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The Final Storm by Jeff Shaara (Review #2)

The Final StormReviewed by Allen Hott

A very interesting novel based on World War II in the Pacific and especially on the invasion of Okinawa by U.S. forces. Shaara has put together his version of those happenings primarily through the eyes of Admiral Chester Nimitz (leader of the U.S. forces in the Pacific); General Mitsuru Ushijima (the Japanese General assigned the task of defending Okinawa); and Clay Adams (a young Marine who is witnessing his first battles of the war).

Shaara uses Nimitz to show the quibbling between the higher command members of the U.S. team. How much of the battling actually went on between several of the Army leaders, Marine leaders, Air Force leaders and even some of Nimitz’ Naval compatriots is perhaps questionable. However knowing the strong personalities of Douglas MacArthur, Curtis LeMay, and Howling Mad Smith makes the story pretty believable. Nimitz always appears as the kindly old grandfather who maintains order amongst the “young” in his command.

Ushijima is shown as a classical Japanese gentleman who maintains command while using very little hard-nosed methods. He believes very sincerely in the Japanese doctrine that everything is commanded by the heavens through the Emperor. Although he may have doubts at times of the planning by the Imperial High Command back in Japan Ushijima will do all in his power to battle the American forces to the end. He proclaims that the Japanese forces have the capability to hold Okinawa but down deep he really fears the power of the American military.

The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific by Jeff Shaara

The Final StormReviewed by Cy Hilterman

When I approached the reading of this book I was afraid it would contain so many boring facts and figures, but to my delight, “The Final Storm” is not bogged down by anything. It is a great story that begins on February 21, 1945 as WWII is concentrated on the battle for Japan and all the islands that nation controlled. The author tells this excellently written book through the eyes of many involved in the war on land, sea, and in the air, both Allies and Japanese views with no holds barred. From the attackers themselves on both sides to those living on Japanese controlled territories, be they civilians, military, or prisoners of war. The Japanese gave no mercy to prisoners of war as well as their own citizens, not caring where they were contained ion or near dangerous battle locations.

Japanese submariners had dwindled to few by this time of the war but those few left had to be watched as they tried to torpedo and sink any of the ships bringing supplies, food, ammunition, and fighting men to where they were needed. American submarine commanders were working hard to clear the area of any Japanese ships so the allied ships could deliver those much needed men and supplies. Allied airplanes also were very active as they cleared the seas and the air of Japanese opposition.

Many leaders who were known at the time had their shared duties explained to the reader. Men of both sides of the war give the reader the story of the war as they saw it and lived it. You feel as though you are living the war through the actions and lives of admirals, officers, presidents, prime ministers, military and civilian doctors, field marshals, non-commissioned officers, pilots, families of all of them, whether they were Japanese, Americans, or other nations involved in the war. You slosh through the jungles, fly in the airplanes, fighter planes or bombers, try to stay alive as a P.O.W., avoiding capture when possible knowing torture was ahead if the Japanese did capture you, travel in the ships whether part of a crew, men traveling to go to war, or commanding the ship trying to avoid attack and being sunk.