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I Was a Kamikaze: The incredible story of a Japanese suicide pilot [Paperback]

R. Nagatsuka , Pierre Clostermann , N. Rootes

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: New English Library Ltd; New edition edition (April 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0450019276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0450019272
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,280,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of death 2 July 2001
By yeoster28@pacific.net.sg - Published on Amazon.com
This is a very rare book on the topic of kamikazes during WWII from a first person's perspective. The simple reason for its rareness being most kamikazes perished in their suicide missions.
Upon reading this book, I discovered a certain similarity with Saint-Exupery's Flight to Arras. The writer, being more interested in literature than his counterparts, spends a lot of time pondering about the ever deteriorating war situation and the impending likelihood of him being sent on one of those "last throw of the dice" missions.
He strongly holds the view that all participants of these missions participate on a purely voluntary basis. No strong arm tactics on the part of the Japanese Imperial Army. As such, he continually fights an inner battle on the decision to volunteer and meet a certain death, or to remain alive and pursue his dreams of further study.
He ultimately decides for the former out of love for his homeland and family. The book builds up to a climax as the reader begins wondering how he survived the suicide mission to write this moving book...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight into the mentality of a Japanese WWII warrior 8 July 2011
By newzild - Published on Amazon.com
My first reaction to reading the title of this book was, "obviously not a very good one".

The book traces the life of the author during WWII as he goes through training and joins a combat squadron that is tasked with shooting down B29 Superfortress bombers. After a couple of such missions he is "volunteered" to join a kamikaze unit.

Unlike the other reviewer, I gained the impression from the book that volunteers had little choice in their decision, and that the author wanted to preserve his life just as much as a Westerner would in such a situation.

The value of the book lies in its descriptions of the everyday brutalities suffered by Japanese soldiers at the hands of their officers, and the portrayal of the mentality of a Japanese warrior. The inner debates and turmoils of the author are distinctly Japanese.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interestering. 1 July 2012
By History buff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is interestering because it gives insight into the training of kamikaze pilots, the pressure put on the young men To Volunteer, & the thoughts of these men. If you have ever wondered , why did they do it???? This book helps you to understand.
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a WWII sailor who fought the Kamikazes at Okinawa ... 28 July 2014
By Anne Cederlund - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a WWII sailor who fought the Kamikazes at Okinawa.
It was interesting to see what drove these young men to their deaths.
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