The Silver Waterfall: How America Won the War in the Pacific at Midway

PublicAffairs: Perseus. May 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781541701373. $30. HIST
In the span of a few minutes American dive bombers sank three Japanese carriers at Midway Island and shattered Japanese naval power in the Pacific. In this new account of the June 1942 battle, remembered as a turning point in the Second World War, historians Simms (international relations, Univ. of Cambridge; Hitler’s American Gamble: Pearl Harbour and Germany’s March to Global War) and McGregor (history, Univ. of Cambridge) offer a distinctive retelling of the naval clash. The first section highlights the contributions of three German Americans made to the war in the Pacific. Ed Heinemann designed the Douglas Dauntless dive bomber; Admiral Chester Nimitz commanded the American naval forces at Midway; and Jack “Dusty” Kleisspiloted dive bombers during the battle. The second section details Admiral Yamamoto’s plan to lure the Americans into a decisive confrontation and to use the Kido Butai, the Japanese naval strike force, to destroy American naval power in the Pacific. The Americans, however, laid their own trap and using the skills of dive bomber pilots like Kleiss, helped turned the tide against the Japanese. By focusing on three German Americans, this work casts a unique light on the Pacific war effort.
VERDICT This non-specialist history will appeal to general readers of World War II and naval history.
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