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Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,559 ratings  ·  236 reviews
Many consider the Battle of Midway to have turned the tide of the Pacific War. It is without question one of the most famous battles in history. Now, for the first time since Gordon W. Prange’s bestselling Miracle at Midway, Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully offer a new interpretation of this great naval engagement. Unlike previous accounts, Shattered Sword makes extensi ...more
Hardcover, 612 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Potomac Books
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Mar 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
“The conditions in [the Japanese aircraft carrier] Kaga’s hangars immediately after the bombing were horrific beyond description. Bodies and pieces of bodies of Kaga’s armorers and mechanics lay strewn everywhere among the wreckage of her aircraft. In the open air, a 1,000-pound general purpose bomb has a 50 percent chance of killing anyone standing within a thirty-foot radius of the blast center. Inside the confines of the hangar deck, these lethal effects were greatly magnified…Mechanics, plan ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always thought that a stroke of good fortune was the reason for the United States Navy’s victory over at Midway. Others may say it was divine providence. The authors of Shattered Sword do not see it this way. They break down the Japanese Naval war machine step by step, and weigh each factor that contributed to their demise; chief of which was the IJN’s belief that quality was more important than quantity. The result was that Yamamoto divided his forces by sending two carriers to the Aleutians ...more
Parshall and Tully deal with some of the fallacious ideas around the Battle of Midway. These are either untrue, or at least require careful clarification. Some of these ideas have been implanted in the Western accounts as a result of misunderstandings of the records of the battle. Some have resulted from a faulty understanding of the basic mechanics of how the battle was fought. Some are misrepresentations of the truth that were deliberately introduced by participants in the battle. And each has ...more
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A full five star, Often we hear that History being written by Victor and get shrouded in myths. However Battle at Midway was one of rare event where both victor and loser painted a image which served there purposes in specific circumstances well. America was able to portray it's Navy as real life example of David vs Goliath while Japan was trying to scrape up some shreds of respect by trying to hide its own follies under the guise of tough luck.

Several reasons can be cited for the outcome which
Shattered Sword is a fine naval history book. It is a well researched book that has a multitude of facts on every page. This is a book that will be an often quoted source for many years about the Battle of Midway. The authors claim to change the way the battle will be viewed, in that the book focuses on the Kido Butai or the Japanese carrier fleet this claim can be accepted as true. The author meticulously researched the minutiae of where the Japanese aircraft were during the battle and who pilo ...more
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
You think you know something, and then you discover that in fact most of what you know is wrong.

I love reading.

This is masterful treatment of probably one of the most analyzed battles of all time, which by examining closely the Japanese sources of the battle revises much of what we think we know about the battle. In particular, the author's patient explanation of the exact operational details of Japanese carrier operations is endlessly fascinating and enlightening, and serve to show that much o
Chad Sayban
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
More reviews at The Story Within The Story

When most people hear the term ‘history book,’ they typically think of those watered-down texts we all read in high school where large swaths of time are melted down into paragraph-sized blubs to be memorized for a test and quickly forgotten. Even so, many of us – myself included – have become infatuated with history and long after leaving the public education system behind seek out books that provide a detailed look into a our past. These focused books
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You do not know the Battle of Midway if you have not read Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully’s Shattered Sword, the Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. While it can be a tough read for the casual reader of history, scholars, history buffs and anyone who enjoyed the otherwise uneven Movie called Midway have cause to celebrate Shattered Sword. Highly recommended. My copy was the paperback so I missed the problems shared by the Kindle readers.

Common wisdom is that history is written by the winne
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Want to read one of the best book on the Battle of Midway? I remember as a young kid reading about this battle and how it turned the tide of the war in Pacific in favor of the United States in which Japan suffered serious loss in this battle. This work simply exceeded my expectation and I was thoroughly hooked from page to page, which might sound almost unbelievable concerning a military operational book but the two authors did a good job telling us the story of the Battle of Midway and througho ...more
Steven Peterson
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book is functionally written and provides considerable detail on the Battle of Midway, with much new information being used. One useful feature of the book is that we see a lot more of the battle and the runup to it from the eyes of the Japanese. We leartn of how Japanese and American carrier doctrine, operational ideas, even use space differed between the two carrier forces. As such, we get a different perspective than is common. The author also analyzes many of the decisions by Japanese A ...more
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Recently read the new Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History) by Craig L. Symonds. A nice summary, which brought up a few points I'd either forgotten or never learned. It did extensively reference Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway and hinted at a the Imperial Japanese Navy point of view. I had to track down this book.

Shattered Sword goes back to air operations logs and is the first English publication that sources the updated Japanese accounts published i

Yong Lee
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I started and stopped reading this book five times. The fact I tried it the sixth time is due to its reputation among military historians. This is not an academic history but a book by passionate amateurs. Their love for the subject matter is clear and their expertise is clear. This book will teach you more about the battle of midway than you would ever like to know. I'm glad I finally finished it. ...more
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While it is not written with the classical prose of a Walter Lord or a Bruce Catton, the authors have produced the greatest battle analysis I have ever read. This book instantly became one of my all time favorites!
Wai Zin
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not the first work I read about battle of Midway. But by far this is the best.

Even though it is quite a large book, I can steadily devour this book due to the authors clear and digestable writing. And having abundance of sketches and drawing to visualise the complex battle helps a lot as well.

