The story of the USS Houston, FDR’s legendary lost cruiser, and the epic saga of her survivors

“Vivid and visceral…. Hornfischer masterfully shapes the narrative…. breathing life into an unforgettable epic of human endurance.” —USA Today

“Hornfischer has painted a compelling picture of one of the most gallant ships and one of the grimmest campaigns in American naval history. He has a positive genius for depicting the surface-warfare sailor in a tight spot. May he write long and give them more memorials.” —Booklist

A New York Times bestseller

An unprecedented account of the U.S. Navy’s impossible victory: the Battle off Samar, October 25, 1944

Chosen by the Wall Street Journal as one of the “five best books describing war as soldiers know it” (April 2010).

Selected by the U.S. Naval Institute’s Naval History magazine as one of “a dozen Navy classics” (December 2008).

One of the finest World War II naval action narratives in recent years.... Reads like a very good action novel.” —Publishers Weekly

A New York Times bestseller

Winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature

“Hornfischer is quickly establishing himself as doing for the Navy what popular historian Stephen Ambrose did for the Army.” —Rocky Mountain News

The ‘Lone Survivor’ returns with a another powerful tale of modern warfare — and a stirring tribute to his brothers in arms


Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, author of Lone Survivor, tells the astonishing story of his return to the battlefield after Operation Redwing—as immortalized in his book and the feature film directed by Peter Berg—and offers powerful new details about his miraculous rescue. A thrilling war story set during the epic battle for Ramadi, in Iraq’s Anbar Province, Service is a tribute to the warrior brotherhood—and to the idea that no one goes it alone

A New York Times, Los Angeles Times and USA Today bestseller

The untold story of the U.S. Navy’s bloodiest fight of

World War II: the epic struggle for Guadalcanal

A masterpiece of twentieth-century naval history.” —Bob Shacochis, National Book Award–winning author of The Immaculate Invasion

Vivid and engaging . . . extremely readable, comprehensive and thoroughly researched.” —Ronald Spector, The Wall Street Journal

“A compelling narrative of naval combat . . . simply superb.”

Washington Times

A New York Times, Publishers Weekly and Boston Globe bestseller

O n   s a l e   n o w

With its thunderous assault into the Mariana Islands in June 1944, America crossed the threshold of total war. The Fleet at Flood Tide is an extraordinary narrative orchestration of this momentous clash of nations and cultures. Drawing on new primary sources and personal accounts by Americans and Japanese alike, Hornfischer has produced a gripping narrative with cinematic scope and penetrating insight. Here is Raymond Spruance, the brilliant, coolly calculating commander of the Fifth Fleet; Kelly Turner, whose amphibious forces delivered Marine General "Howlin' Mad" Smith's troops to the beaches of Saipan and Tinian; Draper Kauffman, founder of the Navy unit that predated today's SEALs; Paul Tibbets, the creator of history's first atomic striking force, who flew the Enola Gay to Hiroshima; and Japanese warriors and civilians who saw the specter of defeat as the ultimate test of the spirit. From the seas of the Central Pacific to the shores of Japan itself, The Fleet at Flood Tide is a stirring and deeply humane account of World War II's world-changing finale. 

Advance praise for The Fleet at Flood Tide

“This is a masterful account of the barbaric last year of the Pacific War, combining original scholarship, engaging prose, excellent historical judgment, and empathy for the soldier. The Fleet at Flood Tide is, quite simply, popular and scholarly military history at its best.” —Victor Davis Hanson, author of Carnage and Culture, senior fellow in classics and military history, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University


The Fleet at Flood Tide is the definitive work on the latter days of the war in the Pacific, diving deeper and with more passion and eloquence than anything written to date on this crucial and defining moment in the history of the U.S. Navy." —Adm. James Stavridis, USN (ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO, and Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University


The Fleet at Flood Tide is a majestic account of the decisive moment of the Pacific War—an epic land, air, and sea struggle like none other in history—told with poetic power by one of our most distinguished historians. It puts the reader right there, in the eye of storm—on the decks of the great carriers, in the caves of the savagely contested islands, in the cockpit of the four-engine machine that delivered the war-ending bomb.” —Donald L. Miller, author of D-Days in the Pacific

“We have here a carefully researched and well-written account of key stages and events in the final portion of the war in the Pacific that includes a careful look at the Japanese side as well as the American. The campaign in the Marianas and the background and reality of the atomic bomb are exceptionally thoughtfully presented.”

Gerhard L. Weinberg, author of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, professor emeritus of history, University of North Carolina

“Focusing on the terrible battles of 1944 and 1945, Hornfischer takes the reader into the hell of combat in the air, at sea, and on land. . . . If any book can explain why the eventual use of atom bombs was necessary in order to bring to a final end the suicidal madness of the Japanese military, as well as the atrocities they were committing wherever they went, The Fleet at Flood Tide is it.” Nigel Hamilton, author of The Mantle of Command

“Superb, full of remarkable new insight based on original research . . . With his crisp literary style, James D. Hornfischer takes hold of the many strands of that vast theater of geopolitics, egos, strategy, and staggering ferocity, and weaves them into a page-turner culminating in the agonizing decision to drop the atomic bombs.” —John F. Lehman, Jr., author of Command of the Seas, former Secretary of the Navy

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The Pearl Harbor Attack, 75 Years Later

“Prodigious.... Like any complex machine, the Fifth Fleet had myriad parts, and it is not the least accomplishment of Mr. Hornfischer's fine book that the author examines many of these elements without ever diminishing his narrative tension.... Mr. Hornfischer crisply and satisfyingly sketches all these figures, and his big Iliad contains a hundred smaller ones, as he propels his complex story forward with supple transitions that never leave the reader behind in the details.” —Richard Snow, The Wall Street Journal