The Battle of Leyte Gulf at 75

A Retrospective

  • Subject: Fall 2022 Catalog
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    6 maps, 18 b/w illustrations
  • Published:
    September 15, 2022
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    16 oz
Softcover $24.95
Member Price $14.97 Save 40%
Book: Cover Type


Often appropriately described as the “greatest naval battle in history,” the battle of Leyte Gulf (23–26 October 1944) was actually a series of battles in which both sides exhibited courage and resourcefulness yet suffered from confusion born of poorly conceived command relationships and ineffective communications. Marked by awe-inspiring heroism, failed intelligence, brilliant deception, flawed strategy, effective tactical planning, great controversies, and a host of lessons learned, this gargantuan battle involved hundreds of ships, included nearly 200,000 participants, spanned more than 100,000 square miles, and resulted in the deaths of thousands of sailors from both sides. Every facet of naval warfare at the time was involved—air, surface, subsurface, amphibious, and—with the introduction of the kamikaze—a forerunner of guided missiles. It is clearly one of the great naval battles in history and has been the subject of countless books and articles in the 75 years since those massive fleets clashed in the Western Pacific.  

In his introduction, Cutler contends that there are five elements that make this battle unique and of continuing interest to historians, buffs, and strategists. These elements are explained, reinforced, and enhanced by a number of original essays and by special selections from the Naval Institute’s impressive archive. The eleven essays by eminent historians take new looks at various aspects of this complex and ultimately decisive battle, providing fresh insight and offering different perspectives that will answer some old questions and likely pose new ones. This enlightening retrospective collection is further enhanced by a selection of articles culled from the rich archive of the Naval Institute’s Proceedings and Naval History magazines that have long sustained the debates and the lessons learned from this important historical event. The result is an edifying and entertaining volume that will not likely be the last on this important subject but serves as an important contribution to this evergreen topic.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Following up on his outstanding narrative of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Thomas Culter marshals this remarkable and engaging collection of essays by a superlative cast of historians on the multiple facets of that titanic sea fight. These explore the fierce controversies among the top commanders, but do not neglect the lesser participants. The essays are supplemented with judiciously selected articles on the battle published over many decades, including accounts by Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. and Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid. This belongs in any library about the Pacific War.” —Richard B. Frank, an internationally recognized Asia-Pacific War historian, is the author of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
“This is a book for specialists ... [and] a good addition to any library dealing with World War II and the nature of the war in the Pacific. And from this standpoint, the book is highly recommended.” —
“The U.S. Navy’s step-by-step campaign across the Pacific culminated in the Battle for Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history. It was simultaneously a climax of successes—the Battle of Surigao Strait stands out—errors—when Admiral Halsey took his whole fleet north—and mysteries—why Admiral Kurita turned back when the way was open to strike the landings on Leyte. This anthology compiled and contributed to by Tom Cutler is as entertaining as it is instructive.” —Capt. Wayne P. Hughes, Jr, USN (Retired), author of Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations and Dean Emeritus of the Naval Postgraduate School
“An especially inspirational and authoritative 75th anniversary retrospective by renowned authors and historians of the controversial battle that changed the course of World War II in the Pacific. An essential resource for any study of this pivotal episode in modern military history.” —Edward J. Marolda, former director of Naval History (Acting)
“This book is a collection of 24 essays by notable historians — and some participants who are long-departed — on various aspects and controversies of the battle, offering new perspectives and insight.” —Seapower
“The Naval Institute Press, via the editorship and authorship of naval officer and historian Thomas Cutler, has brought another fine anthology not just to students and consumers of naval history, but other audiences as well…. It is a story that really never grows old.” —The Strategy Bridge
“This book is an excellent addition to the study of World War II naval history. The Battle of Leyte Gulf deserves the examination and recounting made by this book’s authors. It is fitting to delve into the various actions fought in the waters around the Philippines to understand why certain command decisions were made in the heat of battle. Overall, the twenty-four essays that make up this book greatly amplify one’s understanding of the various components that came together that led to the Battle of Leyte Gulf and why all battle plans fall apart upon contact with the enemy. The book is not just about ships fighting ships, but also about decision making in a time of crisis. This is a great read.” —The Journal of America’s Military Past
“Thomas Cutler wrote an excellent book on the Battle of Leyte Gulf a quarter of a century ago. He has followed up brilliantly by compiling this, accurately named, retrospective. This time, he has combined his own research with those of numerous others from modern historians to contemporary commentators. The result is first-rate naval history. As well as a comprehensive overview of the full extent of the battle that took place ‘around’ rather than ‘in’ Leyte Gulf, Cutler’s approach offers an enormous amount of detail as to how the battle progressed on an almost minute-by-minute basis.” —Baird Maritime
The Battle of Leyte Gulf at 75 is an extremely informative, yet palatable read that students of naval history will find intellectually satisfying…. [A] masterfully crafted compilation of essays suitable for professional and casual historians alike. It will make a worthwhile addition to any Second World War library.” —The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord
The Battle of Leyte Gulf at 75 is a valuable read for anyone with an interest in naval history, and particularly those concerned with the Pacific War.” —StrategyPage
“An outstanding contribution to the historiography on this subject.  This anthology has added significantly to the ongoing debate about this landmark, but controversial battle. It provides a much better understanding of not only what happened and what might have been at Leyte Gulf in October 1944, but also why.  Cutler’s The Battle of Leyte Gulf at 75:  A Retrospective will take pride of place alongside his earlier 1994 publication on the bookshelf of any serious student or scholar of World War II in the Pacific.” —Naval Historical Foundation

“Thomas Cutler’s edited collection on the Battle of Leyte Gulf is not only timely given the seventy-fifth anniversary of the engagement, but is also a highly significant addition to the historiography of the battle. Cutler is clear in his assessment of the battle as having global historical implications, since it was the last major naval battle in world history…. The collection is an excellent way by which both specialists and generalists can obtain an outstanding view of the debates about the conduct of the battle, as well as the general direction of its historiography…. This collection will be a valuable addition to the battle’s historiography.” —The Journal of Military History
“Cutler’s compendium is a valuable contribution to the literature on Leyte Gulf.” —Warship
“A solid work of naval history and has deepened our understanding of this complex naval battle.” —Global Maritime History