As a reviewer, I read a lot of books. Some are good and some less so. Over time, however, I have come to realize that I can always rely on Osprey Publishing to deliver excellent, concise studies of very specific aspects of World War II that are both very well researched and entirely engaging. So it was with a great deal of happy anticipation that I attended a five hour track meet today accompanied only by a cooler of diet cola and Mark Stille's The Coral Sea 1942: The First Carrier Battle. I was not disappointed.
Stille presents America's first strategic victory in a thorough and well-organized fashion. He sets the stage by exploring the condition and constitution of the American and Japanese fleets in the Pacific during the months leading up to the MAy 1942 battle and he explores the personalities of the various commanding officers of the combatants. After providing ample background, Stille takes his readers through the actual battle and the aftermath of the battle, noting the connection between the American success (or more accurately, perhaps, the Japanese failures) in the Battle of the Coral Sea and the later success of the American carrier force in the Battle of Midway.
As I have mentioned in past Osprey reviews, each title in the various Osprey series offers (Campaign, Fortress, Elite, Raid, etc.) is a portable, highly detailed study of a small aspect of the war and each series, as a whole, provides a wonderfully compact succession of books that can make any interested reader into a very knowledgeable student of the arena that the series considers.
Several other Osprey titles have been released in the past month. You may also want to consider the following titles:
Book #22 USN Cruiser vs IJN Cruiser: Guadalcanal 1942 by Mark Stille
Book #175 World War II US Cavalry Units: Pacific Theater by Gordon L. Rottman
Book #176 World War II US Armored Infantry Tactics by Gordon L. Rottman
Book #177 German Special Forces of World War II by Gordon Williamson
Book #89 The Atlantic Wall (2): Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway by Steven J. Zalonga
Book #3 The Cabanatuan Prison Raid: The Phillipines 1945 by Gordon L. Rottman
Book #141 Merrill's Marauders by Edward Young
Book #142 Blue Division Soldier 1941-1945: Spanish Volunteer on the Eastern Front by C Caballero Jurado
The Coral Sea 1942: The First Carrier Battle by Mark Stille (Osprey Publishing November 2009, 96 pages)
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