Battle Stations: How the USS Yorktown Helped Turn the Tide at Coral Sea and Midway is written by Stephen L. Moore. There is a balance between positive constructive criticism and disrespect to people and events in history. With this in mind, I will offer my solutions for a difficult topic to write about. War is not fun, it is also not good verses evil.
Facts or a Story
The main issue with doing a book on a world war 2 aircraft carrier is the amount of people on the carrier. It seemed that the author struggled with this with the introduction of so many people.
When following a story, it is easier to walk with a few people on a journey as they lived or died on the carrier. However, with thousands of people to learn this history from, the information can easily read like a vanilla history textbook. I did not get interested in the writing and story until chapter 6. This is the chapter about when they are traveling to what would be the Battle of Midway.
The Good Guys
Another fault is the tendency for people not having been in war, battle, or the military to have much reverence for those in war. We are all people and we make decisions based on the information we have. The men that worked onboard the USS Yorktown have a multitude of reasons to be on that floating town. They followed orders and shot at enemy planes, they flew aircraft of our own to drop a torpedo to sink other ships. Japanese men did the same thing. Pilots from both sides flew their planes to get the enemy until they ran out of fuel and attempted water landings. Sailors from both sides attempted to repair their ship and save their shipmates. Who are the good guys?
Last critique I have is the lack of ‘heart.’ I realize that on a carrier, there are many Sailors and when ordinance detonates next to a highly populated area, there are many casualties. It also is difficult to run with a story of person who perishes when so many did. However, there are many examples in this book when names are only mentioned upon their death. Additionally, there is a story of Sailors on the USS Yorktown after it was abandoned and sinking (slowly) who were rescued. Unfortunately, this amazing story is only given three pages.
Battle Stations Summary
Battle Stations is a good history book. It would be great to look at the references and to do research on this part of World War 2 history. However, you do not follow a character or set of veterans. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend this if you are looking for a story book or a captivating read.
Check out my previous blog post here.
You can find yourself a copy of Battle Stations here.
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