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Pacific Crucible

War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941–1942

Ian W. Toll (Author)

Overview | Formats

Winner of the Northern California Book Award for Nonfiction

"Both a serious work of history…and a marvelously readable dramatic narrative." —San Francisco Chronicle

On the first Sunday in December 1941, an armada of Japanese warplanes appeared suddenly over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and devastated the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Six months later, in a sea fight north of the tiny atoll of Midway, four Japanese aircraft carriers were sent into the abyss, a blow that destroyed the offensive power of their fleet. Pacific Crucible—through a dramatic narrative relying predominantly on primary sources and eyewitness accounts of heroism and sacrifice from both navies—tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history to seize the strategic initiative.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • November 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34341-0
  • 6.1 × 9.2 in / 656 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverPacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942


Endorsements & Reviews

“An entertaining, impressively researched chronicle of the tense period between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and American victory at the battle of Midway.” — Kirkus

“Revealing and poignant, Toll’s latest deftly navigates the rough waters of the Pacific struggle with flying colors.” — Publishers Weekly

“Excellent. The research is thorough, the writing clear, and the narrative flow exemplary…It is difficult to think of a recent book on this subject that is of such consistently outstanding value.” — Roland Green, Booklist (starred review)

“Well documented—albeit from previously published materials—and well written. Experienced World War II history buffs may bypass if they feel no need to read another retelling of this phase of the Pacific War, but nonspecialists and general readers will want to consider it.” — Library Journal

“Toll’s book does a good job of capturing strategy, tactics, weaponry and, especially, people, on the Japanese side as well as the American…You won’t set [Pacific Crucible] aside.” — Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Also by Ian W. Toll All

  1. Book CoverThe Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942–1944


  2. Book CoverSix Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy


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