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Publisher's Summary

In the desolate middle of the largest ocean on earth, two great navies approached, one bent on conclusive battle, the other lying in ambush. 

Six months after Pearl Harbor, Yamamoto again crossed the Pacific with the largest and most powerful naval armada the world had ever seen, this time to finish the job. Nimitz waited for him with what he had, placed exactly where he needed it. 

Both admirals depended on their fliers, some veterans of battle, others raw and unproven. Striking first meant decisive victory. 

This is the story of the men who fought the Battle of Midway over three momentous days in June, 1942. Men uncertain, determined, fearful and courageous. Men under crushing pressure, desperate and hopeful. Their story is one of daring, of unfathomable loss, of survival inside rickety airplanes and burning ships. What happened off Midway is a story of reckless pride, and cold realization. 

Kevin Miller's The Silver Waterfall is an unforgettable human story - a factual historic fiction account told by today's master of carrier aviation fiction honoring those who fought in one of the most pivotal naval battles in world history.

©2020 Kevin P. Miller (P)2020 Kevin Miller

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  • B Taub
  • 09-10-2020

A perfect use of historical fiction!

Sometimes, the best way to teach history is via historical fiction, where a knowledgeable author can use actual characters to describe important events. Jeff Shaara's THE KILLER ANGELS, was a great example of this focused on the Battle of Gettysburg. THE SILVER WATERFALL is a worthy successor, Its focus is the Battle of Midway and it is amazing in its ability to entertain while telling pretty much the whole story from the perspective of the pilots who fought the battle. While it is historical fiction, if you want to learn about the battle, you can't get much better than this.

There are libraries of books, and a few movies, about Midway; here are some things about this one that I think make it special...

1) While you can't discuss this battle without discussing the leaders, this book largely focused on pilots and gunners, not admirals. You sit in their cockpits and experience, as much as is possible, what they went through.

2) While most books on the battle start way before the battle, sometimes at the attack on Pearl Harbor, sometimes at the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, sometimes with the codebreakers, this one breaks that convention. This book starts two days before the battle. There are references to those earlier events but they are woven into the text, not separate subjects of their own.

3) Whereas many books (and movies) on Midway stop at the end of the main battle, this one continues on, covering the US attacks on Japanese cruisers and destroyers trailing the main Japanese force as it retreated. In this coverage, it continues to speak from the perspective of actual historical figures, pilots who were on these raids. In this way it paints a more complete picture of the battle.

4) While it is frequently given short shrift, this book doesn't ignore the role of the land-based planes from Midway, including the doomed Vindicators and the the AAF Marauders.

5) Many attempts at historical fiction put words into the mouths of their characters in order to teach some point of the actual history. This frequently comes off as contrived. Kevin Miller, however, generally manages to use the technique in a way that feels natural. With a few, minor, exceptions you can picture the characters (all of whom, I believe, are historical figures) saying the words he puts into their mouths.

6) The narrator was perfect.

There were two very minor things I wish Mr. Miller had done more of with this book. First, while he did pick some characters who were actually stationed on the island of Midway, I would like it if he had portrayed a character from the Brewster Buffalo squadron there. Second, if you've read / listened to Miller's Flip Wilson books about an F-18 pilot, you'll note that he, particularly in the first one, gets pretty technical with the systems, switches, etc. necessary to prepare and fly the plane. It's not overkill but, for aviation geeks, it's pretty cool. I would have liked a little more of this kind of technical detail in this book.

One final point, if you don't know anything about the battle, I think you'll pretty much learn about it from this book. That said, I recommend you spend just a few (5) minutes of Google research to get the basic gist of the battle before listening to this book.

Anyhow, this was one that I couldn't get enough of. I looked forward to my walks to and from work every day (my normal audiobook time) and, as I got near the end, was really wishing that this book was twice the length. Great job Mr. Miller!

3 people found this helpful

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