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Scratch One Flattop is an excellent historical account of one of the lesser known, but very critical, battles of World War 2. The author very clearly worked exhaustively and painstakingly to find and include both the major features, and many minor details, of the events. Of special interest to me is the enlightening way he traces the prelude to the battle, as far back as 1905. He explains much that I had never known before, about how the Japanese first began their expansion from a medieval navy of “wood and canvas,” to the floating steel fortresses that dominate the oceans today.
I rate the book as four stars rather than five, due not to any deficiency by the author, but for two personal preferences of my own. One of them is that I find the details, at times, too overwhelming, well suited for a scholarly historian, less so for a WW2 history junkie like myself. The other quibble I have, again a personal thing, is that I believe no history of WW2 should exclude an account of the unimaginable cruelty that the aggressors inflicted on innocent, helpless populations. The Japanese were not outdone in this regard by the Nazis.
On the whole, I strongly recommend Scratch One Flattop. It fills a much needed gap in the telling of the history of the Pacific War. Hundreds of Americans (and Allied sailors) died in the Battle of the Coral Sea, many in ignominious ways (such as dying of thirst in life rafts, dying as prisoners of war, etc). They should be remembered and honored.
Very well written, a smooth read you want to keep going. Extremely well documented, thorough and very clear as to different versions or erroneous accounts. A must read if you are at all interested in the Pacific war Dd