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God's Samurai: Lead Pilot at Pearl Harbor (Brassey's Commemorative Series, Wwii) Hardcover – September 1, 1990
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
Mitsuo Fuchida led the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and served as air operations officer in subsequent Pacific campaigns. Based on interviews that began soon after the war and continued until Fuchida's death in 1976, this biography covers Fuchida's dazzling wartime exploits and provides insight into Japanese naval air tactics. The account of his comedown from war hero to obscure dirt farmer is poignant. The authors compare him to an unattached samurai during this period, searching for "a liege lord to receive his ardent allegiance." Fuchida found a banner for his sword when he converted to Christianity and became a nondenominational evangelist, campaigning in the U.S. and Europe as well as in Japan. The story of his military career, his conversion, his first fumbling efforts as a preacher and his success as an international evangelist make for a story that is alternately exciting, moving and spiritually rewarding. Prange, with Goldstein and Dillon, wrote At Dawn We Slept . Photos. 25,000 first printing; $25,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Commander Mutso Fuchida led a dramatic and historically interesting life. After Pearl Harbor he fought (and survived) the entire naval air war, missed Hiroshima by a single day, and witnessed the surrender ceremonies. He ended his life as a farmer and Christian missionary. This title is another in the saga which sprang from the vast wartime archive compiled by the late Prange. The biography is a joint effort which fails only stylistically, being wooden in tone and occasionally tedious. Fuchida was a good choice for serious study, though, and the work makes a useful part of the series which began with At Dawn We Slept (LJ 11/1/81) . -- Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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While the War is covered in a way that other fighting men will appreciate, many without military experience will find it hard to stomach. People on the homefront don't realize that warriors generally only fight 'on alternate Tuesdays, weather permitting' so to speak. This book does a grand job of showing that- in spite of being one of Japan's foremost strategic thinkers, Fuchida experiences huge amounts of downtime, even before his injury. Like most sailors, he spends his time mostly sailing from one battle to another, and his recollections are colored by this. They also make evident that even important planners can only see the war through one set of eyes- their own. The book touches solidly on Fuchida's personal experiences during the war: the planning and execution of the Pearl Harbor raid, the planning and combat at Midway and the resultant loss of his beloved Akagi, and his injury and recuperation in Japan- to include his acting as a 'freelance adviser' to many of Japan's late-war strategies as he convalesces. It also covers several accidents of Coincidence that ensures that a man determined to die for his Emperor and his Nation lives to see the end of the war. It additionally branches out to include stories and second-hand information gathered from close friends and associates... but it is not nor does it pretend to be an exhaustive coverage of the War. It is simply the reminiscences of a simple fighting man.
This is where the story really begins to take shape. We- for as the reader, we have been trained that 'the action is the good part- give up on our assumptions about the book and begin to see the true subject at hand. We watch Fuchida spiral down, like the damaged aircraft piloted by so many of his friends (and enemies) earlier in the book. However, we also see a man who enjoys the favor of Coincidence so often- both in war and in 'peace'- that he begins to feel something guiding his life that cannot be accounted for by mere chance.
We see his strengths...
He builds up a home for his family- but does so starting with absolutely nothing, as he is forbidden by occupation law from holding any job for which he is qualified. He creates a prosperous farm from empty land without prior experience. He builds a home for his family without any knowledge of carpentry. He is dynamic, successful, and unstoppable in the face of all obstacles.
We see his weakness and indiscretion...
We watch a man, deprived of all the touchstones of a life he once lived, slowly drift into depression that borders on near madness. We watch him take a mistress and father an illegitimate child. We see him plan to and even discuss leaving his wife and children to be with them. We see someone once proud and upright reduced to little more than a hermit and beggar.
Inspiration from another pilot saved Fuchida- as it is the primary subject of the book I will not belabor it here. Suffice to say that one of the Doolittle Raiders taken prisoner by Japan (the bravery at arms of whom Fuchida admired) hands him a small Christian pamphlet one day. This leads to a life-long journey that never really ends, but only winds on and on as he finds new purpose. We see a new-found strength and purpose... one which, to Fuchida, isn't so far removed from his old mission: the salvation of Japan. This time, though, he preaches not the salvation of supremacy, but the Salvation of Jesus.
This isn't to say we see a man perfected. He is still very much human. He still has his failings- but unlike the time he spent as a near-hermit postwar, he faces those failings with conviction and valor. He meets old friends taking on new roles in a new Japan, and not all are accepting. He learns to forgive old enemies, and finds that they forgive him, too.
It is this man that the book is about: warrior, killer, husband, father, adulterer, missionary, publicist, security adviser, farmer, and friend. How do you fit all that into one moment in time?