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.