From Publishers Weekly
World War II enthusiasts probably already know about the controversies surrounding the American mission to kill Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the man who orchestrated the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. What the uninitiated will find interesting is Davis's account of the lives of the soldiers who participated in the attack. Through a series of vignettes, the reader sees both American and Japanese perspectives. Good and bad guys can be found on either side, and Davis appears to be a fair judge of character as he considers different perspectives of these historic events. Davis also does an excellent job supplementing a bird's eye view of the war with minute detail, i.e. "honor ribbons blossomed on the chest of the green uniform, and the right hand rested upon a long sword." Davis portrays Yamamoto not as a villain, but as a man who "captured the imagination of his crew and pilots" and was an inspiration to his people. (The real villain appears in the form of a glory-seeking American who uses his connections to rewrite history.) Yet, in this account, individuals are minor players compared to the war itself, which takes us from Japan and Pearl Harbor to the Philippines, Australia and Guadalcanal, where the bulk of the action takes place. Increasingly, readers are shown the more subtle but no less vicious war regarding the truth of what happened during the Yamamoto mission, and herein lies the thrust of Davis's book: to shatter the air of conspiracy that surrounds the mysterious mission and reveal the truth. Despite a thrown-together feel in the first 70 or so pages, Davis both informs and entertains, and shows the ease with which history may be rewritten.
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"Lightning Strike is the finest history of World War II in the Pacific, and especially the Yamamoto mission, that I have ever read."
---William H. Allen, president of the American Fighter Aces Association
"This is a rich slice of Pacific War history . . . Davis's account is replete with heroes, villains, and idiots. He asks all the right questions and comes up with most of the answers."
---Joseph L. Galloway, Senior Military Correspondent, Knight Ridder Newspapers, and coauthor of We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young
"Fascinating history that reads like a detective novel. I'm green with envy."
---William Stevenson, author of A Man Called Intrepid
"I have long been fascinated by Yamamoto---his brilliant career as a strategist and as a warrior and his Wagnerian end as those American pilots hunted him to the death. . . . Davis fleshes out the dramatic story in splendid fashion."
---James Brady, Parade Magazine columnist and author of The Coldest War and The Marine
"Lightning Strike is a wonderful contribution to World War II history and a remarkable story, remarkably told, gripping and page-turning from start to finish. Davis has both a great sense of drama and a great lust for the truth."
---Craig Nelson, author of The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid
"An enthralling book that yields new and surprising insights."
---Monika Jenson, former 60 Minutes producer and author of Spite House: The Last Secret of the Vietnam War
"Exquisitely researched and vividly narrated. Lightning Strike puts the reader in the cockpit. . . . Years of confusion shrouding the mission are finally swept away, deftly and conclusively."
---David A. Witts, author of Forgotten War, Forgiven Guilt: The 13th Air Force
"Lightning Strike is a crisp salute to some of the bravest pilots ever to fly in defense of the United States. Compelling and deeply human, by turns triumphant and profoundly sad, Don Davis's book sheds valuable new light on one of World War II's most pivotal fighter missions."
---James D. Hornfischer, author of The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors
"A terrific flying story and a great history, Lightning Strike strips away the legends and the lies to reveal who really shot down Admiral Yamamoto."
"Lightning Strike is an exciting, well-documented, and masterfully written story. Mr. Davis weaves together the various complex personalities and contradictory facts. . . . It was a delightful read for me, a guy who thought he knew all about the [Yamamoto] mission."
---Bob Manhan, executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars
"Lightning Strike is a truly wonderful history of the early days of World War II and the desperate fighting on Guadalcanal. The analysis of the air warfare and the great detail about the men who fought in the air in the Solomon Islands is brilliantly done."
---George Chandler, World War II Ace, Pacific Theater, and co-founder of the Second Yamamoto Mission Association