Naval historian Vincent O Hara recounts here the dramatic story of the U.S. Navy s surface fleet in World War II, especially its ship-to-ship combat. He suggests that the fleet s role in America s ultimate victory was far more crucial than commonly credited and holds many lessons for today s Navy and the nation as a whole. His work is the only single volume to treat every surface naval action involving major American warships, both famous and obscure. It places each action in its larger context to provide a valuable historical resource on how the Navy and its ships met the test of battle. O'Hara refutes the widely held notion that the attack on Pearl Harbor rendered surface warfare obsolete. He offers readers details of U.S. naval actions barely mentioned in other histories to demonstrate how U.S. battleships, cruisers, and destroyers played a decisive role at critical junctures in the war and made significant contributions to the Allied victory. He also documents the performance of weapon systems, shows how doctrine developed, and examines the role played by new technologies. Numerous maps, tables, and charts enhance the text. A cautionary tale relevant to today s Navy, this book illustrates how swift adaptability and intellectual honesty were fundamental to the Navy s success against Japan. Its underlying premise is that in a conflict against conventional or asymmetric enemies, the United States cannot assume to hold title to the same virtues demonstrated by its Navy three generations past. Instead, those lessons must be constantly studied and validated in the face of postwar mythologies, lest they be forgotten.