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A Glorious Way to Die: The Kamikaze Mission of the Battleship Yamato Paperback – March 9, 2010
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"[Spurr’s] book shines a blend of storytelling skill, naval experience and a rare ability to make clear the psychological climate of this time and these people."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"A powerful chronicle that rivals A Bridge Too Far in storytelling quality and tragedy…utterly spellbinding."—William Stevenson, author of A Man Called Intrepid
"A powerful, suspenseful work of history, a naval version of A Night to Remember."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Gripping…A resounding demonstration of first-rate military history with an unusual human dimension."—Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Russell Spurr was based in Hong Kong for more than 20 years as the China and Far East correspondent for the London Daily Express and ABC Radio Network, and the chief correspondent and deputy editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review. He was one of the first Western correspondents to report from Peking after the establishment in 1949 of the People's Republic of China. During World War II Spurr was in the Royal Indian Navy, and served in motor gunboats through most of the Burma campaign. After the Japanese surrender, he was assigned to Kure, Japan, where he first viewed the vacant dock built for the Yamato and began to pursue the story of its demise. Spurr is also the author of the highly acclaimed Enter the Dragon: China's Undeclared War Against the U.S. in Korea.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nevertheless this magnificent vessel of death, doom and destruction went into service at a time when the Imperial Japanese Navy could do no wrong. Prior to WW2 Japan broke the terms of the peace treaties by preparing for their eventual complete domination of the Pacific region. The building of Truk Lagoon being one example. Then, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour those plans were put into effect with devastating results. In June 1942, however, they failed to take Midway Atoll and from then on it was all downhill. Three years later, the largest Battleship ever to have been built was sent on a final mission from which she never returned.
In "A Glorious Way to Die" Russell Spurr gives an account of this great ship from beginning to tragic end. It is a complete account - as befits one of the world's greatest ships.
Perhaps the Yamato will prove to be the last great ship to be discovered by the great Bob Ballard.
If this subject interest you, try Yoshida Mitsuru's book: "Requiem for the Battleship Yamato". This is a first-person account of Yamato's final mission, and is one of the greatest literary accomplishments of World War II.
And to the reviewer who wanted Spielberg to make a movie of this story, please know that several films about the Yamato's final voyage have already been made in Japan. At least one film was made in the fifties, another version, "Rengo Kantai" (the Grand Fleet) was released in 1981, and a film called the "Battleship Yamato" was released a few years ago. None of these are available in the United States. Hopefully, someone will see fit to import at least one of the recent films (both reportedly lavish productions), as any of these would be preferable to a U.S. production.
Yamato's mission would be to sail to Okinawa, attack the American transports anchored there, then beach herself while the crew members joined the ranks of the Japanese army to fight against the American Marines. Yamato would be accompanied by the light cruiser Yahagi and 8 destroyers. Air cover would not be provided, so the force would be sailing exposed to attacks from American carrier aircraft. One only needs to remember what happened to the British battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse to see how effective aircraft could be against unprotected warships.
The Americans were trying to decide how best to handle the threat posed by Yamato. Discovered by both search planes and submarines, the Americans knew that Yamato was making a run for Okinawa. But would the carrier aircraft be able to reach her? There was some talk about dispatching surface ships to slug it out with the Japanese fleet, but in the end, it was decided to send the carrier aircraft after them. The American fliers engaged the Japanese fleet on the morning of April 7th. In the space of two hours, the Yahagi and several destroyers were sunk. As for the Yamato, she absorbed upwards of 10 torpedo and heavy bomb hits before finally rolling over and sinking. Only about 200 of her crew survived. The last gasp of the Imperial Japanese Navy had been extinguished by the American carrier aircraft.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
On every level this is one of the most brilliant books I have ever read.
It is exciting. I know this is history, I know his account is factual, and Russell Spurr (not... Read more
I bought the book because my only copy was falling apart. This book corrected my problem. A nice book at a nice price. Excellent service.Published 18 months ago by Earl Wahl
A riveting history of the most powerful naval ship ever launched on the seas and its demise at the hands of American air power.Published 18 months ago by The Pie Face Prince
Good deep account of Japan's final days and the demise of their prized battleship.detail from both sides of the battle was excellentPublished 20 months ago by Roken
I really enjoyed this book. It probably is closer to a 5 than a 4 but I don't give out many 5's. If you have an interest in WWII in the Pacific this is a must read. Read morePublished on May 5, 2013 by Lael Prock
The book deftly gives a brief history of the Yamato from her inception to her demise. The book goes into detail for the last week of her existence in april 1945. Read morePublished on December 24, 2012 by EdM.
Spurr's book, while it may suffer from some transcription errors (see the late Mr. Ray's review below) is none-the-less a superb and highly accurate account of Yamato's "surface... Read morePublished on December 23, 2010 by Monsieur Al
Outstanding story about a little known WWII battle. Many personal interviews of persons on both sides of the battle make for very interesting reading. Read morePublished on June 17, 2010 by T. Thompson