Fair Winds & Following Seas

Moving with the tides of history

Personal Library

Given the focus of this blog on maritime/naval history, it’s only appropriate that I provide people with a list of works that I’ve gathered over the years. To that end, here’s a categorized list of books in my personal library that I use for research. (Somewhat similar to my Content Curation post, but more expansive.)

Note that my research interests gravitate toward the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Pacific Theater of WWII, so most of my books relate specifically to these topics. I don’t have anything against other services or theaters, but that’s just what I’ve focused on. Some relevant fictional works are also included. Naturally, this isn’t my entire library, and it doesn’t include titles that I’ve borrowed from libraries. I have included ebooks, but not PDFs (although I may add them later).

Another thing to note is that the majority of these books are secondary sources since they’re readily available at bookstores and through Amazon. Subsequently, the lack of primary sources means that most of my research and writing is very derivative, but I try to include some of my own interpretations where appropriate.

This list will be constantly updated because I have an unfortunate tendency to buy more books than I can feasibly read and my bookshelves are literally overflowing. Most of the books I keep are ones that I find some value in, and I tend to get rid of books that I don’t like as quickly as possible.

*Listings are alphabetical by author’s last name

Asia-Pacific War/WWII Pacific Theater

Titans of the Seas: The Development and Operations of Japanese and American Carrier Task Forces during World War II by James & William Belote

Fire in the Sky: The Air War In The South Pacific by Eric Bergerud

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert Bix

How Carriers Fought: Carrier Operations in World War II by Lars Celander

Japan at War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook

Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific by Gavin Daws

War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War by John Dower

Japan’s Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945 (Modern War Studies Series) by Edward Drea

A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945 by Paul Dull

Shinano!: The Sinking of Japan’s Secret Supership by Joseph Enright

Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 by David Evans & Mark Peattie

The Japanese Navy in World War II: In the Words of Former Japanese Naval Officers (2nd edition) edited by David Evans

Decision at Leyte by Stanley Falk

The Battle of Okinawa: The Blood and the Bomb (AKA Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb) by George Fiefer

Thunder Below!: The USS Barb Revolutionizes Submarine Warfare in World War II by Eugene Fluckey

Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire by Richard Frank

Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle by Richard Frank

Tower of Skulls: A History of the Asia-Pacific War July 1937 – May 1942 by Richard Frank

The Second World War Asian and Pacific Atlas (West Point Military History Series) by Thomas Griess

Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Midway – The Great Naval Battles as Seen Through Japanese Eyes by Tameichi Hara

Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army by Meirion & Susie Harries

Yankee Samurai: The Secret Role of Nisei in America’s Pacific Victory by Joseph Harrington

Bridge to the Sun: The Secret Role of the Japanese Americans Who Fought in the Pacific in World War II by Bruce Henderson

Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour by James Hornfischer

A War of Empires: Japan, India, Burma & Britain 1941 – 45 by Robert Lyman

Battleship: The Sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse by Martin Middlebrook & Patrick Mahoney

War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945 by Edward Miller

The Marauders by Charlton Ogburn

Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully

Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941 by Mark Peattie

Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II by John Prados

At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon Prange

Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History by Gordon Prange

Dec. 7, 1941: The Day the Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor by Gordon Prange

Japanese Army in World War II: The South Pacific & New Guinea by Gordon Rottman

The Knights of Bushido: A History of Japanese War Crimes During World War II by Edward Russell

Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan by Ronald Spector

Ghost Fleet of the Truk Lagoon: An Account of “Operation Hailstone”, February 1944 by William Stewart

Pacific Carrier War: Carrier Combat from Pearl Harbor to Okinawa by Mark Stille

The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War by Mark Stille

The United States Navy in World War II: From Pearl Harbor to Okinawa by Mark Stille

USN Destroyer vs. IJN Destroyer: The Pacific 1943 (Vanguard Duel Series) by Mark Stille

The Coral Sea 1942: The first carrier battle (Vanguard Campaign Series) by Mark Stille

