Sunday, July 19, 2009

Three Reads for a Sunday Afternoon.

China as an Island, from strange maps.
The Solomons.

Here are trio of reads that involve islands, not the tropical getaways. so often dreamed of on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but the kind that stimulate reflection and remembrance.

Shannon Love has an interesting post on Chicago Boyz that looks at the celestial empire as An Island People in a Sea of Humanity.
This Forbes article talks about China being an empire, i.e., a polity composed of many different ethnic groups but trying to behave as a nation, i.e., a polity based around a single ethnic group. [h/t Instapundit] This reminded me of a mock map at the very interesting blog Strange Maps.

Next month marks the 67th anniversary of the opening of the Solomons Campaign. This is not a landmark anniversary date, but deserves attention because of a series of posts introducing the campaign has begun over at the United States Naval Institute Blog.

The first in this series introduces the reader to the geography and politics of the region.

Like a broken strand of pearls, the Solomon Islands form an open and extended chain from the Santa Cruz Islands in the south-east to the larger islands of Bougainville and New Britain in the west. Further to the south-east lie the New Hebrides. The islands, primarily volcanic in origin with outer coral barriers, are lushly populated with rain forests and mangrove swamps. Prominent, wide-open and level terrain is rare. What little there is, is densely vegetated. Temperatures tend to the steamy with a prolonged wet season and drier months and “cooler” temperatures in the June through August period. Rainfall on average, is about 120 inches per year.

For the rest and an excellent set of maps.

This week the series continues by providing the status of the United States Navy after Midway.
The story is introduced in a look back via a time machine.

If you were to step into the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman, traveling back to Pearl Harbor on the morning of the 7th of June 1942, to talk to Admiral Nimitz he may have covered several issues including the current status of the fleet, current ops going on in the theater, and current discussions about what to do next. The final issue would be how to seize the initiative causing the Japanese to react to us instead of the Allies reacting to the Japanese.The current status of the Pacific Fleet is looking pretty grim. This morning [7th of June 1942] the radio reports of the torpedoing and loss of the Yorktown would arrive. That only leaves three Allied carriers in the Pacific: USS Enterprise, CV-6; USS Hornet, CV-8; and USS Saratoga, CV-3. The Saratoga is just leaving Mare Island Naval Yard recovering from the torpedo damage she took in late May while in transit from Pearl to the West Coast. In reality the Allies only have two functional carriers deployed any place close to the Japanese fleet.

This series has more than the normal historical interest for me. My father Jay Wade was a member of the crew of the USS Zeilin (AP-9) at Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942. I look forward sharing these posts as they appear.

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