Garrettw's Reviews > Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

Shattered Sword by Jonathan Parshall
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Aug 25, 2011

it was amazing
Read from September 23 to December 04, 2011

Neither Jonathan Parshall nor Anthony Tully work full time in the history field (Tully works in information technology and Parshall is a software company manager), although both share a life long interest in the Pacific War. Parshall is the custodian of the premiere Japanese naval website, www.combinedfleet.com. This website has grown a community of amateur and professionals brought together by their collective interest in the Japanese Navy. Combinedfleet.com and it's embedded discussion groups is the crucible in which Tully and Parshall's ideas and arguments have been tested and challenged.

The authors acknowledge the impact of the internet from the outset stating "The advent of the internet, and the spontaneous creation of globe-spanning communities of interest it fostered, truly revolutionized the way we were able to approach and assemble this book." Shattered Sword is the distillation of the ideas and arguments found in many years of internet discourse. It truly signals the ascendancy of the "amateur," internet-based historian.

Shattered Sword is written largely from the Japanese perspective. Tully and Parshall combine original research, carefully recontructed timelines (the rate of ascent of a Japanese aircraft elevator anyone?), and technical analysis into a compelling battle narrative.

Along the way, Tully and Parshall argue to explode the popular myths surrounding the battle, such as the oft-stated en fait that Midway marked the demise of the Japanese carrier air arm was fatally harmed at Midway. Shattered Sword demonstrates that the Midway battle was far from decisive, and was but the first of many attritional battles on the long road that was the Pacific War.

Along these lines, Tully and Parshall claim that the Solomons and Guadalcanal Campaigns contributed more on a relative basis to the destruction of the Japanese war effort. It would be fascinating to apply the chrono-technical analysis found here to the famous battles of those campaigns, such as the Savo Island naval actions.

Although the outcome of the Midway battle is well known, Shattered Sword is an absolute page turner that left this reader wanting more. It is a first-rate battle narrative and well argued thesis that makes a significant contribution to the panthaeon of Pacific War histories.
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09/26/2011 page 13
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11/11/2011 page 307
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