Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
A Dissenting Opinion
on July 3, 2011
I demurred writing a review of this book due to the nature of the previous one's written here, as I do not agree with them. Having reread the book I have decided to post my own observations, though they seem to differ drastically from previous reviews.
First off those looking for any actual details on the Japanese submarines themselves will be sorely disappointed. Scant technical details and little actual description of the boat's, even the author's own command are barely present. If you do not have any working knowledge of Japanese submarine design of capabilities a trip to google will surely be necessary to get some basic understanding of the tools being used.
While the author does do a good job of critiquing the Japanese Naval Command's lack of understanding of submarine capabilities or tactics, he also repeatedly talks about "what could have happened" had they been employed in the way he thought they should have. Reading the authors assumptions the Japanese submarine fleet could have absolutely devastated any and all American Naval units they encountered. This despite the known lack of concern, training and in some cases downright lazy behavior of Japanese submarines which were repeatedly sunk during the war. The authors "what if" scenarios display the typical Japanese mindset of the day, that everything would work exactly as planned and once again as was so aptly demonstrated during the war the Japanese commands inability to adapt to changing combat environments and tactics led to their intricate plans being thrown into chaos. Throughout the book several downright absurd notions are made, not the least of which is the authors claim RADAR was a Japanese invention as well as a lack of understanding as to his enemies war fighting capabilities. Just as Admiral Yamamoto knew from the beginning, once the United States swung it's economy into full scale war production Japan had no chance of winning the war. In the Atlantic, Admiral Doenitz's much more effective, well trained and more numerous submarines were barely able to put a dent in allied supplies, especially past 1943. Even if they had been better prepared with substantially better technology and weapons the much smaller Japanese fleet never could have achieved what the author claims.
In the beginning of the book the author makes it seem that Japan's unprovoked and unchecked aggression throughout China and Southeast Asia as nothing but a nation responding to the "economic war" being raged by other powers against Japan, which is apparently an excuse for his people to literally rape and kill their way through other countries not to mention using them as subjects for bacteriological weapons. Later he speaks of how Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor was simply to assault a hostile threat to his nation's safety despite the fact at no time the United States had taken any form of provocative action towards the Japanese due to isolationist feelings at home and even then most of the nation was focused on Hitler's rampage through Europe, further on he speaks of the pride he felt as his Kaiten pilots begged on their knees in tears to be fired at an American warship to fulfill their duty to the emperor. Truthfully while this book does offer insight into Japanese submarine operations, blunders and one captain's experience overall it is far more effective in providing a frightening insight into the mindset of a Japanese naval officer of World War 2.