This was one of the more interesting accounts I've read of the Guadalcanal campaign. It tells stories I wasn't familiar with, and makes clear how close the Marines were to losing control of the airfield at several points, and what incredible feats of not just courage and bravery, but preparation and training allowed them to prevail. But even with that, had the Japanese been just slightly less awful in their tactics, they couldn't have helped but succeed, although success would have meant little given the cost. As it ended up, they failed, but the failure to hold the island wasn't the major effect of Guadalcanal – it was that Japan has irreplaceable assets in planes, pilots, troops, and to a lesser extent, ships. (It could afford to lose two battleships – they were effectively useless anyway, as they weren't worth the air cover they would have required to operate).
Guadalcanal was the first engagement in the long campaign of attrition that would see the Japanese Navy sidelined for the next year and a half. It essentially ended its ability to wage carrier warfare, since it would never again be able to launch an attack by carrier planes that seriously threatened American capital ships or military movements, although this wouldn't be clear until after the Leyte Gulf campaign in October 1944.
The book (I listened to the audiobook) has some very slight errors when dealing with naval matters, but no significant ones. And it avoids the common postwar attacks on Admiral's Fletcher's actions in the campaign in favor of a more practical analysis that underscores just how inadequate the U.S. campaign was in terms of resources of men and material at this stage in the war. The Guadalcanal campaign was competing for resources with the upcoming Torch invasion of North Africa, and while it got the last dregs of the prewar U.S. carrier fleet, it was short on every other ship type as well – until almost too late. Halsey finally threw every asset he had into the restricted waters around the island to try to preserve the air striking power of Henderson Field by protected it from naval bombardment at a crucial point, and the radar-equipped battleship Washington won the day. Significantly, while the U.S. had a second new, fast battleship in the battle, the South Dakota, it suffered electrical outages that rendered it a punching bag for the Japanese while the Washington took out the Japanese battleship Kirishima. (Note how low the main guns are elevated in the photo from the battle to the right – the ships were at effectively point blank range).
Overall, a good book, and a good addition to the corpus on this campaign. But it does make me want to go back and read Robert Leckie's book, and Richard Frank's.