Kamikaze Attacks of World War II: A Complete History of Japanese Suicide Strikes on American Ships, by Aircraft and Other Means, by Robin L. Rielly
Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2010. 384. . $55.00. ISBN: 0786446544.
Although a careful study of the history and culture of Japan ought to have alerted Westerners to the possibility, the introduction of suicide tactics, usually known as kamikaze, by the Japanese armed forces came as quite a surprise, and Kamikaze Attacks of World War II offers an often gripping account of what was ultimately a battle between men who wanted to live and those who wanted to die.
Naval historian Reilly, author of Kamikazes, Corsairs, and Picket Ships: Okinawa, 1945 and Mighty Midgets at War: The Saga of the LCS (L) Ships from Iwo Jima to Vietnam, among other works, gives us much more than a catalog of American ships hit by suicide aircraft, as he includes attacks by suicide boats, divers, and other methods during the Pacific War. He opens with an overview of the cultural roots of the kamikaze tactic, takes a look at the rituals used to foster the kamikaze spirit, and then plunges into a detailed narrative of kamikaze operations, using both American and Japanese sources. By judicious use of many illustrations and diagrams, Rielly helps clarify what were certainly horrifying moments of very high speed combat for both attackers and defenders. A final chapter on preparations for the use of suicide weapons in defense of the Home Islands is particularly sobering given his statistical analysis of the effectiveness of suicide operations.
Despite the lack of coverage of suicide attacks on Allied vessels, Kamikaze Attacks of World War II is a valuable book for all students of the Pacific War.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor
Nemo me impune lacesset,
<table cellpadding="10"><tr><td align="left"></td><td width="20"></td><td align="center">"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.</td><td align="right"></td></tr></table>
1 post • Page 1 of 1