• Eagle Against the Sun

  • The American War With Japan
  • By: Ronald H. Spector
  • Narrated by: Tom Perkins
  • Length: 23 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (197 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Historian Ronald H. Spector, drawing on declassified intelligence files, an abundance of British and American archival material, Japanese scholarship and documents, and the research and memoirs of scholars, politicians, and the military men, presents a thrilling narrative of American war in the Pacific.

Spector reassesses US and Japanese strategy and offers some provocative interpretations. He shows that the dual advance across the Pacific by MacArthur and Nimitz was less a product of strategic calculation and more a pragmatic solution to bureaucratic, doctrinal, and public relations problems facing the Army and Navy. He also argues that Japan made its fatal error not in the Midway campaign but in abandoning its offensive strategy after that defeat and allowing itself to be drawn into a war of attrition.

Combining impeccable research with electrifying detail, Spector vividly recreates the major battles, little-known campaigns, and unfamiliar events of this brutal 44-month struggle.

©1985 Ronald H. Spector (P)2019 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Eagle Against the Sun

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Required reading

I am a junior historian of the Pacific War and have read, to date, a zillion books on this portion of that great conflict. This book is simply marvelous in its scope, breadth and detail. A great overview read with excellent diction and just enough factual (read dry) statistics to make it one of my all time favs.

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

OK as an overview, but too little detail

If someone is looking for an introduction to the Pacific Theater in World War 2 this book is a decent choice. It covers most of the battles, including those in Burma which are often overlooked, and gives enough information to equip someone just learning about the Pacific War to understand more details in their next book on the subject. However for those already familiar with the Pacific War this book has little to add, mischaracterizes some information and leaves out some important facts. Some examples.

The author blames American's hatred for the Japanese during the war on racism and, while there may have been some of that involved, there were much more hatred generated by the Japanese actions in China where civilians were murdered, women raped and the Japanese acted as though the civil population was inhuman. Japanese treatment of American POWs was unbelievably cruel and the Japanese ignored what most Americans considered to be civilized behavior. Stories of the Bataan Death March circulated in the US, the Rape of Nanking was well known and these actions generated most of the hatred in the US. The claim of racism against Asians ignores the US support and assistance to the Chinese, also Asians.

No mention is made of the execution of American POWs after the war ended, and surely this is important enough to be included in any book on the Pacific War.

The author makes no attempt to explain the decisions of the Japanese government as it became clear that the Americans were likely going to win the war. It would be helpful to have had some insight into how the Japanese government, Army and Navy reacted to the losses of Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tarawa, Iwo Jima and more as the Americans closed in on the Japanese home islands.

No mention was made of the decision by the Australian dock workers to strike and refuse to load vital ammunition and supplies to Allied soldiers during the war and the reaction of those soldiers who were fighting, in part, to keep Australia free.

There is more, but that seems like enough. The book is OK but anyone who wants to know more about the events needs to continue by reading books that cover the war in more detail. The narration is fine, but not exceptional. All in all an OK read. 3 stars.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Informative, dry and suffers from narrator's perf.

I bought this for a general overview of the pacific. It's a great book. But its scope is so large it is easy to space out. The narrator's performance is lack luster and very much radio voice-esk. Less entertaining than Neptune's Inferno by Hornfischer which is how I came across Eagle Against the Sun.
That being said this is a classic benchmark for this theater and I'm glad I got it done. I'm better off for it being in the library.

7 people found this helpful

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Great Listen. Have a Map of the Pacific handy.

Excellent Listen. Great Detail. Having a Map of the Pacific handy will certainly help give a better understanding of many of the challenges confronting both sides, particularly when it comes to logistics. If you are even remotely interested in the War in the Pacific, this is a must listen. I have probably completed 20+ books on the War in the Pacific, but to date this listen has been the most comprehensive. I am confident you will not be disappointed if you elect to listen to this book.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great pacing, easy to follow, and very enjoyable.

Enjoyed it through the entirety. Great summery of the war in the Pacific. Detailed without being labored. Great prose.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

excuses for McAurther.

My father was with 27th Boom group. He said that pearl harbor was bombed Philippines was under heavy clouds so they were not bombed yet. 27th bomb group loaded bombers and just before they took off. a captain said we should clear this with McAruther. he stopped the bomb raid. all air craft anded for lunch. japanese planned to attack while Americans were at lunch. MacAruther blew it. this book makes excuses for American hero.
also McAruther posted guards on commissary so the Japanese could see how we do things. Americans later starved for lack of food

2 people found this helpful

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if you want a detailed history...

if you want a detailed history of WWII in the Pacific, then: this is it

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

a broad survey of the Pacific War Theatre.

The book is very broad and covers much of the Pacific Conflict between The United States and Japan though not always in great detail. informative for someone new to the Subject but may lack depth for aficionados of the conflict.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The Author seems conflicted

The performance of the reader is magnificent and the problem of the book does not stem from that. The problem is the book directly contradicts itself, and doesn’t seem to mind that. I will not bore you with the details. However know this going in.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent details and insights .

Excellent details and insights into the events and campaigns of the Pacific theater in WW2.

1 person found this helpful

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