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Kamikaze (Hardback)

Japan's Last Bid for Victory

WWII Aviation Japan & the Pacific Front

By Adrian Stewart
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526748034
Published: 28th July 2020

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In this fascinating book the author examines the Japanese concept of Kamikaze, the deliberate self-sacrifice of life in the cause of victory. This attitude, while incomprehensible to their American and European enemies, has its roots in the samurai tradition of fighting for their master or nation regardless of personal safety.

By late 1944 the Japanese had already proved themselves fanatical but the actions of the Kamikaze Corps of pilots from the Leyte Gulf battle onwards took matters to a new level. Allied forces were shocked to find themselves the subject of widespread deliberate suicide attacks by pilots.

These continued during the invasion of the Philippines in early 1945 and reached a climax during the Battle of Okinawa from 1 April to June 1945. In total over 1000 kamikaze airmen perished.

Graphic description of these suicide attacks and the resulting loss of life and ships litter this revealing and shocking book.

The author’s in depth study of the historic and cultural reasons for this seemingly reckless courage is important and illuminating.

I do find that the available literature (in English) on the Japanese aspect of World War 2 tends to be significantly less than that on the European, North African and Eastern Fronts so this volume is a welcomed addition. It does deal with a very infamous aspect of Japanese military history and it does this superbly well. It draws upon many Japanese military sources and is very well presented. It is highly recommended as a great book to read on these pilots who made history at the cost of their lives – a few thousand of them. Their story needs recounting which is done extremely well by the author and their heroism needs to be placed in context with the then cultural aspects of their nation for which they gave their lives – sold so dearly.

Dr Stuart C Blank

About Adrian Stewart

Adrian Stewart was educated at Rugby School before taking First Class Honours at Caius College, Cambridge. His previously published works with Pen and Sword Books include: Eighth Army’s Greatest Victories, Early Battles of Eighth Army, They Flew Hurricanes, The Campaigns of Alexander of Tunis 1940-1945, February 1942 – Britain’s Darkest Days, Carriers at War, Six of Monty’s Men, Ten Squadrons of Hurricanes and The War With Hitler’s Navy have all been published by Pen and Sword Books.


He lives near Rugby.

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