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« Who Said That? | Main | From the Man Who Never Sleeps! Another New Book from Mike Horton »

The Next Stephen Ambrose?

I've long been interested in World War 2 naval history--especially the naval battles in and around Guadalcanal at the end of 1942. 

My interest in these battles no doubt stems from my youth.  My family owned a Christian bookstore at Knott's Berry Farm.  Knott's employed a number of Orange County Sheriffs to do security work.  A number of these men often found their way into our store's backroom  My folks always had food and coffee for them.  I remember my dad witnessing to them and debating theology, amidst conversations about Knott's gossip, politics, and whatever else was on their minds.  It was a great environment for a kid.

Several of these men were former WW2 navy men.  One was a highly-decorated Marine corpsman--you'd never know it by looking at him.  Another was on the Helena (CL-50, which fought in several of the battles around Guadalcanal) and which was sunk in July of 1943 by a Japanese sub. 

I'll never forget these men talking about manning anti-aircraft weapons, the concussion they felt when their ships fired their main armament, and the panic of being hit by enemy fire and then realizing that the ship they knew as home was rapidly sinking into shark infested and oil-covered waters.

So, I've read everything on the naval battles of Guadalcanal from S. E. Morison, to Richard Frank, to Eric Hammel.  Although not as comprehensive as Frank's work on the Guadalcanal campaign, James Hornfischer's new book Neptune's Inferno:  The US Navy at Guadalcanal is one of the best books on World War 2 naval combat I've yet read.  

One reviewer calls him the Stephen Ambrose of the US Navy.  Good call.  This is an excellent book--couldn't put it down.  I know many of you are interested in military history, and this is a great read and a compelling story.

Here's some info on Hornfischer's books (The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors is also excellent).  James Hornfischer

Reader Comments (6)

KR - Loved the Tin Can Sailors book! This one looks good too. Have you seen Unbreakable - about the Olympic runner who became a B24 aviator and was captured by the Japanese? Great read - by the same author who wrote about Seabiscuit.
March 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpb
I'll have to check it out. Sometimes it is hard for us to remember that at one time our victory in the Pacific was not a foregone conclusion.
March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick Yamada
When I was a missionary kid in Argentina I found the book Guadalcanal Diary and read it in the back of my dad's pick-up while going to boarding school. That book made it feel like I was there.
March 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWill
Lots of interesting WWII stuff here:
March 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris S
Hornfischer is involved with all kids of good stuff out there on WW2 naval history. I really enjoyed the book 'The Shattered Sword', a detailed look at the Battle of Midway, and was so impressed with it that I e-mailed the author and told him it was the best naval history I had read since 'Last Stand...'. He e-mailed back to thank me for the encouragement, and said that Hornfischer was his literary agent!
March 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P
I agree with your assessment of this author. Hornfischer's THE LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS is one of the finest naval histories I've ever read. I reviewed it here:
March 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Wingard

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