Santa Cruz 1942: Carrier duel in the South Pacific (Vanguard Campaign Series) by Mark Stille

U.S. Navy Carrier Aircraft vs. IJN Yamato Class Battleships: Pacific Theater 1944-45 (Vanguard Duel Series) by Mark Stille

Empires in the Balance: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies to April 1942 by H.P. Willmott

The Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and Allied Strategies, February to June 1942 by H.P. Willmott

The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The Last Fleet Action by H.P. Willmott

The Second World War In the East (Cassell History of Warfare Series) by H.P. Willmott

Battleship Musashi: The Making and Sinking of the World’s Biggest Battleship by Akira Yoshimura

Kamikaze: Japanese Special Attack Weapons 1944-45 (New Vanguard Series) by Steven Zaloga

WWII European/Atlantic/Mediterranean/North African Theater

Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown

Italian Battleships of World War II (New Vanguard Series) by Mark Stille

Ships, Vehicles, & Weapons References

The Fleet Submarine in the United States Navy: A Design and Construction History by John Alden

The Complete Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II by Charles Bishop

Naval Weapons of World War II by John Campbell

The Aircraft Carrier Hiryu (Anatomy of the Ship Series) By Stefan Draminski

The Complete Guide to Fighters and Bombers of the World by Francis Crosby

Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War by Rene Francillon

U.S. Naval Weapons: Every Gun, Missile, Mine, and Torpedo Used by the U.S. Navy from 1883 to the Present Day by Norman Friedman

U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History (Revised edition) by Norman Friedman

Destroyer Weapons of World War 2 by Peter Hodges & Norman Friedman

Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army by David Isby

Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945 by Hansgeorg Jentschura, Dieter Jung, & Peter Mickel

Battleships: United States Battleships in World War II by William Garzke & Robert Dulin

Battleships: Allied Battleships in World War II by William Garzke & Robert Dulin

Battleships: Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II by William Garzke & Robert Dulin

Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War by Eric LaCroix & Linton Wells

The Hybrid Warship: The Amalgamation of Big Guns and Aircraft by R.D. Layman

Zero: Combat and Development History of Japan’s Legendary Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter by Robert Mikesh

The Iowa Class Battleships: Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, & Wisconsin (Weapons and Warfare Series) by Malcom Muir

The Battleships Yamato and Musashi: Selected Photos from the Archives of the Kure Maritime Museum (The Japanese Naval Warship Photo Albums Series) by Kure Maritime Museum

The Naval Institute Guide to the Soviet Navy (Fifth Edition) by Norman Polmar

Fletcher-Class Destroyers (Warship Design Histories) by Alan Raven

U.S. Coast Guard Cutters and Craft: 1946 – 1990 by Robert Scheina

U.S. Coast Guard Cutters and Craft of World War II by Robert Scheina

The Heavy Cruiser Takao (Anatomy of the Ship Series) By Janusz Skulski

Battleships Yamato and Musashi (Anatomy of the Ship Series) By Janusz Skulski

U.S. Standard-Type Battleships 1941 – 1945 (1): Nevada, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico Classes (New Vanguard Series) by Mark Stille

U.S. Standard-Type Battleships 1941 – 1945 (2): Tennessee, Colorado, and Unbuilt Classes (New Vanguard Series) by Mark Stille

Battleship New Jersey: An Illustrated History by Paul Stillwell

Iowa Class Battleships: Their Design, Weapons, and Equipment by Robert Sumrall

Cruisers of the U.S. Navy, 1922 – 1962 by Stefan Terzibaschitsch

Corsair: The F4U in World War II and Korea by Barrett Tillman

The Imperial Japanese Navy by A.J. Watts and B.G. Gordon

Yamato Class Battleships (ShipCraft Book 14) by Steven Wiper

Operations Officer’s Guide by John Callaway

A History of Naval Tactical Thought by Giuseppe Fioravanzo

World War II U.S. Fast Carrier Task Force Tactics 1943 – 45 by Brian Lane Herder

Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations (3rd edition) by Wayne Hughes & Robert Girrier

