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U.S. Naval Intelligence and the Imperial Japanese Fleet
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591142805
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era: World War II
  • Number of Pages: 320
  • Subject: History
  • Date Available: October 2011
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Full Description:

Douglas Ford introduces a new perspective on why the U.S. Navy carried out its Pacific campaigns in the manner it did as he explores the evolution of U.S. intelligence on the combat capabilities of the Japanese Navy. He contends that the U.S. Navy could not accurately determine the fighting efficiency of Japan's forces until it engaged them in actual battle over an extended period.  As the conflict progressed, he shows how the Americans relied on information from prisoners and captured weapons and documents, along with first-hand observations by naval personnel of how the Japanese fought and their lack of modern equipment. He lauds the intelligence services for helping disseminate information on the most efficient tactics and weapons to use against the Japanese. Such a comprehensive examination of the impact of intelligence on the conduct of various campaigns is without parallel.

Douglas Ford holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and teaches military history at the University of Salford, UK. He is also the author of Britain's Secret War against Japan, 1937-45.

~ Praise for The Elusive Enemy ~

“Carefully researched and prepared…Intelligence gathering is an arcane and secretive activity, as the author describes, and is usually hidden from and little mentioned by historians. So, in the mix of factors that lead to success in war, it is often inadequately recorded. Mr. Ford has done a brilliant job in correcting that unbalanced record as far as the Pacific war is concerned.”

Work Boat World, May 2013

“The Elusive Enemy illuminates an important aspect of how the U.S. Navy adapted itself to defeat the Imperial Japanese Fleet.”

The Journal of America’s Military Past, Spring/Summer 2012

“Ford's work is not only important to naval historians, but those interested in the history and impact of intelligence as well. Understanding the dangers of bias, mirror-imaging, and stereotyping is vital as the United States faces a myriad of challenges in the 21st century.”


“A methodical and serious-minded contribution to military and naval history shelves, The Elusive Enemy is especially recommended for college library collections.”

The Midwest Book Review, November 2011

“By uncovering that most elusive and intangible element in war, the ability to understand the enemy, Douglas Ford opens a vital window on the evolution of American naval intelligence as it recovered from prewar ignorance to underpin the drive to ultimate victory.”

—ANDREW LAMBERT, Laughton Professor of Naval History, King's College London

“Douglas Ford's carefully researched book sheds light not only on the challenges the U.S. Navy faced in seeking to understand the Imperial Japanese Navy, but also illuminates the more general difficulty that intelligence organizations have in assessing rising military powers.”

—THOMAS G. MAHNKEN, Jerome Levy Chair of Economic Geography and National Security, U.S. Naval War College

“A fascinating and critical look at U.S. naval intelligence during the Pacific War. Ford demonstrates clearly the enormous difficulties in gathering useful data on the Imperial Navy, both before and during the war.”

—JONATHAN PARSHALL, co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

“Douglas Ford's Elusive Enemy achieves an exceptionally persuasive integration of the intelligence dimension to the Asia-Pacific War into the broad strategic historical narrative of the conflict. Both the strengths and the limitations of the intelligence contribution to the U.S. Navy's eventual victory are explained most convincingly.”

—COLIN S. GRAY, professor of international politics and strategic studies at the University of Reading, UK, and author of The Strategy Bridge and Airpower for Strategic Effect

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