100 books like Sea of Thunder

By Evan Thomas,

Here are 100 books that Sea of Thunder fans have personally recommended if you like Sea of Thunder. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Barrett Tillman Author Of When the Shooting Stopped: August 1945

From my list on WWII aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like all Boomers, I grew up in the shadow of “The War.” My parents, relatives, and others participated in World War II to various extents; all were affected by it. Therefore, I absorbed the Pacific Theater early on. My father trained as a naval aviator, and among my early TV memories is the 1950s series Victory at Sea. My mother coaxed me early on, and an aunt was an English teacher, so I began learning to read before kindergarten. In retrospect, that gave me extra time to start absorbing the emerging literature. Much later I helped restore and flew WW II aircraft, leading to my first book.

Barrett's book list on WWII aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific

Barrett Tillman Why did Barrett love this book?

Shattered Sword is proof that history is a journey rather than a destination. When published in 2005, Parshall and Tully set a milepost on the then-six-decade road to understanding the pivotal June 1942 battle.  

Aside from correcting “settled facts” about the battle, the authors added depth with detailed examinations of rare subjects.  Among other things, how the Imperial Navy managed its flight and hangar decks; how the combat air patrols were cycled. What some readers might consider “nuts and bolts” provide revelations to those seeking deeper knowledge, especially for relevant individuals and Japanese culture.

By Jonathan Parshall, Anthony Tully,

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 Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II

Walter R. Borneman Author Of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea

From my list on naval battles in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Walter R. Borneman is an American military and political historian. He won the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize in Naval Literature for The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King, a national bestseller. Borneman's other titles include Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona; MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific; and 1812: The War That Forged a Nation.

Walter's book list on naval battles in WW2

Walter R. Borneman Why did Walter love this book?

Perceptions of the first several months of World War II in the Pacific war usually focus on Douglas MacArthur’s actions in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy and its British, Dutch, and Australian allies waged a largely unsung and losing battle against the Japanese onslaught to control the natural resources of the Netherlands East Indies.

Rising Sun, Falling Skies scrutinizes the learning curve of allied command, the hopelessness of facing numerical superiority, and the grim awakening that airpower plays a decisive role no matter how powerful the fleet. Cox’s portraits of admirals Thomas Hart and Karl Doorman beg a host of intriguing “what ifs.”

By Jeffrey Cox,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rising Sun, Falling Skies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few events have ever shaken a country in the way that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor affected the United States. The Japanese forces then continued to overwhelm the Allies, attacking Malaya with its fortress of Singapore, and taking resource-rich islands in the Pacific in their own blitzkrieg offensive. Allied losses in these early months after America's entry into the war were great, and among the most devastating were those suffered during the Java Sea Campaign, where a small group of Americans, British, Dutch, and Australians were isolated in the Far East - directly in the path of the Japanese…


Book cover of Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal

Walter R. Borneman Author Of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea

From my list on naval battles in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Walter R. Borneman is an American military and political historian. He won the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize in Naval Literature for The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King, a national bestseller. Borneman's other titles include Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona; MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific; and 1812: The War That Forged a Nation.

Walter's book list on naval battles in WW2

Walter R. Borneman Why did Walter love this book?

All of Hornfischer’s histories deserve to be on this list, but Neptune’s Inferno is my personal favorite. Guadalcanal is justifiably thought of as the heroic struggle of Marines to take and hold the island, but they could not have done so without the sacrifices of thousands of sailors in the surrounding waters.

Hornfischer’s smooth style guides one through multiple battles over a four-month campaign, including two of the darkest moments in U.S. naval history: the fiery nighttime battle of Savo Island that initially saved the beachhead and the opening round of the climatic battles of mid-November 1942 that numbered two admirals among the American dead.

By James D. Hornfischer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Neptune’s Inferno as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A masterpiece of 20th-century naval history." --Bob Shacochis, National Book Award-winning author of The Immaculate Invasion

"The star of this year's reading list is James D. Hornfischer, a military historian whose flair for narrative is rivaled only by his ability to organize the sweep of battle and assess strategy and tactics in layman's terms." --Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Battle of Guadalcanal has long been heralded as a Marine victory. Now, with his powerful portrait of the Navy's sacrifice, James D. Hornfischer tells for the first time the full story of the men who fought in destroyers, cruisers, and battleships in…


Book cover of The Hunters 1939-1942

Walter R. Borneman Author Of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King--The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea

From my list on naval battles in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Walter R. Borneman is an American military and political historian. He won the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize in Naval Literature for The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King, a national bestseller. Borneman's other titles include Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona; MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific; and 1812: The War That Forged a Nation.

Walter's book list on naval battles in WW2

Walter R. Borneman Why did Walter love this book?

