by Thomas N. Carmichael
Old Saybrook, Conn.: Konecky & Konecky, 1971. Pp. 339.
Illus., maps, biblio., index. . ISBN:1-56852-380-7
War II had been going well for the Axis for just over three years at the start
of October, 1942. In the Pacific, Japan
was seemingly rebounding from a defeat at Midway and had, through attrition,
pushed the Americans down to one operable carrier in the Pacific. Germany was deep into Russia, had been
cutting off the convoys, and had the British backed up – almost with their
backs against the Suez Canal. In a
space of ninety days, things changed in five battles.
less than 340 pages, Thomas Carmichael’s book cannot go into a lot of
detail. However, this is easily an
overview that is very difficult to top, even though it is 35 years old. Carmichael provides the crucial coverage of
these campaigns, which spanned a hemisphere.
Notable for its absence is the use of military terminology. This is a mass-market book, and one that is
just as readable as those books by Stephen E. Ambrose.
these battles, perhaps the most interesting, largely due to its comparative
obscurity, is the Battle of the Barents Sea.
This battle, in which a British force of two light cruisers and five old
destroyers held off a German force consisting of a pocket battleship, a heavy
cruiser, and six destroyers – and ensured the safe arrival of convoy JW51B to
other battles, Guadalcanal, El Alamein, Operation Torch, and Stalingrad, are
all reasonably well known, and this book provides a superb overview of
them. The bibliography points to other
books that can provide more detail.
Overall, The Ninety Days
is a superb overview
of the period in which the war turned around.
Before that period, the Axis was advancing.
After that period, the Axis was in retreat, and the Allies were
well on their way to victory.