A site for Avalanche Press’ Great War at Sea, World War II at Sea

Selected Bibliography

Angelucci, Enzo. Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft: 1914 to the Present. 1980. Written by Paolo Matricardi, translated by S.M. Harris, created by Adriano Zannino, 2 ed., New York, New York, Random House Company, 1990, pp. 5-568. This comprehensive reference includes more than 800 types of military aircraft, and 2,000 illustrations.

Ballantyne, Iain. Killing the Bismark: Destroying the Pride of Hitler's Fleet. Barnsley, United Kingdom, Pen and Sword Maritime, 2014, pp. 1-320. This book "tells the story of how in May 1941, the German battleship Bismarck, accompanied by heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, broke out into the Atlantic, to attack Allied shipping. The Royal Navy's pursuit and subsequent destruction of Bismarck was an epic naval battle.”

Calvert, James F. Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine. New York, New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1995, pp. 1-320. This memoir relates the story of crew aboard the USS Jack (SS-259) during World War II.

Cox, Jeffery. Blazing Star, Setting Sun: The Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign, November 1942-March 1943. Oxford, United Kingdom, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020, pp. 1-488. This book covers the “Guadalcanal-Solomons campaign from November 1942 to March 1943, including events leading up to the campaign, the battles that took place and its aftermath.

Dull, Paul. A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy (1941-1945). 1978. Annapolis, Maryland, United States Naval Institute, 2007, pp. 3-402. Information included in this book comes from Japanese microfilmed records, concentrating on the principal surface and carrier engagements of World War II as viewed from the perspective of Japanese commanders.

Dunnigan, James F, and Albert A. Nofi. Victory at Sea: World War II in the Pacific. New York, Quill, 1996, pp. 1-612. This extensive book includes a chronology, bibliographic references and index of Pacific-area naval campaigns from 1939-1945.

Fahey, James. The Ships and Aircraft of the United States Fleet. 1939. 8th ed., vol. 4, Annapolis, Maryland, Naval Institute Press, 1994, pp. 1-96. This four-volume set includes a photographic catalog of all U.S. naval ships, aircraft and auxiliaries involved in World War II, including specific data about each vessel.

Farrington, Karen. Handbook of World War II: An Illustrated Chronicle of the Struggle for Victory. New York, New York, Barnes and Noble, Inc., 2008, pp. 5-256. This book considers the war on land, sea, sky, and undersea separately in unraveling the complexities and examining all the details, including hundreds of eyewitness accounts. Photographs, maps, and fact panels chronicle the sequence of main events, helping to put the main actions of the war in context.

Friedman, Norman. U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland, United States Naval Institute, 1985, pp. 1-463. With detailed ship plans by Alan Raven and A.D. Baker, III, as well as a wealth of photographs, this book examines the evolution of U.S. battleships from 1866 to modern times, with technical specifications for these ships.

Gordon, Andrew, and Sir John Woodward. The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command. Annapolis, Maryland, U.S. Naval Institute, 1997, pp. 1-720. This book provides an “engrossing education not only in naval strategy and tactics but in Victorian social attitudes and the influence of character on history. It is a deconstruction of the great 1916 naval battle between the Grand Fleet of England and the High Seas Fleet of Germany near Jutland in the North Sea.”

Hobbs, David. The British Pacific Fleet: The Royal Navy's Most Powerful Strike Force. Annapolis, Maryland, Naval Institute Press, 2011, pp. 1-462. This book contains a wealth of photographs and maps as the author expertly strikes a “balance between recounting what happened, why it happened, and individual experiences” of those involved.

Hornfischer, James D. The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour. New York, New York, Bantam Books, 2004, pp. 1-512. This award-winning book chronicles the action off Samar, as part of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Ian, Toll. Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942. New York, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2020, pp. 1-656. This “first volume in the Pacific War trilogy is a narrative history of the opening phase of the Pacific War between the Allies and the Empire of Japan. The book tells the epic tale of these first searing months of the Pacific war, when the U.S. Navy shook off the worst defeat in American military history and seized the strategic initiative.”

---. The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944. W.W. Norton & Company, 2020, pp. 1-688. This narrative history “covers the period from June 1942 to June 1944 during the middle phase of the Pacific War, which took place in the central and southern Pacific between the Allies and the Empire of Japan. The book starts with the fighting during the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, and New Guinea campaigns, continues into the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign and ends with the dramatic Japanese defeats during the Mariana and Palau Islands campaign, as well as the Battle of the Philippine Sea.”

---. Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945. New York, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2020, pp. 1-994. This book is a “narrative history of the final phase of the Pacific War that took place in the western Pacific between the Allies” and Japan. It covers events such as when the “U.S. Navy won the largest naval battle in history; Douglas MacArthur made good his pledge to return to the Philippines; waves of kamikazes attacked the Allied fleets; and the Japanese fought to the last man on one island after another.”

Jellicoe, Nick. Jutland: The Unfinished Battle: A Personal History of a Naval Controversy. Annapolis, Maryland, U.S. Naval Institute, 2018, pp. 1-440. Written by the grandson of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, young Nick Jellicoe has lived his whole life under the shadow of Jutland. The ongoing controversy surrounding his grandfather's actions on that day “inspired him to undertake a major investigation of the battle and an analysis of the arguments that followed.”

Jentschura, Hansgeorg, et al. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945. 1970. Translated by Antony Preston and J.D. Brown, Annapolis, Maryland, United States Naval Institute, 1978, pp. 10-284. This book presents an authoritative reference of the ships of the Japanese Navy from 1869-1945. Particularly useful are the wealth of photographs, drawings and technical information included.

