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Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II Hardcover – March 19, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; F First Edition edition (March 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307464806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307464804
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This meticulously researched piece of WWII naval history spectacularly fleshes out an episode that even naval buffs may have only heard sketched. It is the story of the largest conventional submarines ever built, intended to carry seaplane bombers within striking range of American targets. Those targets changed as the war progressed and Japan’s position regressed, from American cities to the Panama Canal to American fleet anchorages. Plagued by shortages of materials, the slow development of the seaplane bombers, and personality clashes of the officers of the “special submarines,” the I-400s (like so many Axis wonder weapons) never drew Allied blood, let alone having a major effect on the war. However, the Japanese persevered and sent to sea remarkable achievements in naval architecture. The thoroughness with which the author has covered his subject speaks of a Labor of Hercules, although readers who are not fairly serious students of naval history may find the book slow going before the story takes hold of them. --Roland Green

Review

"John Geoghegan's 'Operation Storm' is a fascinating, meticulously researched and deft account of this bizarre chapter."  - The Wall Street Journal

"An exciting narrative of a naval showdown revealing hubris and humility on both sides...Geoghegan has scoured the archives to present a little-touted facet of Japanese naval history that offers a fascinating glimpse into the workings of the Japanese mindset at the endgame of the war." -- Kirkus 
 
"Operation Storm is an exciting page turner comparable to the best of Tom Clancy's techno-thrillers--except this tale happens to be true...Geoghegan has delved deeply into...(the) records to tell a fascinating story." -- Aviation History 

"Aviation historian Geoghegan’s virtuoso research turns up surviving witnesses and obscure documents to corroborate this engrossing story of politics, logistics, and the technological leaps and bounds made during wartime, and the resulting tale is a thrilling take on a little-known aspect of the conflict in the Pacific theater." -- Publishers Weekly 

"A magnificent page-turner that reveals the inside story of a remarkable top secret program, Operation Storm is a powerful, towering achievement." -- David King, bestselling author of Death in the City of Light

“A great historical read, scrupulously researched and brilliantly written. Geoghegan has produced a marvelous insight into the men on both sides who fought a brutal underwater war beneath the waters of the Pacific in WWII.”    --Clive Cussler, bestselling author of the Dirk Pitt and NUMA Series

“The Imperial Navy’s submarine force in WWII is still barely understood in the West. Geoghegan has given us one of the first detailed glimpses into the workings of Japan’s undersea fleet. His detailed coverage of the Imperial Navy’s I-400 program is uniquely interesting.” -- Jonathan Parshall, author of Shattered Sword
 
“Anyone who believes there are no more hidden secrets to World War II will feel differently on seeing this book. I’ve been reading about the war all my life, but knew nothing of the extraordinary weapon whose story John Geoghegan tells here. And tells, I might add, in a riveting, vivid, suspenseful way that makes it hard to stop reading once you’ve begun…it's a remarkable tale.”  -- Adam Hochschild, bestselling historian and author of, To End All Wars and King Leopold’s Ghost

“Just when we were beginning to think that every conceivable World War Two topic worthy of study has already had a shelf’s worth of books devoted to it…John Geoghegan’s Operation Storm combines painstaking research and crisp writing to bring to life, for the first time in English, the fascinating story of Japan’s late war I-400 experimental submarine program.” -- M.G. Sheftall, author of Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze
 
Operation Storm does for Japanese submarines what Das Boot did for U-boats showing the human side of a remarkable story no less extraordinary for being true. Geoghegan's splendid research combined with his writing skill makes Storm a genuine page turner." -- Col. (ret.) Walter J. Boyne, former head of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

"Impressively documented and lucidly written, here is a lively, well-balanced account of
the Imperial Japanese Navy's huge I-400 class submarines and their eleventh hour ‘game-changer’ mission.” --Carl Boyd, co-author of The Japanese Submarine Force and World War II; Professor Emeritus, Old Dominion University; and U.S. Navy submariner 1954-58

Customer Reviews

Great research and extremely riveting read!
david potocnik
It's not the kind of book you want to finish in a couple of long nights but it's a great read.
Kid_Again
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in WWII naval history.
Bob Ferrier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By I. Beavis on March 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had heard of these huge Japanese submarines but had come up short on details. John Geoghegan's book changes this forever. This is a gripping page-turner that I read in one sitting on a flight from LA to Mumbai. It not only provides all the facts but personalizes Yamamoto's vision of a game changing operation to bomb the US East Coast from underwater aircraft carriers.

The story has many twists and turns that keep you wondering, what would have happened if this had been pulled off before the A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The writing is vivid and brings to life both sides of this incredible tale. The book reads like a great espionage novel. What makes it all the more amazing is that it really happened!

