We now rightly have difficulty conceiving the life or death struggle fought almost 70 years ago by men mostly now gone, near far-off and obscure Pacific islands, and against the once powerful Imperial Japanese Navy. Morison's description of that struggle --- the naval equivalent of hand-to-hand fighting --- inspires and awes all at once. This is a story not many Americans know --- there were more sailors than marines lost during the Guadalcanal campaign, and their sacrifice has almost been forgotten.
This volume, "The Struggle For Guadalcanal," is unquestionably the best of the entire collection. I first read the complete series when I was a teenager, living at home with my late father, who had been a naval officer "for the duration" in World War II. I remember he would at times "tear up" during his nightly reading. I gave him the entire set a few years before he passed away, and he was able to read them a second time. Now they are mine and I have made still a third passage through them, savoring and rediscovering them. I plan on at least one more journey through them in the coming years.
Morison often masterfully combines classical allusions and modern warfare; he does does his best work in this volume because he clearly intends to. It is difficult not to be moved by his description of the great naval action on the night of November 12-13, 1942. Two Admirals, Scott and Callaghan, were killed the same wild night in a naval battle in which, to paraphrase Morison, "both sides knew that no quarter would be given." The picture Morison paints of the next morning, when battered sailors in sinking ships stood by their guns and continued to fire on the enemy, is one that will always endure for me. Highly, highly recommended.