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Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II Paperback – July 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140173897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140173895
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Military historian Leckie covers the fierce battle between American and Japanese troops for the island of Okinawa throughout the spring of 1945.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

On this 50th anniversary of the battle of Okinawa (April to June 1945), we can expect an avalanche of titles about this last major battle of World War II. Okinawa was an epic amphibious-air-sea-land battle the likes of which may never be seen again. The conflict raged for 83 days; 13,000 Americans and 100,000 Japanese perished. Kamikazes sank 34 and damaged 361 U.S. vessels. Both Astor and Leckie are experienced military historians who tell their stories in the words of participants. Astor interviewed numerous veterans and compiled a masterful account of the battle as seen through the eyes of both American and Japanese survivors. He explores the history, training, and morale of the army and marine divisions and demonstrates why each was bound to succeed or fail. On the other hand, Leckie has written a "Monarch Notes" version of the battle that tells us nothing new. For the best history of the Okinawa campaign, readers should consider James and William Belote's Typhoon of Steel: The Battle for Okinawa (1970).?Stanley Itkin, Hillside P.L., New Hyde Park, N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book is a classic, and it was a used book I bought.
TWChop@aol.com
It is difficult, if not impossible to glean helpful information in reference to battle with out them.
D. Blankenship
It's easy to read and highly recommend to WWII history buffs.
iqhope

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on October 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was just a bit disappointed with this particular work. The only words I can use, off the top of my head are "thin" and "shallow." Fortunately, this was a fast and very easy read and was worth the small effort it took to read. As pointed out by other reviewers, there were no maps! It is difficult, if not impossible to glean helpful information in reference to battle with out them. There were many, many aspects of this particular battle which were briefly touched upon, but nothing in depth. Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this work is the fact that while I can complain about lack of information, etc. which is not really all that important, the true wonderful men who fought this battle, I feel, are quite short changed here. They, the men, deserve better. I suppose I can recommend this one if you want a brief overview, but other works should certainly be read and pondered.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on January 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have many of Leckie's books about American history. His books are average reads generally. In this book, Leckie details the last battle of World War II and why Okinawa was picked as an island to be invaded by the Marines and U.S. Army. At a little over two hundred pages, it is an easy read and one can understand the ferocious fight that developed between the Americans and Japanese.
Five chapters of this book deal with the kamikazes and the effects on the U.S. Navy. Only four pages deal with the attack on the Yamato, which I believe was a significant event of the battle for the island. The rest of the book concerns the desperate struggle for the island and the death or capture of the Japanese forces. As a previous reviewer has noted, some of battles for the island have been shorted or left out in this summary history. Leckie does include some interesting details, such as the fact 10,000 Japanese soldiers surrendered rather than commit suicide.
This is an average read about a great battle. Leckie provides a lot of upfront history prior to explaining the great battle over the island, and this might lessen the interest of those who want to read about the subject of the book. Operation Iceberg is a more detailed book about this battle.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on January 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I had always wanted to read a solid analysis and telling of the Okinawa campaign. Unfortunately, the author's book disappoints.
First, there are no maps. This is a fatal error for a battle whose places are unfamiliar and whose units are unknown -- particularly the Japanese. Reference maps of the island and the progress of the campaign would have helped orient the reader and clarified some of the story.
The author highlighted various parts of the battle but left others under explored. While the facets he focused on are satisfactory, I came away wishing that the parts had been tied together to form a more coherent whole. Overall, not bad, but could have been better
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book while my husband (with his family in tow) was stationed at Butler on Okinawa. We lived on Kinser, visited the ER on Lester, shopped at Courtney, Foster & Kadena (ect.), and visited every base on the Island over the 3 years we were there.
I thought Leckies books was both powerful & noble in the telling of the Battle for Okinawa. I could actually SEE the battle as my family & I visited memorials and battle sites. Leckie's book brought it all to life for me.
Here's something of intrest for all those who read Mr. Leckie's book; The Camp Kinser Commissary is built on the site of a former temp. cemetery for those who died in the battle for Sugar Loaf Hill. There wasn't a trip for groceries at Kinser that I wasn't reminded why my Marine was on Oki.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. C Sheehy on April 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
I do believe that Robert Leckie tried to write a comprehensive history of the Battle for Okinawa, but somehow gave way to writing a superficial, grab bag story that tries to tell everything but just bounces around. We can see the history of the area, of Japan's conquest of the island and of the development of the Samurai spirit in Japan. But then what is lacking is any real investigation and substance about what it all means and the larger context for the battle.

A case in point is that we hear a great deal about the attacks of the Kamikaze plans on the American fleet at Okinawa, but just as it seems he is about to go into more detail, Leckie pulls back and goes into some background story or piece about the land battle. Similarly, he focuses extensively on regimental names and assignments but rarely does he go into the suffering that soldiers, marines and sailors experienced during the battle. If he does, it is only on a very think level.

This is a good enough book if you're interested in a superficial history of the Battle, but for people with a genuine interest in it, you're better off elsewhere.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Horn on July 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the fourth book I've read on the battle fought on and around Okinawa. It is the thinnest in length and in content - packs a lot for a little book - but not quite enough for a student of military history. Unfortunately - many good books have come before - and the book just doesn't measure up in comparison.

The author sets a trap for himself if he intended a compact book with all necessary players and events that shaped this battle. He does a good job of tracing the conflicts within the US and Japanese command structures - insolence on the part of Japanese junior officers leading to poor advice/unnecessary slaughter - to outright disobediance of orders on the US side on the part of Douglas MacArthur who unnecessarily invaded inconsequential southern Philippine Islands - rather than divert his military resources to the Okinawa campaign as ordered.

All the pieces for a great read are here - except nothing was developed in enough depth to put the reader THERE. Other books, such as "The Old Breed" and even Samuel Morison's "Two Ocean War" do the battle events greater justice as although more limited in scope (USMC or US Navy centric) the reader of these books is given a more in depth understanding of the parts these entities played in the battle.

Okinawa was essentially 10 wars fought in tandem:

1. The Japanese 'Land War'
2. The Japanese 'Naval War'
3. The Japanese 'Air War'
4. The Okinawa civilians 'war refugees and victims'
5. The US Army 'Land War'
6. The US Army Logistics Effort'
7. The US 'Surface Navy War'
8. The US Navy 'Air War'
9. The US Marine Corps 'Land War'
10.
Read more ›
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