Kamikaze: Japan's Suicide Samurai Hardcover – 26 Jun 1997
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A fascinating and sometimes horrifying account of the life and death of Japan¿s last ditch suicide pilots. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Raymond Lamont-Brown, an Orientalist, lectures on Eastern history and philosophy at St Andrews and Dundee, and has been widely published in aviation magazines.
Top Customer Reviews
In Admiral Halsey's words, `American's who fight to live, find it hard to realise that another people will fight to die.' And this was certainly a point I kept reflecting on - the willingness of some Japanese fighters to selflessly give up their lives in what were quite clearly futile attacks for the greater good of Japan and the Emperor. The logic of the attacks was to discourage the American advance, and in particular the invasion of Japanese territory, by demonstrating how bloody and costly the battle would be.Read more ›
This book seems to have the deep wish to confuse its reader as much as possible.
Yet the most disturbing is that it portrays all Kamikaze as eager to die for the Emperor. That might be true, but many other book dealing with the topic suggest an alternative reading. It would expect the author at least to discuss the different points of view and put forward some arguments why his version is teh right one. Sadly, the reader is simply told that this was the case.
If you are interested in Kamikaze, read something either better documented or simply something better written.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I suspect that most readers, coming new to this subject, will know very little about the Japanese Kamikaze and what little they do know will likely be based on film footage shot by U.S. Navy photographers during Kamikaze attacks toward the end of WWII. From this footage, one might conclude that these attacks were largely ineffective, and, when viewed from a Western perspective, that these suicide pilots were crazy or had been forced into such action. As this book makes clear, however, although done partly out of national desperation, these attacks were effective to some degree and the pilots were volunteers who knew exactly what they were doing.
As a case in point, consider the woman whose husband's application to become a Kamikaze pilot had been turned down several times because he had a wife and three children. To free him to become a Kamikaze, she killed her three children and committed suicide. Crazy? Perhaps, but that was the Japanese mind-set at the time.
The thing which interested me most about this book, however, was that it examined the history of the Kamikaze in Japan and then explored the Kamikaze in its larger sense. In doing so, it explained how the well known Kamikaze attacks came about and delved into lesser known Kamikaze. For example: I had never considered that the Banzai attacks carried out by Japanese soldiers on various islands in the Pacific were actually Kamikaze attacks, nor did I know that the two-man mini-subs which attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, were essentially Kamikaze, nor that Japanese fighter planes which rammed U.S. bombers during WWII were considered Kamikaze, nor that the Japanese built and deployed a fleet of torpedoes manned and guided by Kamikaze volunteers, nor that the small balloons launched from Japan and carried to the United States, 7000 miles away by the "Divine Wind" were by definition "Kamikaze," "Kami" (Japanese pantheon of Gods) "Nishi Kaze" ((West Wind).
I have only one complaint about this book. The author uses way too many repetitive and italicized Japanese words, which makes for difficult reading by a Westerner. But, if you're interested, that's the price you'll have to pay. So, if you are interested in learning a bit more about WWII history, especially from the Japanese perspective, and would like to learn about Japan's extended Kamikaze force, you should enjoy reading this book. In doing so, you'll likely find that the Kamikaze was much more than you thought it was.
As for the so-called "spelling errors" mentioned by the other reviewer, the author is British! British spelling is different!
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