The desultory summer

[picapp align="right" wrap="true" link="term=world+war+ii+pacific&iid=7296406" src="" width="380" height="308" /] I've been reading Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan, by Ronald H. Spector. The book was recommended to me as an excellent one-volume history of the Pacific campaign in World War II. I've read a lot about the war in Europe, but I wanted to expand my scope. Before I started reading memoirs and books about specific battles, I wanted a broad look at the war, and this has been excellent.

It has also provided plenty of fodder for Talk Wordy to Me. Expect to see a few references to the book in the next week or two.

Here's a passage from early in the book, about a new ambassador sent from Japan to the United States in February 1941:

Admiral Nomura Kishisaburo was a moderate, favorably inclined toward the U.S. Early in March he and Secretary of State Hull began a series of desultory conversations which dragged on into summer. Neither man had anything really new to offer and some historians believe the talks may have done more harm than good by obscuring how far apart in policy the two countries actually were.

I didn't know desultory, so I looked it up in my American Heritage Dictionary:

  • 1. Having no set plan; haphazard or random.
  • 2. Moving or jumping from one thing to another; disconnected: a desultory speech.

And the etymology: from the "Latin dēsultōrius, meaning leaping, from dēsultor, meaning a leaper, from dēsultus, the past participle of dēsilīre, meaning to leap down : from dē-, de- + salīre, meaning to jump."