Lockwood, Charles A. Sink ‘Em All: Submarine Warfare in the Pacific. New York, New York, Dutton, 1951, pp. 1-397. Written by “Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, the U.S. Navy commander of the Pacific submarine fleet during World War II.”

Macintyre, Donald. Aircraft Carrier: The Majestic Weapon. 1968. 3 ed., New York, Ballantine Books, 1971, pp. 8-160. This book traces the emergence of the aircraft carrier from 1939 to its role as the dominating factor in naval operations. Numerous photographs and an appendix containing orders of battle is included.

Macksey, Kenneth. Military Errors of World War Two. 1987. Cassell plc, London, DAG Publications Ltd., 2000, pp. 9-252. This book highlights a selection of command errors during World War II with an analysis of why these mistakes came about.

Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War. Boston, Massachusetts, Little, Brown and Company, Ltd., 1963, pp. 1-611. This superlative book is a one-volume history of the United States Navy in World War II, containing 52 charts and 25 pages of photographs.

---. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: The Rising Sun in the Pacific, 1931-April 1942. Vol. III, Boston, Massachusetts, Little, Brown and Company, 1948, pp. 3-411. This volume chronicles the ascent of the Japanese imperial power, policies, strategies, and actions in the Pacific and East Asia prior to and during the early months of World War II. It contains orders of battle, individual commander's names and ships involved, maps, and photographs.

---. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions, May-August 1942. Vol. IV, Boston, Massachusetts, Little, Brown and Company, 1949, pp. 3-307. This fourth volume focuses on the Coral Sea and Midway battles and associated submarine actions and includes charts, maps, orders of battle, names of ship commanders and ship types with actual vessel names.

---. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: Aleutians, Gilberts and Marshalls, June 1942-April 1944. Vol. VII, Boston, Massachusetts, Little, Brown and Company, 1951, pp. 4-369. This volume chronicles the aftermath of the major carrier versus carrier battles of Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz as the action shifted from carrier to land-based Allied bombers.

Prefer, Nathan N. Leyte 1944: The Soldier's Battle. United States, Casemate Publishers, 2012, pp. 1-288. This book gives an account of the battle in Leyte in 1944 that "took place during World War II between American forces and Filipino guerrillas against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita. The battle began on October 17, 1944, with the main fighting continuing through December 26, 1944.”

Rohwer, Jurgen. Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945. 1972. Annapolis, Maryland, Naval Institute Press, 2005, pp. 1-531. This book presents a comprehensive, chronological history of the war at sea from 1939-1945, including a day-by-day discussion of actions, missions, personnel, and craft.

Stephen, Martin. Sea Battles in Close-Up: World War 2. 1988. Edited by Eric Grove, Annapolis, Maryland, Naval Institute Press, 1993, pp. 6-224. This book examines ten crucial naval engagements, supported by 60 detailed maps and 150 carefully selected photographs.

Stern, Robert C. Big Gun Battles: Warship Duels of the Second World War. Barnsley, England, Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2015, pp. 1-268. This book focuses on battles decided by naval gunfire and concentrates on the technological advancements of naval gunnery sensor systems, particularly radar, from August 1939-October 1944.

Stille, Mark E. The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War. New York, New York, Bloomsbury USA, 2014, pp. 1-392. This book describes all aspects of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Stillwell, Paul. Battleship Arizona: An Illustrated History. Annapolis, Maryland, U.S. Naval Institute, 1991, pp. 3-404. This richly illustrated book covers the career of the USS Arizona from her inception in March 1914 to her fateful demise in December 1941.

---. Battleship Commander: The Life of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee, Jr. Annapolis, Maryland, U.S. Naval Institute, 2021, pp. 1-336. This comprehensive biography chronicles the life and career of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee, Jr., whose bright intellect, practicality, and wide-ranging skills provided the U.S. Navy with superb guidance and leadership during WW II.

Symonds, Craig L. World War II at Sea: A Global History. Oxford, England, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. 1-770. This book presents a global perspective on World War II at sea, focusing on the major engagements, the personalities involved, the forces in action.

Tillman, Barrett. Enterprise: America's Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped Win World War II. New York, New York, Simon and Schuster, 2013, pp. 1-321. This book “tells the story of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and of the men who fought and died on her from Pearl Harbor to the end of the conflict.

---. Whirlwind: The Air War against Japan, 1942-1945. New York, New York, Simon & Schuster, 2010, pp. 1-316. Whirlwind is the first book to tell the “complete, awe-inspiring story of the Allied air war against Japan—the most important strategic bombing campaign in history. From the audacious Doolittle raid in 1942 to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. It also presents a judicious discussion of the wider role of air power in the Pacific war between the United States and Japan.

Toland, John. The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945. New York, New York, Random House, 1970, pp. 1-954. Winning the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, the book chronicles the “dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

Wheelan, Joseph. Midnight in the Pacific: Guadalcanal--the World War II Battle That Turned the Tide of War. New York, New York, Hachette Books, 2017, pp. 1-400. This book describes the “six-month struggle for the strategic island of Guadalcanal where marines faced bloody banzai attacks in the stifling malarial jungles while the U.S. sailors and pilots battled Japanese air and sea armadas day and night.”

Worth, Richard. Fleets of World War II (Revised Edition). Cambridge, Massachusetts, Perseus Books Group, 2021, pp. 1-375. This reference, “covers the entire scope of the navies of World War II,” including Axis and Allied navies and key neutrals, providing a candid assessment of all fleets.