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Publisher's Summary

Surigao Strait in the Philippine Islands was the scene of a major battleship duel during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Because the battle was fought at night and had few survivors on the Japanese side, the events of that naval engagement have been passed down in garbled accounts.

Anthony P. Tully pulls together all of the existing documentary material, including newly discovered accounts and a careful analysis of U.S. Navy action reports, to create a new and more detailed description of the action. In several respects, Tully's narrative differs radically from the received versions and represents an important historical corrective.

The book is published by the Indiana University Press.

©2009 Anthony B. Tully (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"This book is worth buying by serious students of the Pacific War." ( The Journal of Naval History)
"The skillful incorporation of personal testimony from those involved is what really elevates this work above run-of-the-mill naval history and turns it into something special." ( Warship)

What listeners say about Battle of Surigao Strait

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Profile Image for Chiefkent
  • Chiefkent
  • 09-09-2014

A Much Needed History!

The Battle of Surigao Strait was in many ways as confusing as the battle of Taffy 3. Mr. Tully did a masterful job in pulling all the disparate portions and records together to weave a coherent tale. My main problem was that Mr. Roelofs was obviously reading many of the names and locales phonetically and in many cases unless one speaks Japanese, it was difficult to keep all of the IJN players straight. Keeping all of the USN players straight was hard enough with all of the battleships and heavy cruisers playing chicken towards the end of the battle. I believe that part of the problem is that the IJN players like Kurita are familiar to American readers, but that the IJN officers at Surigao Strait aren't because they died there for the most part. Most of the senior officers I knew from previous books, but many of the ships' captains and officers were oft time difficult to keep straight with their ships.

The IJN run up the Straight is familiar to anyone who has watched "In Harm's Way", as James Bassett took this battle and mixed it with Taffy 3 in his book, "Harm's Way", on which the movie is based. While I could picture the essential maneuvers of the IJN run, it did get a bit confusing keeping the different heavy cruisers separate at times, and I'd have to back up the narration just to confirm which ship was which. But - the historic tale of the classic 'crossing of the T' at Suriagao Strait obviously does not stand up to scrutiny based on Mr. Tully's research. Oldendorf's reputation was largely made upon the picture of USN battleships steaming blissfully across the bows of IJN battleships in the dark while sending said IJN battleships to the bottom of Surigao Strait.

The phonetic pronunciations such as; "Lay-Tee", did get a bit tedious, Mr. Roelofs did a yeoman's job at narrating the book and has a wonderful voice to listen to. It seemed that he didn't understand what he was reading. He was reading the book without telling the story.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Bruce
  • 13-11-2014

Well research work spoiled by narration!

Where does Battle of Surigao Strait rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would rate this book as average among the many WWII naval books I have read. It is more an academic work than a book one would read for pleasure.

Would you recommend Battle of Surigao Strait to your friends? Why or why not?

I would only recommend this book to someone who had a strong interest in naval history and was comfortable reading a very factual, detailed, and analytical text. I would recommend it in book form as the narrator for this production is the worse I have ever experienced in all the Audible books I have listen to!

What didn’t you like about Gary Roelofs’s performance?

Roelofs is the worse narrator I have ever experienced in all my years of listening to Audible books. He sounds as if he is reading words, not sentences or a story. He must have been uncomfortable with the Japanese names as you notice a pause before he pronounces each name. It seems as if he mispronounced "Leyte Gulf" and they had to go back in an redo the pronunciation. He also does not know how to say military time as he calls 2000 "two thousand" instead of "20 hundred." If it were not for the fact that I had an interest in the battle, I would have stopped listening to this book before the end of the first chapter!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Too detailed and academic. Plus the narration is so poor it makes listening painful.

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  • James
  • 01-04-2016

Frustrating Listen

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Unless you're already familiar with this sea battle and the geography of the area, you're going to find this a very hard account to follow.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Battle of Surigao Strait?

The accounts of the sea battles and the incredible bravery of the Japanese sailors in the face of overwhelming odds was really admirable. The book's primary focus is on the actions of the Japanese fleet.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Where to begin? If I hear Lay-TEE gulf one more time, I'll scream! It would be nice if some narrators with military experience could be found; some of us actually can read. The one example that comes to mind is where the book mentions headings as (for example) 030T and the narrator says 030-TEE rather than 030 True. There are other similar things, but the basic point is he was reading the words, but I don't think he knew what they meant.

Could you see Battle of Surigao Strait being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It would be a very interesting documentary. The audio book would GREATLY benefit from a pdf of maps to help the listener visualize the account. I was able to find a couple of maps on line that helped a little, but having at least one map per chapter would have helped immensely.

Any additional comments?

You should probably consider getting the book in addition to the audio ASSUMING the book includes maps. You'll get much more out of the account IF that's the case.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BK
  • 21-04-2015

Great book, so so narration

The book was excellent for those with an 'intermediate' level interest in naval history. Narrator's voice is fine, but mispronounced Japanese words and place names are frequent.

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  • rodneydog
  • 15-08-2020

A warrior's story corrected.

The book puts perspective not shown before that explains many misconceptions about this battle, its whys and some what's.

Highly recommended.

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  • S. H. Moore
  • 21-04-2020

Long needed update to the Surigao Strait narrative

This book is not for the faint of heart. I would highly suggest having a familiarity with the battle before starting. It is however a first rate book in regards to his research and thoroughness.

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  • William Helms
  • 02-04-2020

Crossing the T

Excellent book. Detailed history of battle and what let to engagement. Reader is very good.

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  • Robert Lemley
  • 11-12-2019

Should have "Listened" to the reviews instead.

I really was looking forward to this book but less than a 1/2 hour into it and I'm ready to scream! The narration is HORRIBLE!!!
I often give them some run time and things even out but I can't see this happening with this guy. (I imagined it would be the same for the Audio of my truck's navigation system if it wasn't muted....)

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  • Jake
  • 01-04-2019

Good Book, could use a better narrator

Good recounting of the events of Surigao Strait based on what information can be gathered from each side.
However, narrator has an extremely dry delivery.
If you’ve studied Japanese at all or are more familiar with the IJN ship names, you notice that the pronunciation of Japanese ships is not good either.
Still, I think it is well worth a listen.

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  • Carol Domme
  • 05-11-2018

without doubt, a good story

reader of the audiiobook really butchered many pronunciations of names and places, nearly to the point of losing continuity if the story. it helped me to have already known correct pronunciations, but I feel a casual listener of history would be put off. in addition, the reader sometimes loses track of punctuation, giving distorted view of authors meaning. while the reader has good clarity of voice quality, it seems at times as if he's not able to give correct emphasis, where needed, and the flow of his reading can seem as if his comprehension of the story is mechanical, as if coming from a remedial reading class. mispronunciation of some words only adds to the feeling that he's not reading from a position of understanding, only word by word

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