Wednesday, April 29, 2020

"Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway" by David Rigby

This was a very cool book, especially since I love the new Midway (2019) movie so much.  This book really helped round out Wade McClusky as portrayed by Luke Evans in the movie and let me understand even better the pivotal part he played in winning the Battle of Midway during WWII.

Although the book title would suggest that this focuses solely on his role in that particular battle, it's actually a full biography of McClusky, going from his boyhood through his early naval career, and continuing on past the war into his retirement and eventual death.  But the bulk of the book does involve that particular battle and all the factors that went into how it played out.

My one quibble with this book is that it got a little repetitive with its insistence that McClusky has been misrepresented and even somewhat slandered in other accounts of the Battle of Midway.  I understand that Rigby was trying to set the record straight and show how heroic and pivotal McClusky's role in that battle was, and I agree it's important that it be understood aright.  But I feel like he belabored the wrongness of other historians and authors more than was necessary, rather than letting the truth speak for him.  There came a point when I would skim any paragraphs that dealt with pointing out the flaws in other accounts of the battle or reports of McClusky's behavior in it because it was kind of the same thing again and again after a while.  It started to feel more like a defense attorney was writing this, or a religious apologetics professor, rather than a historian and biographer.  

But I enjoyed this book overall, and I learned a great deal about Midway and the US Navy's aviation program and presence in WWII as a whole, which was really cool.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for some war-related accounts of violence and danger.  No cussing that I can recall.

Luke Evans really doesn't look anything like the real Wade McClusky, but he did such a marvelous job of portraying his quiet, calm, detail-oriented, attentive, steady leadership.  Though I suppose I might be biased, being an Evans fan already.  If it hadn't been for him talking about this movie on his social media accounts, though, I might never have gone to see the movie at all, which would have been a tragedy!  Because it has become one of my absolute favorite movies ever!

This is my 13th book read for #TheUnreadshelfProject2020.

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