The best books about the Battle of Midway (from a U.S. Navy Pilot)

Who am I?

I am a retired U.S. Navy carrier pilot, having flown the A-7 Corsair II and F/A-18 Hornet operationally, and formerly the Executive Vice President of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. Over 20 years I have spoken about the battle to diverse audiences, and my historical fiction novel The Silver Waterfall was written without changing any facts of the battle and features the real men who fought it. I am also the author of the Raven One trilogy of aircraft carrier techno-thrillers.

I wrote...

The Silver Waterfall: A Novel of the Battle of Midway

By Kevin Miller,

Book cover of The Silver Waterfall: A Novel of the Battle of Midway

What is my book about?

If you’ve wondered what more could be written about the Battle of Midway, here’s the answer: Kevin Miller has delivered the perfect amalgam of vivid military history and unforgettable fiction. Through the viewpoints of the combatants on both sides — pilots, gunners, sailors, fleet commanders — The Silver Waterfall evokes the drama and raw terror of the battle that changed the course of the war. Historical fiction at its best. — Robert Gandt

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

Why did I love this book?

Though it helps to have a grasp of the battle, Shattered Sword by Parshall and Tully is an absolute must read. Through detailed research including the study of primary source documents in Japanese archives and interviews with Japanese participants, Shattered Sword explores the decision-tree timeline of the battle from the Japanese side. The stirring survivor narratives and the insight into the doctrine of how Japan conducted carrier warfare is fascinating and much of it had been given short shrift by western accounts. Parshall and Tully did the work: their epic Shattered Sword is simply masterful.

By Anthony Tully, Jonathan Parshall,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Shattered Sword as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many consider the Battle of Midway to have turned the tide of the Pacific War. It is without question one of the most famous battles in history. Now, for the first time since Gordon W. Prange's bestselling Miracle at Midway, Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully offer a new interpretation of this great naval engagement.

Unlike previous accounts, Shattered Sword makes extensive use of Japanese primary sources. It also corrects the many errors of Mitsuo Fuchida's Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, an uncritical reliance upon which has tainted every previous Western account. It thus forces a major, potentially controversial reevaluation…

Book cover of Pacific Payback: The Carrier Aviators Who Avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway

Why did I love this book?

It was the carrier-based dive-bombers that carried the day at Midway, and Moore’s narrative non-fiction account of the battle through the eyes of the actual men who fought at Midway in these dive-bombers is an entertaining and gripping page turner. You learn of their fears, the uncertainty, and of their humble courage. Moore brings you with them in their SBD Dauntless cockpits. These men were what the United States had at the onset of the Pacific War, and Moore’s tribute to them is moving.

By Stephen L. Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pacific Payback as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Deeply researched and well written....By far the most detailed account of USS Enterprise’s dive-bombers and their decisive role at the Battle of Midway.”*

Sunday, December 7, 1941, dawned clear and bright over the Pacific....

But for the Dauntless dive-bomber crews of the USS Enterprise returning to their home base on Oahu, it was a morning from hell. Flying directly into the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor, they lost a third of their squadron and witnessed the heart of America’s Navy broken and smoldering on the oil-slicked waters below.

The next six months, from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway—a…

Book cover of No Right To Win: A Continuing Dialogue with Veterans of the Battle of Midway

Why did I love this book?

Russell, moderator of the Battle of Midway Internet Round Table, goes further than Moore in that his interviews with the participants of the battle delve deeper into the Midway narrative and decision matrix. Up there alongside Parshall and Tully as the top experts on Midway, Russell through his first-hand accounts of Midway survivors – and their human perceptions - explores the controversies of Midway, such as the “Flight to Nowhere” and “eyewitness” testimony proved false by realities of geography and photographic evidence. No Right to Win is highly recommended for advanced students of the battle and is recommended for those who have a baseline knowledge of Midway lore.

By Ronald Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Right To Win as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1942, one of the most powerful naval forces in history descended upon the tiny atoll of Midway, 1100 miles northwest of Hawaii. The Japanese intent was to lure America's badly depleted Pacific Fleet into the open where it would be overwhelmed, forcing the U.S. to end the Pacific War on Japanese terms. But it didn't happen that way. Through an amazing combination of skill, courage, and especially luck, U.S. not only prevailed at Midway but delivered to the enemy a crushing defeat that instantly changed the course of the war. No Right to Win is a fresh look at…

The Battle of Midway

By Craig L. Symonds,

Book cover of The Battle of Midway

Why did I love this book?

Symonds, an esteemed naval historian, writes a superb non-fiction telling of the battle, from “big-picture” decision making from the admirals at Midway to cockpit scenes like Moore. It is readable for those with only a passing familiarity and of benefit to readers with a deeper knowledge. Leveraging the research of Parshall and Tully – as all modern commentators do - Symonds treats Midway evenly, and covers all aspects of the three-day Midway story, one more amazing than the next.

By Craig L. Symonds,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Battle of Midway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever.

In this riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds, paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice. Symonds begins with the arrival of Admiral…

Book cover of A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight

Why did I love this book?

The story of the ill-fated Torpedo Squadron Eight of USS Hornet – all planes lost and only one survivor out of 30 men - is the stuff of legend. In this essential non-fiction tome, Mrazek introduces the reader to these men and explores what made them tick. It is not always pleasant, and Mrazek pulls no punches as he delves into the human side of these flawed men, who in some cases did not like each other, which increases the empathy for the sacrifice of the squadron at Midway. The reader can imagine him or herself in a tight-knit squadron arguing and irritating one another as humans can do at times – before having to fly into combat in planes they knew were obsolete. While the human cost and poignant stories of loss are part of all Midway books, A Dawn Like Thunder lays it out the best.

By Robert J. Mrazek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dawn Like Thunder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great untold stories of World War II finally comes to light in this thrilling account of Torpedo Squadron Eight and their heroic efforts in helping an outmatched U.S. fleet win critical victories at Midway and Guadalcanal.

Thirty-five American men -- many flying outmoded aircraft -- changed the course of the war, going on to become the war's most decorated naval air squadron, while suffering the heaviest losses in U.S. naval aviation history.

Mrazek paints moving portraits of the men in the squadron, and exposes a shocking cover-up that cost many lives. Filled with thrilling scenes of battle,…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Battle of Midway, World War 2, and the United States Navy?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Battle of Midway, World War 2, and the United States Navy.

The Battle Of Midway Explore 10 books about the Battle of Midway
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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Rising Sun, Falling Skies, Sea of Thunder, and Guadalcanal if you like this list.