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Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, the Japanese Navy's Story (Bluejacket Books) [Paperback]

Mitsuo Fuchida , Masatake Okumiya
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

9 Feb 2001 Bluejacket Books
Two Japanese naval aviators who participated in the battle provide an unsparing analysis of what caused their staggering defeat.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; New edition edition (9 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557504288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557504289
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,287,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for history buffs 29 Mar 2013
By pleven
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my husband, who is something of an expert on this subject. He particularly wanted this book because of the author, he was not disappointed. The book arrived very well wrapped and in excellent condition, a collectors dream. I would definitely deal with this person again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Battle of Midway as seen by the Japanese--powerful! 14 Feb 2003
By Roger J. Buffington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a splendid analysis of the Battle of Midway as seen from the Japanese side. The authors had firsthand knowledge of the plans, actions, mistakes, strengths, and weaknesses of the Imperial Japanese Navy in connection with the Battle of Midway, and they pull no punches telling us about the battle. The Battle of Midway turned the tide of the Pacific War for all time against Japan, as an outnumbered and outmatched, but plucky, U.S. Navy inflicted a devastating defeat on the greatest carrier force ever assembled up to that time. This book goes far in explaining how this miracle took place. The authors tell us about the dithering of the Japanese commander as to whether to strike Midway again, or to strike the American fleet, or do a hasty strike against the American fleet before all his planes were recovered--and how this indecision helped lose a battle that almost could not be lost. So too did the sloppiness of the deck crews, who stacked bombs and torpedos carelessly on the decks of the carriers as the Admiral kept changing his mind--this ordinance of course exploded when the American dive bombers attacked, ensuring that three Japanese carriers went to the bottom, rather than having a chance of surviving through damage control. The book is filled with excellent details like this.
The authors also do a fine job explaining the motivations and outlooks of the Japanese leaders, including the great famed Admiral Yamamoto--who evidently reacted to the Doolittle Raid by pushing for the attack on Midway. This key decision signed Japan's death warrant as regards the Pacific war. Had Japan instead turned west and attacked Russia, this could have changed the entire complexion of the war, as Germany might have prevailed against Russia, forcing the US to divert even more resources in its "Germany First" policy. The authors reveal how close Japan may have been to adopting this strategy.
This book impresses the reader not just with the mistakes the Japanese made, but also of the tenacity, skill, and competence of the former Japanese foe. The book was written in the early 1950s and the authors' viewpoints are somewhat overly colored by the aftermath of defeat--Japan had not yet shaken off the trauma of defeat and this pessimism about Japan's prospects is readily apparent. I trust the authors lived to see that in reality the Japanese people won, not lost, the war by becoming a prosperous and democratic economic powerhouse.
Incidentally, it appeared clear to me that the movie "Battle of Midway" with Henry Fonda was essentially based on this book.
This is a fine analysis of the most important battle of the Pacific War and constitutes essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the Battle of Midway and the reasons that Japan was defeated in both the battle and the war.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Book for Serious Pacific War Buffs... 2 Feb 2003
By Philip A. True - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Many accounts of the battle of Midway have been written from the American point of view and of the reasons for our success--code breaking and trickery to reveal the target, the amazing repair job done on the Yorktown, and American adaptation to battle conditions plus a little bit of luck. Little is known, however, of the Japanese view of the battle.
A few years after Midway two Japanese Naval aviators, Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya, wrote a scathing critique of the battle, exposing Japanese overconfidence, the rigidity of Japanese decision-making, and tarnishing in so doing the reputations of Admiral Yamamoto and others. Fushica's views are particularly valuable in that he was aboard the Japanese carrier Akagi during the battle, though grounded because of a recent operation. His record of the terrifying few minutes when the Dauntless dive bombers came out of the clouds to destroy the heart of the Japanese carrier fleet are invaluable, including his rescue and eventual return to Japan. Okumiya was attached to the northern force, part of the Midway operation, that attacked the fog-bound Aleutians, but who gathered much information about the battle afterwards from survivors.
