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Miracle at Midway

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,671 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Here is the definitive history of the battle of Midway, an American victory that marked the turning point of the war in the Pacific during World War II. Told with the same stylistic flair and attention to detail as the bestselling At Dawn We Slept, Miracle at Midway brings together eyewitness accounts from the men who commanded and fought on both sides. The sweeping narrat ...more
Paperback, 469 pages
Published November 17th 1983 by Penguin Books (first published September 1st 1982)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
I remember being at church one Sunday when I was maybe ten years old. The service ended and my family joined the other parishioners in the banquet hall for donuts. While others contentedly chewed their jelly glazes, I kept fidgeting and asking when we could leave. I almost made a scene; in fact, I might have made a scene. The reason? I wanted to get home to watch the movie Midway on TBS.

(This was in the days when TBS showed an odd mishmash of Atlanta Braves games and John Wayne movies; this was
C. Patrick
Jun 18, 2015 C. Patrick rated it really liked it
An excellent history the strength of which is based on the interviews the author conducted with direct participants or original source materials. The Japanese Navy perspective is solidly represented here, a very balanced effort. Well organized and easy to read, a very good page-turner. However, a disappoint for me were the literary accents sprinkled throughout the book that I don't remember distracting me in "At Dawn We Slept". An example from page 224: "When the carrier force sighting report re ...more
Nov 20, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it
Gordon Prange, 1910-1980, was a professor of history at the University of Maryland for many years, except notably during the years 1942 to 1951 when he served, first, in the United States Navy and later as chief historian in General Douglas MacArthur's staff during the post-war military occupation of Japan. His latter position enabled him to interview Japanese military and civilian witnesses to World War II immediately after the event. His co-workers published his historical manuscripts after hi ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Everydayreader1 rated it it was amazing
Miracle at Midway by Gordon W. Prange, Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon is a fascinating read for those of us who have a passion for all things WWII. What made this such an interesting read for me is the way in which the authors presented the Midway experience from both the American and Japanese perspectives. And if you read this book, you will see the detail and planning that went into this battle--strategy by strategy.
Vicki Andrada
Jun 24, 2015 Vicki Andrada rated it it was amazing
This book was very informative, and well written! I love it that it told how the battle of Midway went from both the American and Japanese prospective, as I believe to get the best understanding of history it's important to know how all sides of a battle felt and what they went through.

Until I read this, I'd never read a book about the Battle of Midway. I learned a lot from this book! I would totally recommend it to history lovers of this era!
Ted Hunt
Feb 18, 2015 Ted Hunt rated it it was amazing
Although this book was published over thirty years ago, I am not aware of a subsequent book that can claim to be the "definitive" history of the battle of Midway. In this book by Gordon Prange, who wrote the incredible study of the attack on Pearl Harbor, "At Dawn We Slept," the author applies his impressive research and writing abilities to the battle that is now considered to have been the turning point of the war in the Pacific. The author examined official communications, letters, memoirs, d ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
This is as objective a history of a military engagement that I have read. Prange and the two authors that finished his work after his death created a detailed, yet completely intelligible, story of the Battle of Midway, which really marked the turn-around in the U.S. battle with Japan.

There are lots of reasons why a battle is lost or won - good tactics, good planning, good decisions by leaders, and luck. Prange and battle participants on both sides attribute Japan's defeat at Midway to Japanese
John Nevola
Nov 06, 2011 John Nevola rated it really liked it
The Battle of Midway was clearly the most important battle of the Pacific War. Up until that point, the Japanese had been having their way with an unbroken string of victories. The Doolittle Raid was the pinprick that brought the Imperial Fleet to Midway and even that battle, in its earliest stages, was unfolding much in favor of the Japanese.

However, in just a few minutes, dive-bombers from the Yorktown and Enterprise devastated three of the four Japanese carriers and in that instant turned the
Another detailed analysis of a major WW II battle - this time it's Midway, the turning point in the Pacific war. True to his form, Prange does not fail to deliver the in-depth analysis of the battle and the mindsets of the participants. From personal interviews to study of military source documents, Prange is able to provide the reader a coherent account of the events leading to the Battle of Midway, the action of the battle itself, and its effects.

There is one area where I believed Prange could
Eric Miller
Feb 02, 2015 Eric Miller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done-listening
A classic. So much to learn about history, humanity, and story telling from this non-fiction book. It dives deep into the men and the circumstances of a single battle that effectively changed the world. How hubris and overconfidence can be trumped by determination. I learned a lot from this book. It is a bit dated, and certainly shows the strong US military academia point of view. A true story that was spellbinding. One of the best military books of done in a very long time.
Dec 23, 2015 Tom rated it it was amazing
Calling Prange's study of the crucial WWII naval battle "exhaustive" is no exaggeration, and thus his epic work (finished posthumously by capable author historians) may, indeed, exhaust the casual reader, but it's full explication and detail is manna to the serious naval student. Additionally, Prange was a fine writer, possessed of a clear eye and fine written voice. Good history, well written!
Lorenzo J. Zipeto
Feb 22, 2015 Lorenzo J. Zipeto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Study of Naval Warfare