In this book Parshall and Tully will put you in the shoes of Nagumo. They rarely tell us what the US forces were doing and you will see the battle from the Japanese perspective only. So I hope you
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Numerous books have been written about the battle of Midway. And why not? Midway was a pivotal naval battle that took place only six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The United States Navy under Admirals Nimitz, Fletcher, and Spruance decisively defeated an attacking fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Battle of Midway has often been called "the turning point of the Pacific". It was the Allies' first major naval victory against the Japanese, won despite the Japanese Navy having mor ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war
An extremely detailed look at the inner workings of the Japanese military strategic thinking processes during WW-II. Interesting that many of their problems came from mutual distrust between the Japanese army and navy, also that the highest reaches of the military hierarchy had an ineffective checks and balances procedure.

I was surprised to learn that Pearl Harbor was Yamamoto's idea, and he had enough clout to get it through despite the urgent protest of most of the other high ranking military
Josh Liller
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military, world-war-2
The authors set out to bust myths about the Battle of Midway while providing a very in-depth account of the Japanese side of the battle, which hasn't been properly done before. They provide a huge amount of information but deliver it with style and a very amusing snarky attitude. This is military history at its finest. ...more
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
On my third time through, to see what I can pick up.

The level of detail is amazing.
Brian Busemeyer
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shattered Sword is a detailed analysis of the Battle of Midway, broadly considered the turning point of the Pacific theater of WW2, and considered one of the most influential naval battles in history. Midway was the first major victory by the Americans in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor, and the moment that Japan went into a defensive war that eventually ended in its surrender. As such, its story is intimately and emotionally tied to the national mythology of both the US and Japan. Parshall estab ...more
Tom Brennan
Oct 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Respect. Lots of it. That is what I had for the authors at the end of this work. Mad respect. The copious amounts of work necessary to produce a book of this kind beggars the imagination. No, the writing is not the best in the sense of holding your attention, though it isn't terrible either. No, it comes nowhere near the soul of wit i.e. brevity. But what it does it does with absolute conviction - walk you through the Japanese side of the battle of Midway in painstaking detail. That detail could ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, audiobook
An interesting revision of how the battle proceeded, at least as compared to the prior popular understandings. It may be most interesting to those already familiar with previous writings such as Miracle at Midway (Gordon Prange) and Incredible Victory (Walter Lord). It's incredibly detailed, too, which is good or bad depending on your natural level of interest in (say) a 30-minute explanation of how Japanese carriers prepped aircraft for takeoff, including notes about the carts used for moving a ...more
David Runyon
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, detailed, and balanced history of the critical Battle of Midway.
Rodney Harvill
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
So, why does the subtitle claim to be the untold story of the battle of Midway? It is written from the Japanese perspective and includes some of the most extensive details I have ever seen in a World War II naval history. While earlier books on Midway incorporate the account of Commander Fuchida Mitsuo, the authors note that it was long ago debunked in Japan and use other Japanese sources, including official records, that tell a quite different story. If anything, this book is a bit of a myth-bu ...more
Roger Burk
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is indeed the untold story: it is entirely from the Japanese point of view. The authors have made a new and thorough analysis of the Japanese sources, rejecting some that were translated early and set American understanding of the battle. Americans interested in the Battle of Midway will find many new details and insights here, and it is well enough written to be pleasurable to read.

However, the authors claim too much. They think they have completely overturned our understanding of the batt
Fred Svoboda
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great and terrifying book, "Shattered Sword" corrects misperceptions by drawing on decades of Japanese scholarship on the battle. From a Japanese point of view many elements of what happened make more sense: just as U.S. forces fought in ways dictated by U.S. culture and beliefs, so did the Imperial Japanese Navy, in a mixture of naive idealism and great cruelty that tends to baffle easy western understanding. To that end we get a fine-grained discussion of everything from carrier architecture ...more
Bruce Cline
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Shattered Sword, The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway, by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully (audio book, 24+ hours). This book purports to bring significant new facts to, and a major reinterpretation of, the Battle of Midway. The authors bring to bear a somewhat old (20 years) reconsideration of the most respected Japanese authority on the battle as well as a much better understanding of Japanese carrier operations, naval doctrine, and other operational details hitherto fore not understood
Andy Lawless
Excellent book from the Japanese side
Mac McCormick III
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military, history
A few years ago, I read Craig L. Symond's The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History) and saw Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway: The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully referenced in it. I took a look at the book on Amazon and it had a plain simple cover, giving it the feeling of an academic work, so I added it to my reading list but didn't put it very high on the list. Recently, I finally got around to reading it.

Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, worth every bit of five stars. The authors cover the Battle of Midway nearly exhaustively from the Japanese perspective. They consider and analyze previous works on the subject and explain common misconceptions about the Battle, giving a full view to those who may have little to no experience with the history of the Battle of Midway.

The Japanese made many huge mistakes in the Pacific War. Their first big mistake was starting the war. The economic might of the US was going to cru
Matt Caris
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A phenomenal revisionist work that adds what has always been missing to the stories of Midway - a detailed account of how the IJN and especially the Kido Butai operated, right down to the deckplate level.

Armed with this information, Parshall and Tully rip many of the famous Midway myths to shreds, to show how the battle truly unfolded. The authors are able to show that so many of the Midway "what-if" moments - a more extensive search plane operation, division of labor for CAP vs strike between
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excellent focus on Battle of Midway 1 12 Sep 24, 2014 06:32PM  

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