The Fleet at Flood Tide provides not only a good yarn but an unflinching history rich with lessons to be learned about truly existential war, the vast expanse of the Pacific, and the lengths to which the country was forced to go to definitively defeat a societal death cult.
Few people, save avid students of the U.S. war in the Pacific, have ever heard of the small island group called New Georgia. Yet, in the summer of 1943, the island was the scene of some of the most brutal fighting of the entire war. It was on New Georgia where the 43rd Infantry Division experienced the highest number of cases of neuropsychiatric casualties (variably known as combat fatigue, shell shock, war neurosis, or post-traumatic stress disorder) casualties in any division during one operation in the entire war. For two of the three Army divisions on New Georgia, it was their baptism of fire, and one that they would never forget. While the capture of New Georgia was vital to the strategic and operational success of the Solomon Islands Campaign, the battle itself is a supremely interesting study in small-unit tactics, joint Army-Navy operations, logistics operations, and the trials of a joint command.