The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942–1944
Volume II of the Pacific War Trilogy
Ian W. Toll. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2015. 562 pp. Illus. Maps. Notes. Biblio. Index. $35
Reviewed by Lieutenant Commander Doug Robb, U.S. Navy
One could argue that a decisive factor in winning the air war over the Pacific was a cattle-feed shortage. Paradoxically, although Japan’s high-performing Zero fighters were manufactured in a
state-of-the-art Mitsubishi plant, there was no adjoining airstrip. Planes rolling off the assembly lines had to be hauled 24 miles for delivery by teams of chronically underfed oxen—a stark contrast to bustling U.S. factories of companies such as Boeing, Grumman, and Douglas. This anecdote encapsulates both the lack of planning that contributed to Japan’s defeat and captures the visually evocative writing style that permeates Ian Toll’s The Conquering Tide.