This is not just a running commentary of a protracted sea battle, although that element exists in appropriate measure. What is most interesting and informative are the words of the planners and participants conveyed via personal diaries and interviews. The play by play of individual attacks and counter-attacks are stunning. Hard to put this book down.
Beau Baker
Jan 02, 2016 Beau Baker rated it it was amazing
If you have any interest in military history, you must read this. It is exceptional not only in the narrative, but in the context of what this battle meant. I cannot conceive of living as a soldier, sailor, or airman in any war, but, after seeing The War on PBS, this book reminds me of the skill that warfare necessitates.
Mark Martillaro
Oct 16, 2015 Mark Martillaro rated it it was amazing
An older book, but a must for those who study the war in the Pacific. A complete story of the Battle at Midway with details on how the US Navy was able to out smart a much larger and aggressive force. The last paragraph says it all. Midway us where the US laid down the shield and picked up the sword against Japan.
Greg Gates
Dec 26, 2014 Greg Gates rated it it was amazing
History - this is book is not told in story form, definitely academic, but very well done - especially after reading Incredible Victory (in more of a story form) this book will fill in important details on the battle. A must read if you have any interest in the Battle of Midway.
Aug 27, 2014 John rated it it was amazing
I had intended to only read some of this book while waiting for another book to become available from my library. Ends up that I read the entire book. Miracle at Midway is an enjoyable read, which does a great job of explaining all of the circumstances leading up to the battle of Midway. The battle is portrayed from both sides, and also shares stories of individuals and what they experienced during this pivotal WWII battle.
Angelo D'angelo
Jan 26, 2015 Angelo D'angelo rated it it was amazing
I am an avid fan of history especially WWII Naval strategy and warfare, so this was something I truly enjoyed. Might not be everyone's cup of tea mind you.
Tyler Dennis
Mar 05, 2015 Tyler Dennis rated it it was amazing
Great book. Really enjoyed the read. There was plenty of details about the movements, as well as color on the different personalities involved in the battle.
Jul 30, 2012 Bou rated it really liked it
This was the first book that I read about the Battle of Midway, and I really liked it. Late Gordon W. Prange (and its subsequent writers due to his death) managed to wrote a clear and easy read detail of the prelude to, the actual battle and its aftermath. I was particularly touched by the latest chapter, in which Gordon W. Prange tells about his encounters with the heroes of the battle, the admirals Nimitz, Spruance and Fletcher.

In all a nice book to start you're reading about the Battle of Mid
Nov 05, 2015 John rated it really liked it
If you have an interest in WWII and specifically the battles of the Pacific this a good but lengthy read.
Fred Platten
Jun 27, 2015 Fred Platten rated it it was amazing
awe inspiring that those torpedo bomber pilots knew they were being sent to their deaths and went anyway.
Ian Divertie
Mar 18, 2015 Ian Divertie rated it liked it
Read this when it was new too. Still a good book but overshadowed by newer much better ones.
Jun 11, 2015 Jwgalvin rated it it was amazing
Excellent review of both the American and Japanese battle plans and actions.
May 14, 2015 Bobmanning rated it really liked it
Great account of first major victory in the Pacific in WW2
Susie Schroeder
Mar 23, 2016 Susie Schroeder rated it really liked it
Exhaustive history of the Midway campaign
Christopher Telcontar
Mar 25, 2015 Christopher Telcontar rated it liked it
Shelves: ww2
Solid, dated in its stylistic approach, and there are a few out of place passages that jar the reader somewhat. For the time period, it is a solid look at the battle more or less strictly from the top down commanders perspectives, with just tiny snippets of the lower deck and junior officer's viewpoints thrown in for local color. Some of his conclusions have been shown to be distorted or outright wrong, but that is the nature of history. It's not set in stone; new information always mutates what ...more
Brigg Sabol
Oct 31, 2012 Brigg Sabol rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poeple who like military history or WW2 history
Recommended to Brigg by: Dr. Iijima
Somebody said history is written by the victor, and yes, it's a touch bias towards the USA, but I feel like he gives a pretty objective view of the battle and is very fair and respectful to the Japanese side.

Great book! Very good telling of this battle. At times it felt like I was reading a really good fiction novel. Comprehensive and accurate (many first hand accounts from both sides as well as official documents from both sides).

If you're interested in the Pacific War or military history in ge
Jul 05, 2011 Lance rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was written very well, mixing interviews, diaries and military accounts of the planning, battle and results. There are parts that even led themselves to a chuckle in light of the circumstances. I would recomend to even the slightest of WWII or Naval enthusiasts. Prang, et al. organized the information in such a way as to never leave a dry or dull moment. Opinion never gets in the way of fact and record, as they analize the results with great honesty and objectivity.
Oct 08, 2007 Bob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
For those of us born after 1945, US victory in the Pacific always seemed inevitable, history is after all written by the victors. Directly after Pearl Harbor, many thought that Japanese victory was inevitable. That is, until Midway. Luck, or god or something like it seemed to shine on the US navy during this pivotal battle, where the Imperial Navy seems to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Japan would fight a defensive war from this point forward.
A good read.
May 20, 2010 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very complete look at the battle of Midway (maybe too complete for me as I sometimes couldn't follow all of the details). The book did a good job of presenting all the events leading up to Midway and the day itself. In particular, the book did an excellent job of showing the confusion of war--the difficulty the two sides had in locating in each other or even accurately reporting which ships had been damaged or sunk.
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Gordon W. Prange was born in Pomeroy, Iowa on July 16, 1910. He studied at the University of Iowa, receiving his Ph.D. in 1937. That same year, he began his teaching career as a professor of history at the University of Maryland. In 1942, he was granted a leave of absence from the University to embark on a wartime career as an officer in the United States Navy. He was sent to Japan in 1945 as a me ...more
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