Nimitz at Ease (Color)

by Michael Lilly


This version has color photos.

From the Introduction:

Hawaii 1941

Nimitz at Ease relates the true and unpublished story of a grand relationship that developed between Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Una and Sandy Walker during World War II and how the Walkers helped relieve Nimitz of the tremendous pressures of war, including awful letters from parents that accused him of killing their sons. The Walkers gave Nimitz a place, space and time free of command or demand which, in a small but meaningful way, helped him cope with and win the war in the Pacific.

Nimitz commanded all the armed forces in the Pacific during World War II–the largest military power that ever existed in history. Victorious over the Japanese Empire, he was elevated to the highest rank in the United States Navy—five-star Fleet Admiral. Nimitz wore two challenging hats, positions currently held by two different four-star admirals in Hawai`i—Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (CinCPac), and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CinCPOA). Under the latter hat, he had operational command of all Allied forces—air, land and sea—in the Pacific. He was the supreme commander, overseeing the enormous effort fighting World War II in the Pacific.

Nimitz first met and became close friends of the Walkers when, as a young Lieutenant Commander, he was assigned to build the Submarine Base at Pearl Harbor in 1920. He rekindled that friendship soon after taking over the Pacific Fleet after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The day after taking command, Nimitz was asked by the press how he was going to handle a fleet under water and the Japanese juggernaut rampaging through the western Pacific. In response, he drew on a Hawaiian word given him by the Walkers – ho`omanawanui which means “All things work out in the fullness of time.”

Little or unknown facts emerge during this story—that Nimitz suffered from chronic insomnia, bouts of malaria, and his true relationships with Admiral Halsey and General McArthur, and his love of rigorous exercise, games, and fine dining.

Michael A.Lilly was in a unique position to write Nimitz at Ease. He discovered his grandmother’s diary, which detailed all the times that Nimitz and the Walkers were together. He also found hundreds of unpublished letters, memorabilia, and dozens of unpublished photos with Nimitz, his aide, and other subordinate admirals—many of which he includes in this book. Another source arrived from Nimitz’s grandson, Chester (“Chet”) Nimitz Lay in the form of a CD – the digitized and declassified 4,023 page Graybook—Nimitz’s daily command log of the war.

With Una’s diary, Nimitz’s letters, the Graybook and other source materials spread out on Lilly’s desk, he was able to track Nimitz’s daily activities in war and peace, much of which has never been published.

Along with beautiful images of Hawaii, Lilly takes us on a journey to the past, to Hawaii and the war in the Pacific. The story will offer anecdotes and photos, showing how a tough guy with a difficult command spent his days at ease.


Trade Paperback with color photos
Stairway Press

What others are saying about Nimitz at Ease (Color)

“Nimitz the warrior. Nimitz the strategist. Both aspects of this World War Two American hero are well documented. Now, Michael Lilly has provided insight into Nimitz, the man, in this engaging, well documented, and heretofore unpublished account of the private and social life of the Fleet Admiral in Hawai`i during his pressure-filled years as Pacific Commander in Chief. Lilly has done a masterful job of humanizing this American icon, while telling a story of Hawaiian lifestyle and friends, and conveying a "sense of place" about Hawai`i, Nimitz, and his close association with the prominent Walker family throughout the war. A great, significant, and informative read.”

    – Adm. R.J. "Zap" Zlatoper, USN (Ret.), Former Commander In Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet


“Michael Lilly’s 'At Ease' is an important contribution to the history of the U.S. Navy in World War II and Hawaii during the 1940’s. Drawing on his Honolulu family’s extensive collection of letters and documents from the war period, the recollections of family members about their close friendship with Admiral Nimitz, public records, and books about naval actions in the Pacific, Lilly has drawn a singular portrait of the Five Star Admiral from the perspective of one of Hawaii’s most prominent families. This book will fascinate everyone interested in the war in the Pacific and Old Hawaii with its new and unique insights into Admiral Nimitz when he was 'At Ease.'”

    – William J. Cassidy Jr., Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy