A longtime US Navy rear admiral (RADM), David F. Baucom recently served as Director of Strategy, Capabilities, Policy and Logistics, at the US Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Also an avid reader on topics of history and the military, RADM David F. Baucom considers Samuel Eliot Morison’s classic The Two Ocean War one of his favorite books.
Taken from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Morison’s 15-volume United States Naval Operations in World War II, the 1963 book is not simply a condensed version of his magnum opus. Rather, The Two Ocean War focuses on the Second World War in recounting the intricate strategic preparations, deployments, and battles that defined twin engagements in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Morison begins with Franklin Roosevelt’s building up of Naval capacities prior to the outbreak of war and the way in which the Navy was dealt a major blow by Pearl Harbor. This led to full scale ramping up of military-industrial capacities in service of a geographically dispersed maritime war against Germany and Japan.
Morison’s book is unique in moving beyond dry facts and presenting vivid accounts of the major battles of the war, from Mediterranean landings to the Battles of the Midway and Coral Sea. The book finishes with the major engagements in the Philippines that sounded the death knell for the Japanese Navy.