Yes, there was a naval war in the Atlantic, too. Had not the Allies defeated Hitler’s U-boats over a multi-year battle—the longest of the war—World War II would likely have been lost no matter the heroics in the Pacific. Hitler’s U-Boat War does for the Battle of the Atlantic what Blair did with Silent Victory for submarine actions in the Pacific.

This book is exhaustive in detail—pick a boat or an engagement, and Blair has chronicled it— but taken overall, these volumes show the tenuous nature of the battle that was won in the aggregate by individual conflicts between hunter and hunted. This is a reliable desktop reference as well as a compelling read.

By Clay Blair,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hunters 1939-1942 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"His monumental work...is the most thorough study of the U-boat campaign available."    --Library Journal

Hitler's U-boat War is an epic sea story about the most arduous and prolonged naval battle in history. For a period of nearly six years, the German U-boat force attempted to blockade and isolate the British Isles in hopes of forcing the British out of the war, thereby thwarting both the Allied strategic air assault on German cities and Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Occupied France. Fortunately for the Allies, the U-boat force failed to achieve either of these objectives, but in the attempt they…


Book cover of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

James G. Stavridis Author Of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision

From my list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired 4-star Admiral who spent over forty years at sea, rising from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. Along the way, I served in and commanded destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers in combat, and I have faced many very difficult decisions under extreme pressure. In addition, I’ve been in the Pentagon for many assignments, including as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense – which also created countless high-pressure decisions. What I learned in the Navy has helped me again and again in calculating risk and making the right decisions. 

James' book list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure

James G. Stavridis Why did James love this book?

A novel about a rusty old destroyer minesweeper, a supremely difficult captain, a mixed bag officers in a dysfunctional wardroom, a horrific typhoon, and a nail-biting court-martial. The seagoing and combat portions of the novel are very realistic, reflecting Wouk’s time in uniform on a similar class of ship in the Pacific during WWII. In my hand as I write this is a battered 1951 first edition of the novel, with a slightly tattered cover, which I treasure above almost any book in the five thousand volumes in my personal library. Over the years of my career, I’ve returned again and again to The Caine Mutiny, and the fundamental lesson of this sea novel is what both leaders and followers owe each other, especially in the demanding crucible of the sea.

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The novel that inspired the now-classic film The Caine Mutiny and the hit Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.

Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life—and mutiny—on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II. In the intervening half century, The Caine Mutiny has become a perennial favorite of readers young and old, has sold millions of copies throughout the world, and has achieved the status…


Book cover of One Hundred Days: The Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander

James G. Stavridis Author Of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision

From my list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired 4-star Admiral who spent over forty years at sea, rising from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. Along the way, I served in and commanded destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers in combat, and I have faced many very difficult decisions under extreme pressure. In addition, I’ve been in the Pentagon for many assignments, including as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense – which also created countless high-pressure decisions. What I learned in the Navy has helped me again and again in calculating risk and making the right decisions. 

James' book list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure

James G. Stavridis Why did James love this book?

A brilliant and harrowing depiction of the kind of full-on, high-stress decisions made in the furious hours of combat in the deep south Atlantic Ocean as Great Britain sought to recapture the Falkland Islands from Argentina, which had seized them. There is no finer example of decision-making by a senior commander at sea in modern combat. As a strike group commander myself decades later in the Afghan and Iraqi wars, this book was invaluable to me in learning how to make hard decisions.

By Sandy Woodward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Hundred Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by the man who masterminded the British victory in the Falklands, this engrossing memoir chronicles events in the spring of 1982 following Argentina's takeover of the South Atlantic islands. Adm. Sandy Woodward, a brilliant military tactician, presents a complete picture of the British side of the battle. From the defeat of the Argentine air forces to the sinking of the Belgrano and the daring amphibious landing at Carlos Water, his inside story offers a revealing account of the Royal Navy's successes and failures.

At times reflective and personal, Woodward imparts his perceptions, fears, and reactions to seemingly disastrous events.…


Book cover of The Bedford Incident

James G. Stavridis Author Of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision

From my list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired 4-star Admiral who spent over forty years at sea, rising from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. Along the way, I served in and commanded destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers in combat, and I have faced many very difficult decisions under extreme pressure. In addition, I’ve been in the Pentagon for many assignments, including as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense – which also created countless high-pressure decisions. What I learned in the Navy has helped me again and again in calculating risk and making the right decisions. 

James' book list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure

James G. Stavridis Why did James love this book?

Set in the days of the full US-Soviet Cold War, this novel shows us a cat-and-mouse game played in the icy waters of the North Atlantic between an American destroyer and a Russian nuclear submarine. Nuclear weapons, the possibility of global war, and the extreme stress of decision-making under pressure are featured in a highly readable story. When I was an anti-submarine officer on a destroyer in the Cold War, I would literally wake up at night in a cold sweat about the possibilities of this kind of nightmare scenario unfolding due to a junior officer making a tragic mistake.

