Bloody Okinawa
A stirring narrative of World War II's final major battle--the Pacific war's largest, bloodiest, most savagely fought campaign--the last of its kind. On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, more than 184,000 US troops began landing on the only Japanese home soil invaded during the Pacific war. Just 350 miles from mainland Japan, Okinawa was to serve as a forward base for Japan's invasion in the fall of 1945. Nearly 140,000 Japanese and auxiliary soldiers fought with suicidal tenacity from hollowed-out, fortified hills and ridges. Under constant fire and in the rain and mud, the Americans battered the defenders with artillery, aerial bombing, naval gunfire, and every infantry tool. Waves of Japanese kamikaze and conventional warplanes sank 36 warships, damaged 368 others, and killed nearly 5,000 US seamen. When the slugfest ended after 82 days, more than 125,000 enemy soldiers lay dead--along with 7,500 US ground troops. Tragically, more than 100,000 Okinawa civilians perished while trapped between the armies. The brutal campaign persuaded US leaders to drop the atomic bomb instead of invading Japan. Utilizing accounts by US combatants and Japanese sources, author Joseph Wheelan endows this riveting story of the war's last great battle with a compelling human dimension.

Bloody Okinawa Details

TitleBloody Okinawa
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780306903229
Rating
GenreHistory, War, World War II, Nonfiction, Military Fiction

Bloody Okinawa Review

  • J. F.
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: Bloody Okinawa: The Last Great Battle of World War II by Joseph Wheelan(Published by Hachette Books)4 Stars"Never before had there been, probably never again will there be, such a vicious, sprawling struggle." - New York TimesThe Battle of Okinawa, code-named "Operation Iceberg", the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II, commenced on April 1, 1945 and ended on June 22, 1945, lasting 82 days.As a lowly student of Japanese and Okinawan culture, I was Book Review: Bloody Okinawa: The Last Great Battle of World War II by Joseph Wheelan(Published by Hachette Books)4 Stars"Never before had there been, probably never again will there be, such a vicious, sprawling struggle." - New York TimesThe Battle of Okinawa, code-named "Operation Iceberg", the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II, commenced on April 1, 1945 and ended on June 22, 1945, lasting 82 days.As a lowly student of Japanese and Okinawan culture, I was pretty excited about a new book on the battle, one of modern history's bloodiest. It was described as "Tetsu no Bōfū" (鉄の暴風) or A Storm of Steel for the souls on island, a veritable typhoon of fire and death from the very moment US naval guns and aircraft bombarded the island to soften enemy defenses."Bloody Okinawa" deftly walks us through the last great battle, commencing with a prelude of events in the Pacific Theater, then - over the fog of war through non-linear events - an incredibly thorough narrative of combat, day after excruciating day for inch after grueling inch, on the hills, cliffs and escarpments of Okinawa, the horrors, the deadly human toll, - and, in conclusion, the battle's aftermath and impact to this very day.Victories in Saipan and the Battle of Leyte were met with by crucial next-step decisions; options to next liberate Luzon or Formosa. For General Douglas MacArthur it was going to be unequivocally freedom for his beloved Philippines. Island hopping was then followed by Iwo Jima, and finally, Okinawa, its final phase - to capture an airfield at Kadena in Central Okinawa as a land base for "Operation Downfall", the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland.In the end the sacrifices on both sides were all for naught, with the homeland invasion rendered unnecessary by the deus ex machina atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Focal points of the battle include the heroics at Southern Okinawa's Maeda Escarpment, also known as Hacksaw Ridge, of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds.Today, on a hillside at the Peace Memorial Park in Mabuni, Okinawa stand a semi-circular avenue of stones engraved with the names of all thousands of the honored dead in the Battle of Okinawa regardless of nationality, arrayed majestically upon the Cornerstone of Peace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This was the place of the last stand, the final battle in Okinawa, where Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima (牛島 満), commanding, met his fate.For the novel, the author draws upon his impressive body of work as a military and political historian - writings on John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, General Philip H. Sheridan, the Civil War, the Mexican-American War and the banzai attacks of Guadalcanal."Bloody Okinawa" is, in my humble opinion, a compelling read in the calibre of the works of the late John Toland ("Infamy", "But Not in Shame", "The Rising Sun", inter-alia), surviving Japanese Colonel Hiromichi Yahara's account entitled Okinawa Kessen (沖縄決戦), and last year's "Indianapolis", the sixteen-year epic endeavor of Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic.But, what could be easily a 5-star read for me is somehow tainted by the insertion of 21st century political issues entirely out of place. The author writes: "...for their part, the Japanese believed that Americans had abused and murdered African American slaves, massacred American Indians and stole their lands, and started a mid-nineteenth-century expansionist war against Mexico..."It is preposterous to proffer that the divine race of Amaterasu (天照), forebear of Japanese emperors, brutal enablers of the Bataan Death March, the Rape of Nanking and the invasions of Manchuria, Korea and Taiwan would have concerned themselves with the woke politics of other nations at that time of war.Written without a Japanese or Okinawan in consultation, there are numerous misspellings and misinterpretations of culture. Some anti-US military sentiment in the choice of words is also noted.Nevertheless, this historical war novel is indeed a commendable rendition of the battle.Review based on an Advance Reading Copy from Hachette Books through NetGalley.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    With the 75th Anniversary coming up next month, This is one of the books I completed on the Battle of Okinawa. This details one of the bloodiest and costliest battles fought during World War II. The Japanese were willing to fight to the death and even deliberately killed themselves than surrender. Many Japanese pilots known as kamikazes deliberately flew their planes loaded with bombs into American battleships inflicting damage and death. The war ended after 82 days in which 125,000 Japanese With the 75th Anniversary coming up next month, This is one of the books I completed on the Battle of Okinawa. This details one of the bloodiest and costliest battles fought during World War II. The Japanese were willing to fight to the death and even deliberately killed themselves than surrender. Many Japanese pilots known as kamikazes deliberately flew their planes loaded with bombs into American battleships inflicting damage and death. The war ended after 82 days in which 125,000 Japanese soldiers died-along with 7,500 United States ground troops. More than 100,000 Okinawan civilians were killed as well. Interesting side note: Desmond Doss of the 77th Division received the Medal of Honor for sending many of the wounded soldiers down a cliff for evacuation at Hacksaw Ridge. Doss was a medic as well as a Seventh Day Adventist who refused to carry a weapon, but became a medic.
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  • joseph donnelly
    January 1, 1970
    powerful military nonfiction
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