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Neptune's Inferno - James D. Hornfischer

Neptune's Inferno

By James D. Hornfischer

  • Release Date: 2011-01-25
  • Genre: Military
Score: 4.5
From 182 Ratings


“A literary tour de force that is destined to become one of the . . . definitive works about the battle for Guadalcanal . . . [James D.] Hornfischer deftly captures the essence of the most pivotal naval campaign of the Pacific war.”—San Antonio Express-News

The Battle of Guadalcanal has long been heralded as a Marine victory. Now, with his powerful portrait of the Navy’s sacrifice, James D. Hornfischer tells for the first time the full story of the men who fought in destroyers, cruisers, and battleships in the narrow, deadly waters of “Ironbottom Sound.” Here, in stunning cinematic detail, are the seven major naval actions that began in August 1942, a time when the war seemed unwinnable and America fought on a shoestring, with the outcome always in doubt. Working from new interviews with survivors, unpublished eyewitness accounts, and newly available documents, Hornfischer paints a vivid picture of the officers and enlisted men who opposed the Japanese in America’s hour of need. The first major work on this subject in almost two decades, Neptune’s Inferno does what all great battle narratives do: It tells the gripping human stories behind the momentous events and critical decisions that altered the course of history and shaped so many lives.

Praise for Neptune’s Inferno

“Vivid and engaging . . . extremely readable, comprehensive and thoroughly researched.”—Ronald Spector, The Wall Street Journal

“Superlative storytelling . . . the masterwork on the long-neglected topic of World War II’s surface ship combat.”—Richard B. Frank, World War II

“The author’s two previous World War II books . . . thrust him into the major leagues of American military history writers. Neptune’s Inferno is solid proof he deserves to be there.”The Dallas Morning News

“Outstanding . . . The author’s narrative gifts and excellent choice of detail give an almost Homeric quality to the men who met on the sea in steel titans.”Booklist (starred review)

“Brilliant . . . a compelling narrative of naval combat . . . simply superb.”The Washington Times


  • Another Outstanding Work by James D. Hornfischer

    By 36RED
    As a son of a World War II veteran, now in my own retirement from a career in education, I have come to view this author as the most preeminent modern-day historian of the Pacific War. I have now finished "Neptune's Inferno", and although reading them slightly "out of order", I have completed all of Hornfischer's outstanding contributions to Naval history. His works have been utterly captivating, extremely well-researched, and composed in a thoroughly engaging literary style. Mr. Hornfischer has once again proven himself to be qualified as the most responsible naval researcher and author of our generation, documenting and preserving these stories of sacrifice and bravery in naval battles the likes of which our world will simply never experience again. All Iike me who have enjoyed his works so much owe him a debt of gratitude for once again proving that these men, many of whom had best been described at the time as mere boys, were truly the Greatest Generation to adorn the century. As with his other books, I am actually truly sad that I have finished reading "Neptune's Inferno". The experience was such a pleasure!
  • Great, honest drama!

    By dblecircle
    If you like history you often find two different kinds of reading. There are relatively dry, factual, well researched, half page full of footnotes books that give you laundry lists of events, or there are great story tellers that take facts as hostages to create a dramatic narrative. This author really does an amazing job of respecting facts and telling great stories, will be reading him again.
  • Neptune's Inferno

    By R Hillbury
    A riveting and very readable history of Naval and associated actions during the early days of WWII in the South Pacific. This book delivers details of early war naval tactics and the resulting wins, losses and ties. Never dry or boring the description of battles and the resulting damage to ships and the men who served on them is very well done. In all of my reading on US Naval actions in the PTO of WWII I have never experienced better writing on the men who fought and died for their country. An excellent read!
  • Masterful

    By PleasedBoingoUser
    Hornfischer interleaved countess threads in a tapestry reflecting subtleties of political gamesmanship, calculations of a chessboard thousands of miles across and the horror of battle and survival on land, air and sea. An incredible read.
  • Neptunes Inferno

    By PAul Bar
    A great read that highlights all aspects of the naval campaign. Does a great job exploring the personalities of the US Command team. The only thing that prevents a 5 star rating is the authors tendency, especially in the first chapter or two, to try and impress the reader with flowery and wordy passages.
  • Change is not easy

    By crabtrem
    This is the book I have been waiting for to fill important gaps. It goes well with Pacific Crucible, but defines the intense difficulty adapting and adjusting to new roles and requirements can be. It also shows how complicated war, but especially war at sea can be. It is a wonderful book that truly put's a different perspective during these crucial moments in the campaign in the Pacific.
  • Neptune's Inferno

    By Emopell
    Excellent history, brilliantly researched. Reads like a Thomas Flemming novel.
  • Outstanding

    By swmuzzleloader
    Excellent history of the desperate naval battles in the Solomon islands.
  • Great Read!

    One of the best World War 2 histories I have ever read.