E. B. Potter
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Called a great book worthy of a great man, this definitive biography of the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet in World War II, first published in 1976 and now available in paperback for the first time, continues to be considered the best book ever written about Adm. Chester W. Nimitz. Highly respected by both the civilian and naval communities, Nimitz was sometimes overshadowed by more colorful warriors in the Pacific such as MacArthur and Halsey. Potter's lively and authoritative style fleshes out Admiral Nimitz's personality to help readers appreciate the contributions he made as the principal architect of Japan's defeat. Following the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, President Roosevelt named Nimitz as commander of the Pacific Fleet. An experienced and respected leader, Nimitz was also an effective military strategist who directed U.S. forces as they closed in on Japan, beginning in May and June of 1942 with the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. Nimitz was promoted to the newly-created rank of fleet admiral in 1944 and became the naval equivalent to the army's General Dwight Eisenhower. The book covers his full life, from a poverty-stricken childhood to postwar appointments as Chief of Naval Operations and U.N. mediator. It candidly reveals Nimitz's opinions of Halsey, Kimmel, King, Spruance, MacArthur, Forrestal, Roosevelt, and Truman.
strolled about the station platform. On one such occasion, as he headed to leave the train, the admiral stepped into a men’s room. Along came the porters routinely locking the toilets before the engine came to a stop. The one who locked the facility Nimitz occupied failed to check whether the room was in use. Hence when “Mr. Freeman” was ready to emerge, he found he could do nothing of the sort. Worse, when the train pulled out of the station, the porter forgot to unlock the door. The admiral
it was properly dressed. The island commander and his staff entertained the Knox-Nimitz group at dinner. At last, all seemed to be going well, but the jinx was still there. The meal was interrupted by the dismal news that a fueling boat had torn a hole in one of the amphibian’s pontoons. The party would not be able to take off the following morning, as scheduled. January 16 demonstrated that the Midway Islands were much too small for two such active men as the Secretary of the Navy and the
The great highlights of his vacations were the week-long camping trips he took with Grandfather Nimitz. The captain would tell Chester to invite a friend. Then he would roll out the big, horse-drawn prairie schooner, and away they would go, sometimes as far away as the Llano River to the north. Grandfather would do the cooking and camp-tending while the boys hunted, fished, or just roamed the woods. Chester also cherished his visits to the ranch where Grandfather Henry Henke raised cattle for
Dec. 20, 21, and 24, 1941. Record: Comdr. John L. Pillsbury, USNR (Ret.), reconstructed statement of Adm. Nimitz, Sr., on his appointment as CinCPac. Newspaper: New York Times, Dec. 7–24, 1941. Article: Fletcher Pratt, “Nimitz and His Admirals,” Harper’s Magazine, Feb. 1945. Books: Toland, Shame and Rising Sun; Hoyt; King; Morison, Operations, III; Potter, Triumph. Conversations of the author with Mrs. Nimitz, Sr. 2. CINCPAC FROM TEXAS PEARL HARBOR Interviews: Adm. Nimitz, Sr., Train, Drake,
fruitful secondary career as a lecturer and writer. It would be pleasant to report that Nimitz foresaw the submarine as the unparalleled commerce-destroyer it turned out to be. He anticipated nothing of the sort and would no doubt have been astonished, and possibly horrified, to learn that the submersibles would find their most effective wartime use against unarmed freighters. Like most naval officers of the time, he saw the submarine as a defender of harbors and coasts and as an auxiliary to