To Train the Fleet for War: The U.S. Navy Fleet Problems, 1923-1940 by Albert Nofi

Understanding Naval Warfare (1st Edition) by Ian Speller

Anti-Access Warfare: Countering A2/AD Strategies by Sam Tangredi

Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-First Century (3rd Edition) by Geoffrey Till

General Military History/Military Reference/Military Science

It’s Our Ship: The No-Nonsense Guide to Leadership by Michael Abrashoff

It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Michael Abrashoff

Jack Tar: Life in Nelson’s Navy by Roy & Lesley Adkins

Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty by Peter Collier

On War and Leadership: The Words of Combat Commanders from Frederick the Great to Norman Schwarzkopf by Owen Connelly

The West Point Atlas of American Wars. Vol. 1: 1689-1900. Vol. 2: 1900-1953 by Department of Military Art and Engineering

How to Make War (4th edition): A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Warfare in the Twenty-First Century by James Dunnigan

The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare by Trevor Dupuy

War at Sea: A Naval Atlas, 1939-1945 by Marcus Faulkner

Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present by Shannon French

Battle at Sea: 3,000 Years of Naval Warfare by R.G. Grant

Bombers Versus Battleships: The Struggle Between Ships and Aircraft for the Control of the Surface of the Sea by David Hamer

Fighting Techniques of the Oriental World: Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics by Michael Haskew, Christer Jorgensen, Chris McNab, Eric Niderost, & Rob Rice

Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail by Bernard Ireland

Brassey’s Encyclopedia of Military History and Biography edited by Franklin Margiotta

The Illustrated Directory of Modern American Weapons edited by David Miller

The Grammar of Warfare: The Ultimate Visual Guide to the History of Warfare From the Ancient World to the American Civil War edited by Tim Newark

Patrick O’Brian’s Navy: An Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey’s World by Richard O’Neill

Wave-Off!: A History of LSOs and Ship-board Landings by Robert Powell

World War II: Saving the Reality, A Collector’s Vault by Kenneth Rendell

The Good War: An Oral History of World War II by Studs Terkel

Command in War by Martin Van Crevald

Games, Wargaming, & Simulations

The Craft of Wargaming: A Detailed Planning Guide for Defense Planners and Analysts by Jeff Appleget, Robert Burks, & Fred Cameron

On Wargaming: How Wargames Have Shaped History and How They May Shape the Future by Matthew Caffrey

The Complete Wargames Handbook: How to Play, Design, and Find Them by James Dunnigan

Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming edited by Pat Harrigan & Matthew Kirschenbaum

U.S. Navy Fundamentals of War Gaming by Francis McHugh

The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists by Peter Perla

Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World by Philip Sabin

Simulating War: Studying Conflict through Simulation Games by Philip Sabin

Espionage & Intelligence

The Guinness Book of Espionage by Mark Lloyd

Spy Catcher – The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer by Peter Wright

Other Conflicts

If Not Now, When?: Duty and Sacrifice in America’s Time of Need by Jack Jacobs

But Was It Just?: Reflections on the Morality of the Persian Gulf War by Jean Bethke

Thud Ridge by Jack Broughton

Going Downtown: The War Against Hanoi and Washington by Jack Broughton

Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu by Bernard Fall

One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer by Nathaniel Fick

The Good Soldiers by David Finkel

About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior by David Hackworth

Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts: The Hopeless to Hardcore Transformation of the U.S. Army, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, Vietnam by David Hackworth & Eilhys England

The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings

Warrior’s Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting by Douglas MacGregor

Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea by Robert Massie

We Were Soldiers Once…And Young: Ia Drang – The Battle that Changed the War in Vietnam by Harold Moore & Joseph Galloway

We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back the Battlefields of Vietnam by Harold Moore & Joseph Galloway

Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan by Sean Parnell

Making the Corps by Thomas Ricks

Chasing Ghosts: Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier’s Perspective by Paul Reickhoff

Warrior King: The Triumph and Betrayal of an American Commander in Iraq by Nathan Sassaman

The Village by Bing West

Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War by Evan Wright

General Maritime History

Ships by Enzo Angelucci

The Coast Guard edited by Tom Beard

All Present and Accounted For: The 1972 Alaska Grounding of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis and the Heroic Efforts that Saved the Ship by Steven Craig

Life and Death at Cape Disappointment: Becoming a Surfman on the Columbia River Bar by Christopher D’Amelio with Reid Maruyama

Lost Subs by Spencer Dunmore

Peter Freuchen’s Book of The Seven Seas by Peter Freuchen

Two Tankers Down: The Greatest Small-Boat Rescue in U.S. Coast Guard History by Robert Frump

Seafaring Lore and Legend by Peter Jeans

The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea by Peter Kemp

U.S. Naval Aviation by M. Hill Goodspeed

A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales by Dean King, John Hattendorf, & J. Worth Estes

The Navy by W.J. Holland

Ghost Ships: Tales of Abandoned, Doomed, and Haunted Vessels by Angus Konstam

So Others May Live – Coast Guard’s Rescue Swimmers: Saving Lives, Defying Death by Martha LaGuardia-Kotite

The Conquest of the Ocean (AKA A Short History of Seafaring) by Brian Lavery

Boats of the World: From The Stone Age to Medieval Times by Sean McGrail

A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols

The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine

The Great Trade Routes: A History of Cargoes and Commerce over Land and Sea edited by Phillip Parker

The Atlas of Shipwrecks and Treasure: The History, Location, and Treasures of Ships Lost at Sea by Nigel Pickford

Origins of Sea Terms by John Rogers

Rescue at the Top of the World: The True Story of the Most Daring Arctic Rescue in History by Shawn Shallow

Sailing Alone Around the World: The Illustrated Edition by Joshua Slocum

Ghost Stories of the Sea by Barbara Smith

The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Nicholas Tomalin & Ron Hall

The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue by Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman

Japanese & Asian Studies

*Does not include foreign language dictionaries/references

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict

Narrow Road to the Interior: And Other Writings by Basho Matsuo

Japanese Lessons: A Year in a Japanese School Through the Eyes of an American Anthropologist and Her Children by Gail Benjamin

Japanese Swordsmanship: Technique and Practice by Donn Draeger

Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence by Andrew Juniper

Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets, and Philosophers by Leonard Koren

Japanese Patterns of Behavior by Takie Sugiyama Lebra

Empire of Horses: The First Nomadic Civilization and the Making of China by John Man

The Nobility of Failure: Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan by Ivan Morris

Secrets of the Samurai: The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan by Oscar Ratti

Samurai – The World of the Warrior by Stephen Turnbull

Warriors of Medieval Japan by Stephen Turnbull

The Samurai: A Military History by Stephen Turnbull

Japanese Tales by Royall Taylor

Japanese Culture by Paul Varley

The Japanese Sword: A Handbook by John Yumoto

Miscellaneous History & Historiography

How to Study History by Norman Cantor & Richard Schneider

The Collected What If?: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been edited by Robert Cowley

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond

The Methods and Skills of History: A Practical Guide (2nd edition) by Conal Furay & Michael Salevouris

The Color of Time: A New History of the World, 1850-1960 by Dan Jones & Marina Amaral

National Geographic Concise History of the World: An Illustrated Timeline edited by Neil Kagan

Atlas of World History by Patrick O’Brien

The Mental Floss History of the United States by Erik Sass

A Companion to the Study of History by Michael Stanford

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn


Das Boot by Lothar-Gunther Buchheim

Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes

The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat

The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk


The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Knots and Ropework: Over 200 Tying Techniques with Step-by-Step Photographs by Geoffrey Budworth

Marine Knots: How to Tie 40 Essential Knots by Patrick Moreau

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