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