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PJinAtl
Auburn Fan
Atlanta
Member since Nov 2007
10475 posts

Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
I think I have mentioned on here before that Jeff Shaara is one of my favorite authors, and is certainly on the top of my list for historical fiction.

I just finished his newest book, To Wake the Giant, yesterday. This book focuses on Pearl Harbor, and spans the year from 12/1940 - 12/1941.

For those not familiar with Shaara's style, he tells a story from the POV of several characters. For this book he mainly follows a newly enlisted sailor on the Arizona, US Sec. of State Cordell Hull, and IJN Admiral Yamamoto.

Where most of Shaara's books take place on the battlefield, this one looks more behind the scenes at the failures on the US side to pick up the threat of an attack, and the internal strife within the Japanese military and political spheres as to how to achieve their end goals.

It was a good read, and a quick read (just over 500 pages), but not as enjoyable as the rest of Shaara's books because very little time is actually spend during combat, which I think is his specialty. I do think this books sets him up well for his next project, which I am thinking may be Midway. If so, that should fall right into his wheelhouse.



Ace Midnight
LSU Fan
Between sanity and madness
Member since Dec 2006
75974 posts

re: Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
quote:

Jeff Shaara


His father, Michael, wrote one of my very favorite books ever, from that same, family, historical fiction style of -
quote:

tells a story from the POV of several characters.


The Killer Angels (which was the basis for the television film, Gettysburg - Jeff wrote the sequel, Of Gods and Generals, which was also made into a film).







This post was edited on 5/28 at 7:08 am


PJinAtl
Auburn Fan
Atlanta
Member since Nov 2007
10475 posts

re: Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
quote:

The Killer Angels
That is what turned me on to Jeff. Of all people, my mailman told me about The Killer Angels in the late 90s. I read it and then discovered Jeff and have made it a point to read everything he has written.

A (somewhat) interesting aside...Michael also wrote the book For Love of the Game, which was the basis for the Kevin Costner movie of the same title.


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OleWarSkuleAlum
Alabama Fan
Huntsville, AL
Member since Dec 2013
10293 posts

re: Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
Jeff Shaara is my favorite author by far. I’m currently reading his Western Civil War Series now.


PJinAtl
Auburn Fan
Atlanta
Member since Nov 2007
10475 posts

re: Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
quote:

Jeff Shaara is my favorite author by far. I’m currently reading his Western Civil War Series now.
Those are great books.

I think you asked on the Travel board about a guide for Shiloh. Have you read Shaara's Civil War Battlefields Guide? It points out specific places at a dozen or so battlefields that you really need to see, and also sets up each battle, and goes through a description of them.

He doesn't give a way to contact any guides, but he does thank to guides from Shiloh specifically in the credits.


RoyalWe
LSU Fan
Prairieville, LA
Member since Mar 2018
1123 posts

re: Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
Rise to Rebellion is one of my favorites. It's a page-turner.


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OleWarSkuleAlum
Alabama Fan
Huntsville, AL
Member since Dec 2013
10293 posts

re: Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
Yes thank you


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Adajax
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
2268 posts

re: Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
I'm reading To Wake the Giant now. It's my first Shaara book and I'm far from impressed. His dialog is awkward and clumsy. Shaara obviously did little research about life aboard a naval vessel. His portrayal of shipboard hierarchy doesn't seem to differentiate between petty officers and chief petty officers. In his world, all petty officers are top of the food chain tyrants which couldn't be further from the truth. Chief petty officers may run a command but E-4 to E-6 PO's certainly don't. And no one calls any petty officer "sir". These seem like simple details that he shouldn't get wrong. In contrast, The Hunt for Red October was 100% authentic and captured the naval experience to a tee. Maybe Shaara's story will end up being good but his writing is bad.

ETA: Officers don't call enlisted men "Mr." Biggs. Mister is what enlisted men call officers. How can a guy like Shaara be so lazy as to get the simple things wrong. The dialog is still terrible. I'm assuming this guy's forte is battle scenes because the rest of it sucks (it's late Oct '41). I'm having to force myself to finish this book.
This post was edited on 7/28 at 2:23 pm


Adajax
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
2268 posts

re: Review: To Wake the Giant - Jeff Shaara
Ok, I'm done with Shaara, he's not even trying. Sure, I didn't serve on a battleship in WWII so maybe he's right and I'm wrong but we all know he's wrong. He's got enlisted men, E-2's and E-3's, waking up on Dec 7th and arranging their berthing compartment[/img] for breakfast. Then mess cooks deliver their food and stand back while they eat and then bus the tables. [i]WTF?? What navy is this? Shaara isn't even trying.

He also mentioned the USS Ward, a destroyer and her CO William Outerbridge. Shaara has his rank as LT when a 5 sec google search shows him as a LT CDR which makes much more sense for a destroyer. I'm gonna try to finish the book but.......


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