By Mark Rascovich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bedford Incident as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a novel of the sea, and it is told with a skill that merits comparison with the best. It consists of three parts:

The War is the cold war of the 1960’s, but on a little-publicized and bleakly isolated front where opposing naval forces secretly maneuver against each other in the eternally empty reaches of the Arctic Ocean. Here they contest for strategic stakes as vital as those of Berlin or Viet Nam.

The Chase is by a modern American destroyer on the track of a Soviet submarine whose mission is to probe NATO defenses based on Greenland.…


Book cover of The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition

James G. Stavridis Author Of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision

From my list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired 4-star Admiral who spent over forty years at sea, rising from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. Along the way, I served in and commanded destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers in combat, and I have faced many very difficult decisions under extreme pressure. In addition, I’ve been in the Pentagon for many assignments, including as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense – which also created countless high-pressure decisions. What I learned in the Navy has helped me again and again in calculating risk and making the right decisions. 

James' book list on to help you make decisions under extreme pressure

James G. Stavridis Why did James love this book?

In an amazing feat of leadership and critical decision-making under the most stressful circumstances imaginable, Ernest Shackleton managed to save his entire crew – despite their ship being crushed in the ice pack of Antarctica. His decisions from start to finish risked everything – hiking to the edge of the sea, sailing one of the ship’s small boats on a voyage to a distant outpost, bringing help back, and saving the crew. His decisions inspired me in the many expeditions I led as a naval officer, none of which were as challenging as what he faced.

By Caroline Alexander,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In August 1914, renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 set sail for the South Atlantic in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in the history of exploration: the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. They came with in 85 miles of their destination when their ship, Endurance, was trapped fast in the ice pack, and the crew was stranded on the floes. Their ordeal lasted for 20 grueling months, and the group made two near-fatal attempts to escape by open boat before they were finally rescued.

Drawing upon previously unavailable sources, Caroline Alexander gives us…


Book cover of Twilight of the Gods

Daniel Hammel Author Of Two Flags Over Iwo Jima: Solving the Mystery of the U.S. Marine Corps' Proudest Moment

From my list on the war in the Pacific 1941-1945.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Daniel Hammel and my father Eric Hammel was a prolific author and military historian. He specialized in the Marine Corps and specifically World War II. Though he has passed, several of these books, especially Day of Infamy, inspired him to become an author, where he wrote over 40 books. This list is an ode to my father, Eric, and to his many accomplishments.

Daniel's book list on the war in the Pacific 1941-1945

Daniel Hammel Why did Daniel love this book?

The third and final book of the epic Pacific War Trilogy, Twilight of the Gods is the story of the crushing of the once venerable Japanese Empire. At just under 800 pages the book describes in the great detail the coming apocalypse for the Japanese war machine. While 1943 was pivotal with the war in the Pacific having essentially been won by the Allies, it was 1944 and 1945 where the real murder of empire happened. In these two years of horrendous fighting, hundreds of thousands died for what was clearly a lost cause. The Japanese tried one last time at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but were massacred by the incredible might of the U.S. Navy and combined forces. Toll brings the reader into the little details of the war, and how they affected everything.

By Ian W. Toll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twilight of the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June 1944, the United States launched a crushing assault on the Japanese navy in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The capture of the Mariana Islands and the accompanying ruin of Japanese carrier airpower marked a pivotal moment in the Pacific War. No tactical masterstroke or blunder could reverse the increasingly lopsided balance of power between the two combatants. The War in the Pacific had entered its endgame.

Beginning with the Honolulu Conference, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with his Pacific theater commanders to plan the last phase of the campaign against Japan, Twilight of the Gods brings…


Book cover of The Battle of Midway

Mark Ciampa Author Of Security Awareness: Applying Practical Security in Your World

From my list on how to break things (encryption, passwords, etc.).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had the opportunity to write (I have written over 30 college textbooks on technology, most of them in the area of cybersecurity), study (my PhD dissertation was on cybersecurity), teach (I have taught at colleges and universities my entire career about technology, networking, and cybersecurity), and research (I have published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles) on the topic of cybersecurity. But I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the average computer user who struggles with how to protect their technology devices. This has helped drive my passion to focus on practical cybersecurity for everyone.

Mark's book list on how to break things (encryption, passwords, etc.)

Mark Ciampa Why did Mark love this book?

Perhaps the best book on the epic World War II Battle of Midway, Craig Symonds brings together all the pieces that became the turning point in the Pacific War. Looking at the leadup to the battle from both the Japanese and American perspectives, Symonds shows how the Japanese, in their typical style, created a battle plan that was overly complicated for its objective. Symonds explains how American Joe Rochefort and his eclectic band (he even had commissioned naval musicians) worked to bend (but not entirely break) the Japanese naval code. This allowed the Allies to surmise Midway as the Japanese target and set in place their own battle plan. Symonds clearly explains how the codebreaking efforts played a huge role in this battle of battles.

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…


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