Posted 2 March 2012


is now available in paperback.

Happily, the book was chosen as a
"Best of 2011" by Military History Quarterly.



by James Hornfischer

Posted 19 December 2010

My newbook,

The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal, will
be published next month, January 2011.

I'm pleased to report that
Amazon is taking preorders at an
unusually steep discount 44% off
(which at $16.92 is less than a
fajita platter at a decent Tex-Mex
restaurant). If you use the link below,
Amazon will throw a small commission
my way and thereby support the craft
of writing naval history.


I'm very grateful for the hundreds and
hundreds of emails I've received
from you and many others who
have been moved by my accounts
of our fighting sailors in World War II.
I fervently hope NEPTUNE has done justice

to the gallantry and sacrifice put forth by the fighting fleet in the southern Solomons in 1942. I will add that, of my three books, I'm proudest of this one. I don't think I could have attempted to produce a full campaign history of an operation of the scale of Guadalcanal without first cutting my teeth on a concentrated battle narrative (LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS) and a full wartime shipıs history (SHIP OF GHOSTS). It was a challenge to capture the sprawling events in NEPTUNE with the same narrative energy, and cover the important work of the many destroyers, cruisers and battleships and their men as they plunged into action. But after four years of work on the book, I believe I managed it.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Books Index


Long time coming. CL-50 is the hero of the book!

Advance Praise for Neptune's Inferno by James D. Hornfischer.

Hornfischer understands the human dynamics of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific war as well as any student of the subjects. He reconstructs the fighting in a masterful synthesis of technical analysis, operational narrative, and tales of courage. Publishers Weekly

As in his first two books, the author's narrative gifts and excellent choice of detail give an almost Homeric quality to the men who met on the sea in steel titans. Book list (starred review)

With the publication of Neptune's Inferno, a masterpiece of 20th century naval history, it's time to declare James Hornfischer a national treasure, a member of the distinguished band of brothers Stephen Ambrose, Shelby Foote, Ken Burns, Spielberg and Hanks whose sacred mission has been vital to Americaıs journey, preserving the stories of our fathers and grandfathers for future generations, before those stories fade forever out of our consciousness into the shadows of time. Bob Shacochis, National Book Award winner, author of The Immaculate Invasion

Hornfischer has produced an account that is visceral, yet technical; sweeping, yet personal. Itıs a terrific read, and an important new addition to the literature on this most important naval campaign in the Pacific. Jonathan Parshall, coauthor of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

Neptune's Inferno is a superb portrait of the U.S. Navy's critical role in the Guadalcanal campaign, both the surface and aerial combat. Comprehensive with much that is new, yet immensely readable, it covers not only the admirals, but the junior officers and bluejackets as well. Highly recommended. John B. Lundstrom, author of The First Team

Hornfischer's accounts of naval combat in the Pacific are simply the best in the business. Ian W. Toll, author of Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy

With this grand, sweeping, history-correcting book, James Hornfischer takes his place among the elite historians of the United States war in the Pacific during World War II. Like a Curtiss Helldiver, Neptune's Inferno catapults the reader high into the skies for a clear perspective on the vast oceanic conflict, then dives relentlessly to propel us right into the smoke and fire and human valor of the brutal inferno known as Guadalcanal. Along the way, and drawing on newly available papers, Hornfischer clears up lingering misconceptions about this battle, including the full extent of the U.S. Navyıs role in victory. And in his character portraits of the brilliant, quirky top admirals and generals of the fractious Army-Navy command, Hornfischer offers a worthy counterpart to Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. Ron Powers, coauthor of Flags of Our Fathers