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Morning of the Rising Sun: The Heroic Story of the Battles for Guadalcanal

By Ken Friedman

(702 pages)

Reviewer:  Terry Miller

Overall Rating: Four Stars: Highly recommended. An excellent book.

At 702 pages, Morning of the Rising Sun is not the type of book you'd pick up casually but it is the kind of book that once you pick it up you'll find very hard to put back down. Ken Friedman has found a way of taking dry facts and figures and the myriad details of conducting warfare and making them come alive for the reader. His depth of research is astounding right down to the names of individual pilots of American and Japanese aircraft, often providing details of what they were thinking during combat actions. Friedman's bibliography and copious end notes show careful and painstaking research that will satisfy the most dedicated historian while the descriptions of the actions and the decisions behind them--on both sides--will please any reader of military non-fiction.

The strategic importance of Guadalcanal to both the Japanese and to the Americans has seldom been so clearly detailed as in Morning of the Rising Sun. The Japanese, after strategic losses at Midway and Coral Sea, were desperate to find a way to cut off Allied supply lines from the U.S. West Coast to Australia. A military airfield on the island of Guadalcanal in the extreme Southern Solomon islands would serve that purpose well. For the Americans, taking and holding that airfield for our own use meant a forward base for launching attacks against Japanese-held territory in the rest of the Solomon's chain. It was a must win for both sides and for the Americans it was both far from any U.S. military assistance and the fighting came at a time when the Europe First assessment was depriving Nimitz and MacArthur of needed ships, planes, manpower and materials.

Morning of the Rising Sun is the kind of book that students of WWII history will want to have on the library shelf for reference both because of the importance of the battles for the Southern Solomon's and for Ken Friedman's treatment of them.

 

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