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a Japanese technological "Hail Mary " that almost worked.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By lynn murphy on March 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I had seen the documentary on PBS that Mr. Geoghegan produced about this fascinating topic. I don't generally read military history books, but I was so intrigued by this little historical piece of WWII history, that I bought it and read it in a few days. It reads like a novel, in that the characters are so richly developed and the story is so captivating. What makes it even more awesome, is that this is all true!

I could see this book being turned into the next big WWII movie. It would be great on the big screen! Buy it! You won't be disappointed!
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By EdM on March 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent military history reading. Watched the authors pbs special on this topic back in jan. and was waiting for this book to follow. At nearly 400 pages there is no "padding out" as each chapter presents on topic information. The officers and crew of both the I-401 and I-400 are portrayed as the couragous submariners and pilots in this relitively unknown chapter of Japans side of the Pacific War. The book starts on how Admiral Yamamoto proposes the idea and follows through the construction of the subs and the logistical problems that plagued the shipyards to build them. Over the course of the war the subs planned use kept changing, from initially an atlantic attack on Boston/New york to a Pacific attack on California, to finally an attack on the panama canal. The chapters on the Seiran (the planes that were on board) were very interesting as well. Many people find the idea of a giant submarine that acted as an underwater aircraft carrier to be fantastical yet the Japanese had these and very well could have altered the outcome had they been built sooner. This story would make an excellent period movie and could use this book as reference.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ken Earls on April 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
How many books have been written about WW II? How many words have been written and how many conclusions have been offered for untold numbers of war-time situations? It has been nearly sixty eight years since the United States slammed the door shut on World War II and I had little hope that I would discover anything new. Well, was I ever wrong! John Geoghegan has presented us with a masterful piece of work about World War II; about Naval warfare and about submarine warfare. All with details that leave you almost speechless. On several occasions I found myself asking silently, "how did he get that information?" Or "who did he actually speak to to get that little nugget?". The research needed for this book is astounding, incredibly detailed and he obviously drilled deep into families and organizations.

As a person who was a fetus in his second trimester of development when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, I remember little about that World War. However, as a submarine veteran of six years on submarines, including having served nearly one year (1962-63) on the USS Segundo, SS 398, one of the featured submarines in this book, I can attest to the accuracy of Geoghegan's general presentation of life on submarines. This book presents an overall view of the war-time strategy of Japan as well as the details of the life and careers of key Imperial Japanese Navy personnel associated with the Japanese submarines presented in "Operation Storm". Geoghegan interviewed the families of the first and second Commanding Officer of the Segundo, as well as numerous crew members from WW II. From beginning to end, this is a wonderful and compelling book.

This book is a must read for every Submariner, Naval or history buff.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rick Cook on May 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It sounds like war time pulp fiction, but the Japanese I class submarines were very real -- although all things considered the Japanese would have done better to leave them on the pages of the pulps.

The brain child of Admiral Yamamoto just after Pearl Harbor, these giants each carried two or three single-seat bombers (floats for return optional) and had enough range to attack New York or Washington. They were finished too late to perform their mission. As the war evolved so did the plans for their use. From pinprick attacks on American cities, their mission was switched to attacking the Panama Canal in an effort to close the vital lifeline,

Although they were a technological marvel, they weren't very practical. The American crew that brought one back to the US for study after the war found them uncomfortable and cranky boats to handle. Their construction consumed enormous amounts of resources the Japanese couldn't spare. Their fuel demands were insupportable by the time they were finished. And their military valuable was questionable at best

Still, it was a fascinating concept.
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More About the Author

John J. Geoghegan serves as Executive Director of The SILOE Research Institute's Archival Division which reports on unusual inventions that fail in the marketplace despite their innovative nature. Mr Geoghegan coined the term "white elephant technologies" (WETech) to describe these inventions and writes a column about them for the "Huffington Post." Mr. Geoghegan has also written about WETech for the "New York Times" Science section, WIRED, "Smithsonian Air & Space," "Popular Science," "Sail," and the "San Francisco Chronicle" Sunday Magazine among other publications.

"Operation Storm" grew out of a May 2008 cover story Mr. Geoghegan wrote about Japan's I-400-class subs for "Aviation History" magazine. His article also served as the basis for the PBS documentary "Japanese SuperSub," which he shepherded into production serving as Technical Consultant and writer. The "New York Times called "Japanese SuperSub," "consistently... fascinating history." "Japanese SuperSub" was produced by PBS-TV, National Geographic International, and Britain's Channel Five, and continues to be rebroadcast in the U.S., Great Britain, Europe and Japan.

Mr. Geoghegan began his career as a Special Correspondent for the "New York Times," and worked in "Connecticut" magazine's editorial department where he wrote about the state's aerospace and defense industries.