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Kamikaze: Japan's Suicide Samurai Hardcover – 26 Jun 1997

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; 1st edition (26 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854093673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854093677
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,129,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Book Description

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.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Lamont-Brown's book is written as a piece of first hand journalism, exposing the true character of the warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Their first faltering raids increase in their intensity and ferocity, the author bringing both the honour and bravery of the Kamikaze to the page alongside the steadfast resolve of the Allied Navy crews.An incredible insight into the tactics of suicide. If you are looking for a book which brings alive the terror of the Pacific War, this is it.
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Format: Paperback
Kamikaze is a history of Japan's suicide warriors during the latter stages of the Second World War. Most often associated with the pilots of planes who deliberately tried to crash into allied shipping (there were 2,940 such attempts between Oct 1944 and Aug 1945, the vast majority of which failed in their mission), kamikaze's also included mini-submarines and also entire ships (for example, the battleship Yamato sailed toward the US fleet in April 1945 with only enough fuel for a one way trip - it never made contact being sunk by US planes with the loss of 3,063 men). Given that the protagonists died and left little in the way of records, the paucity of Japanese material, and the US military's blackout of kamikaze tactics during the war, Lamont-Brown does a reasonable job of pulling together the relatively limited material available. The narrative is a little dry in places, becoming quite list-like and lacking in personal testimony or stories, and the structure is a little jumbled, but nevertheless I found the book fascinating.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Loads of small facts, very poor structure, no storyline.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Kamikaze: Japan's Suicide Samurai by Raymond Lamont- Brown is a work with potential let down by a lack of focus and no real structure. It has a fast-paced narrative and at times is well-written but it jumps all over the place making it very difficult to follow. Overall, a potentially good book let down by a lack focus and a lack of structure which makes it difficult to follow the narrative.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x93c05f9c) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93f9f51c) out of 5 stars The Kamikaze was much more than you thought it was 20 Oct. 2008
By Marvin D. Pipher - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is interesting on two different levels. On one: it provides a great deal of information concerning World War II (WWII) as fought in the Pacific and as seen from the perspective of Japan's military leaders; I.e., what they were thinking, how they saw the war progressing, what their plans were, and how they tried to implement those plans. The primary thrust of the book, however, is to broadly explore the history of Japan's Kamikaze, with emphasis on WWII.

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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93f9f57c) out of 5 stars The best book in English on the Subject 12 Nov. 2007
By theleme1421 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have read many works on Japan's special attack units, and this is the best. The book is lucid, fact-filled, and objective.

As for the so-called "spelling errors" mentioned by the other reviewer, the author is British! British spelling is different!
HASH(0x94b5af30) out of 5 stars Kamikaze 27 Mar. 2014
By Gonzalo Bures - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not what I expected of a written documentary. Not a interesting reading. I am presently reading another book on the topic. Will evaluate that one when I finsh it. I do not recommend this book.
7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9362e984) out of 5 stars Lots of information but not much care into the book. 5 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book has many spelling errors and format errors in it. This is terribly unexceptable for such an important topic. The editor of the book obviously did not read the book carefully. This book does, however, have lots of information.
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