This is the third of Hammerl's three books of the Guadalcanal campaign. I had read The Carrier Battles, but not Starvation Island, and thought this might explain the surface actions a little better. Did it ever.
The book began by patiently explaining that in the first year of the Pacific War, U.S. ships had both a poorly prepared cadre of combat leaders based on prewar caution, and widely varying fits with respect to fire control, radar, and training on both. Some ships relied on manual firing of their guns, some had various systems to more accurately direct their fire, and some had the brand-new "radar" units, some of which could aid in firing accurately, especially at night, and some of which could aid in locating enemy vessels in the first place. Importantly, some commanders did not yet understand that it could do that.
This explains the two nights of battles covered in the book. In the first, a poorly organized and led line of U.S. ships was heavily damaged by a Japanese formation, despite having the tools on various ships to do much better. The second battle a couple of nights later saw a more evenly matched engagement, where the U.S. flagship, the battleship Washington made effective use of its radar-controlled fire to destroy the Japanese battleship Kirishima.
The emphasis on the various radars had a distinct effect on my next modeling project, in which I updated an old Matchbox destroyer USS Fletcher (DD-445) which was tail-end Charlie the first of the two nights. But it had both fire control radar, SC air search radar and – crucially – the new SG surface-search radar. So unlike the two flagship cruisers where the admirals sat, it could – and did – accurately locate the enemy. So I scratchbuilt a new mast to carry carefully fabricated photoetched versions of all three.