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Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  122 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Acclaimed WWII historian and military intelligence expert John Prados offers a provocative reassessment of the Allies' battle for the Solomon Islands--a turbulent, dramatic campaign that, he argues, was the true turning point of the Pacific conflict.
Historians traditionally refer to the Battle of Midway as the point when Allied forces gained the advantage over the Japanes
ebook, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by New American Library
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(showing 1-30 of 249)
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Jan 29, 2014 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will start by saying that, though I heartily agree with Prados' thesis that the Pacific War turning point was in the Solomons Campaign, I was initially unimpressed with the book. It seemed in bad need of an editor. Prados can have a stilted, choppy writing style that is difficult to read. He also used incorrect terminology (it's F6F and F4F, not F-6F or F-4F) and flat out derogatory terms (an author using "Jap" when they are quoting a contemporary source is completely acceptable, using it whil ...more
Mike Kershaw
For those unfamiliar with the Solomon's Campaign, this book usefully juxtaposes the major events of the campaign, with an emphasis on sea and air activities, with intelligence work, which the author has written about extensively. His thesis that the Solomons was the decisive campaign of the war vice the Battle of Midway has been stated better elsewhere. He does go to great pains to point out several times during the campaign where the Japanese gained the upper-hand, but fails to accurately put t ...more
Okay but rather pedestrian history of the Solomons campaign. It starts off rather disappointingly with the childish issue of whether Midway or the Solomons was the "turning point" of the war, as if such an amorphous concept has any analytical substance. (Not surprisingly, the author plumps for the latter.) As it turns out, this issue has little to do with the bulk of the book, which is a not particularly distinguished narrative of the campaign.

While the narrative does give some attention to US p
Feb 11, 2014 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the book. I don't know if I agree 100% with his thesis that the Solomon campaign was the true turning point, but he makes a very thoughtful argument that makes you think as a reader. He did a great job covering the whole campaign as a naval, air, and land fight instead of simply focusing on the land fighting or the sea fighting like many books.

I really enjoyed with the author went into more depth, especially in regards to intelligence, the Japanese perspective, and even the ins
Sep 24, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember when the author, John Prados, was connected with the publication of board war-games in the 70's and 80's. That is what drew me to "Islands of Destiny." I found the book to be a first rate read. I like books that take a new look at old History (not revisionist history which is twisting historical facts to fit a political agenda) and Prados did that in this book. His premise is that while Midway stopped the Japanese advance for a time that it was Guadalcanal and the Solomons Campaign wh ...more
Ed Baldwin
Jun 23, 2013 Ed Baldwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
his is a strong book. Written by an accomplished and experienced historian after exhaustive research of source material not available to previous authors on World War II in the Pacific, Islands of Destiny is an entertaining read; if you like history. If you're looking for a summer beach book, this isn't it. I bought it for research for a historical novel I might write one day, and I wanted someone else to read the volumes of memoirs and histories published in English since WW II, then wade throu ...more
Bill Rogers
Nov 13, 2014 Bill Rogers rated it really liked it
The basic premise of this book is flawed. It makes much of the idea that the turning point of World War II in the Pacific was not the Battle of Midway, but rather the Solomons Campaign that followed; the invasion of Guadalcanal and the battles after.

In fact, the distinction is artificial. If you've read any history of Japan in World War II and before, you know that the Japanese Government of those years was about the worst that History has ever known. Not in the sense of mistreating their own pe
Chuck Leonard
Feb 20, 2013 Chuck Leonard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books dealing with Guadalcanal have always interested me since my father fought there during the campaign with the 25th infantry division. Prados captures many important areas that are given short shrift in earlier histories. It is a more balanced and nuanced view of the various engagements and the importance, and, on occasion, the insignificance, of the code breakers We heard of the stories of the "Coastwatchers" and the risks they took with their lives from Dad and his friends but we never rea ...more
Aug 30, 2014 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ww2-pacific
Flawed but interesting narrative history of the Solomon's campaign. The author can be forgiven for overstating the "turning point" trope, but not so the derogatory use of "Japs" in the text (not just in quotes). Nonetheless, the book offers a good overview of the theater of battle. The focus is mainly on the naval actions. I would have liked a bit more detail on the ground battles, especially Guadalcanal. The author clearly did not get his fascination with intelligence out of his system in his l ...more
May 13, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun. He was at the San Antonio film festival I got to hear him and sign this book. It was nice to meet him.

What makes him special is he under pins his work with examinations of the intelligence being used on both sides. The premise of this book is that Midway was not the turning point of the Pacific war all by itself. It had to be coupled with the hard fought campaign of attrition on and around Guadalcanal.

Anyone who has r
Mar 09, 2015 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guadalcanal and the Solomons is one of the most interesting periods of the War. This is the best book I've read since Richard Frank's Guadalcanal. It contains a lot of information recently available from Japanese sources. Very easy read.
May 15, 2014 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A stolid narrative of the Solomons Campaign. While there are many books that deal with various battles and other aspects of the campaign, this book is valuable in that it covers it all, albeit some parts better than others. Since John Prados is an expert on the role of intelligence (especially radio intercepts and decoding) in the Pacific in World War II, that is up to date and center-stage in this work. Prados's hypothesizes that it is the Solomons Campaign rather than the battle of Midway that ...more
Bert  Hopkins
May 19, 2014 Bert Hopkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
More details than I wanted but still very good and I certainly learned a lot.
Jan 06, 2016 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
The scope of this book is limited to the Solomons Campaign in WWII however it is well told and very readable, being drawn from many eyewitness accounts. What makes the book outstanding is the balance -- it is told equally from both the American and Japanese POVs. Given this balance, Prodos is able to to demonstrate the role that intelligence played on both sides. Who knew what, when, and how did it affect their decisions.
Jul 21, 2014 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oct 15, 2015 TJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, wwii
While the book provides a solid history of the Solomon Islands Campaign, the writing style is distracting and takes away from the story. The author seems to refer to "Cactus" more often than by its actual name, Guadalcanal. The same goes from "tin fish" for torpedoes and "tin cans" as destroyers. At first it was a mere annoyance but it soon began to be distracting.
James Delaney
I love military history, but this is not an area, the campaign in the south Pacific, that I know that much about. I'm still reading this, but it's extremely well documented with primary sources. Mr. Prados has done a very nice job.
Steve Bouldin
Dec 19, 2012 Steve Bouldin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good general campaign coverage. Heavy into the intelligence aspects. Conclusion surprising, and convincing.
May 07, 2013 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-read
Good book, strong in detail and fact but not a smooth narrative.
Ray Chance
Jun 06, 2013 Ray Chance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book if you are interested in WWII in the Pacific theatre.
Bill Jaffe
Bill Jaffe rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2016
Linda Broz
Linda Broz rated it really liked it
Feb 04, 2016
Gary Roemmich
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Feb 02, 2016
Mike added it
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Colin Brown
Colin Brown rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2016
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Jan 29, 2016
Ron rated it liked it
Jan 26, 2016
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