The authors are harsh on the fecklessness of the Japanese naval forays into the Indian ocean which accomplished little of strategic value, the high-level conflicts in the Japanese decision-making process, and the over-confidence generated by their success at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere.
Tactics are also criticized, such as the perfunctory search plane missions to detect and locate enemy forces because the Japanese high command could not imagine that US forces might be within striking distance.
The book, reissued some years back by the Naval Institute Press, also contains footnotes that adds information not known to the Japanese authors at the time of writing.
The book is highly recommended for filling out the blanks in the battle of Midway and of adding details to the failures of Japanese strategic planning and decision-making.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A view from the other side 24 Dec 2000
By Tom Munro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is quite a short book that was written by two Japanese one who was a flyer from the Akagi. Although a book of a little over 200 pages the book describes the attack on Pearly Harbour, the cruise of the Japanese carrier fleet in the Indian Ocean and the attack on Sri Lanka, the bombing of Darwin, the battle of the Coral Sea and Midway.
The facts around these battles have been explained in a range of other books so that there are no real surprises. What is of interest is the insight that the book gives into the process of Japanese decision making during the war.
The authors show that following the victory at Pearl Harbour the Japanese didn't know what to do. The cruise to the Indian Ocean achieved little and used a large amount of their oil reserves. The overall command simply was not able to formulate a plan. Some groups thought of invading Darwin a plan which was shelved. In the end the attack on Midway was decided on. Such a plan put the Japanese miles from home at a considerable disadvantage.
The authors go on to show how the arrogance and self-confidence in that attack doomed the Japanese fleet. The failure to properly use sighting planes, the leaving of large numbers of aircraft on deck prior to the American attack.
The book is one of the most coherent attacks on the reputation of Yamamoto that I have read. For some reason Yamamoto has had a high reputation with American writers. The record shows that although Pearl Harbor went to plan it was all down hill after that.
The book is readable and evokes the frustration of felt by Japanese fighting men at the shortcomings of their leaders.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fuchida's Mission 15 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Commander Fuchida Mitsuo, leader of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, along with co-author Okumiya Masatake, provide the most intimate Japanese account of the turning point at sea of World War II. Discussion of "victory" disease which lead to faulty dispositions and assumptions about what America would do rather than what she could do perceptively explains the disaster which the Nihon Kaigon (Imperial Japanese Navy ) experienced. The Kido Butai (First Striking Force) was destroyed as a unit at Midway, but Japanese naval airpower was not critically hurt until the Battle of Santa Cruz. This book is an absolute must for any student of the Pacific War. Even after 40 plus years, it has yet to be surpassed.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hubris: The Price of Empire 5 Jan 2004
By Melvin Sico - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is clear in "Midway" that, in the pursuit of Empire, Japan paid a terrible price. In its quest for the decisive fleet engagement, and in order to prevent another Doolittle raid, the Imperial Navy sought to draw out the United States Pacific Fleet by invading the tiny island of Midway. Until Midway, the Japanese were having a free hand in Asia. The Midway plan was thus tainted by hubris. First, believing in the utter invincibility of their fleet, Japanese naval planners opted for a plan which divided their forces, clearly a violation of one of the basic precepts of war. Second, they drew up an invasion plan which relegated their powerful carriers to a supporting role. This also had the effect of unmasking the battleship mentality so prevalent at the time. Third, they assumed that the enemy would act as anticipated. Fourth, in executing the plan, they somehow lost sight of their true objective: to lure the US Pacific Fleet, especially its carriers, into a vulnerable position and destroy it.
Fuchida and Okumiya place the reader on the bridge of the Akagi as she prepares to launch her airborne armada. One can only watch helplessly as the bombs begin to fall on the Japanese carriers at the moment of maximum peril, when bombs were scattered along the decks and fuel lines snaked between planes and flight personnel.
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