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Nimitz at War

Command Leadership from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

Symonds, Craig L. (Class of '57 Chair in Naval History, Class of '57 Chair in Naval History, U.S. Naval Academy)

Nimitz at War

Nimitz at War

Command Leadership from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay

Nimitz at War


This wartime biography of the Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific Ocean Area during World War II, gives a bird's eye view of the war from inside the theater headquarters of the man most responsible for eventual victory against Japan.

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Beschrijving Nimitz at War

From America's preeminent naval historian, the first full-length portrait in over fifty years of the man who won the war in the Pacific in World War TwoD "destined," says Andrew Roberts, "to be the defining life of Chester Nimitz for a long time to come."

"Nimitz at War is the greatest biography yet written about the greatest admiral in American history." - Ian Toll

Only days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt tapped Chester W. Nimitz to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. Nimitz was not the most senior candidate available, and some, including his new boss, U.S. Navy Admiral Ernest J. King, considered him a "desk admiral," more suited to running a bureaucracy than a theater of war. Yet FDR's selection proved nothing less than inspired. From the precarious early months of the war after December 7th, 1941 to the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay nearly four years later, Nimitz transformed the devastated and dispirited Pacific fleet into the most powerful and commanding naval force in history.

From the start, the pressures on Nimitz were crushing. Facing demands from Washington to mount an early offensive, he had first to revive the depressed morale of the thousands of sailors, soldiers, and Marines who served under him. He had to corral independent-minded subordinatesD including Admiral Bill "Bull" Halsey and General Holland "Howlin' Mad" SmithD and keep them focused on shared objectives. He had to maintain a sometimes-fraught relationship with his Army counterpart Douglas MacArthur, and cope with his superiors, including the formidably prickly King and the inscrutable FDR. He had to navigate the expectations of a nation impatient for revenge and eventual victory. And of course, he also confronted a formidable and implacable enemy in the Imperial Japanese Navy, which, until the Battle of Midway, had the run of the Pacific.

Craig Symonds' Nimitz at War reveals how the quiet man from the Hill Country of Texas eventually surmounted all of these challenges. Using Nimitz's headquartersD the of the hurricaneD as his vantage point, Symonds covers all the major campaigns in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. He captures Nimitz's composure, discipline, homespun wisdom, and most of all his uncanny sense of when to assert authority and when to pull back. In retrospect it is difficult to imagine anyone else accomplishing what Nimitz did. As Symonds' absorbing, dynamic, and authoritative portrait reveals, it required qualities of leadership exhibited by few other commanders in history, qualities that are enduringly and even poignantly relevant to our own moment.

Nimitz at War has sold over 25,000 copies in hardcover and ebook combined.

Paperback / softback