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The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific [NOOK Book]

Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
With the war in Europe winding down in the spring of 1945, the United States turns its vast military resources toward a furious assault on the last great stepping-stone to Japan—the heavily fortified island of Okinawa. The three-month battle in the Pacific theater will feature some of the most vicious combat of the entire Second World War, as American troops confront an enemy that would rather be slaughtered ...
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The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
With the war in Europe winding down in the spring of 1945, the United States turns its vast military resources toward a furious assault on the last great stepping-stone to Japan—the heavily fortified island of Okinawa. The three-month battle in the Pacific theater will feature some of the most vicious combat of the entire Second World War, as American troops confront an enemy that would rather be slaughtered than experience the shame of surrender. Meanwhile, stateside, a different kind of campaign is being waged in secret: the development of a weapon so powerful, not even the scientists who build it know just what they are about to unleash. Colonel Paul Tibbets, one of the finest bomber pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps, is selected to lead the mission to drop the horrific new weapon on a Japanese city. As President Harry S Truman mulls his options and Japanese physician Okiro Hamishita cares for patients at a clinic near Hiroshima, citizens on the home front await the day of reckoning that everyone knows is coming.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

A new front and a decisive campaign opens in Jeff Shaara's stunning World War II epic. With his European and North African trilogy finished, this consummate storyteller moves on to the fierce battles of the Pacific theater. As in No Less Than Victory and other previous novels, Shaara presents the war through the experiences of diverse combatants; in this case including a young Marine, President Harry S. Truman, Admiral Chester Nimitz, a U.S. ground commander, an A-bomb pilot, a Hiroshima physician, and a Japanese general. The Final Storm possesses the immediacy and intensity of close combat.

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR JEFF SHAARA’S ACCLAIMED WORLD WAR II NOVELS
 
The Rising Tide

 
“Wonderful . . . Shaara evokes the agony of desert warfare and the utter chaos of an airborne assault. . . . [A] sprawling, masterful opening act.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Shaara’s research is finely woven into his narrative. . . . Shaara is apparently giving the people what they want—and what they need.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
The Steel Wave
 
“Magnificent . . . Intense, compelling, and thoroughly researched, this is much more than just an excellent historical novel.”—Library Journal
 

“Pounding with fierce action and human drama, and packed with accurately rendered history, The Steel Wave is an eye-opening reminder of the bitterly high price that combat soldiers have always been called upon to pay.”—St. Petersburg Times
 
No Less Than Victory
 
“[An] incisive portrait of war . . . Shaara [is] one of the grand masters of military fiction.—BookPage
 
“Powerful . . . impossible to put down until the very end.”—Huntington News Network
Library Journal
Shaara wrapped up the Civil War trilogy his father had launched with the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Killer Angels, then went on to his own series about World War II—all best sellers. Now that series is itself wrapping up with this fourth title, which centers on the flight of the Enola Gay. Buy wherever Shaara has fans; with a five-city tour.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345526434
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/17/2011
  • Series: World War II
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 27,630
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of A Chain of Thunder, A Blaze of Glory, The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure—two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives again in Tallahassee.

From the Hardcover edition.

Good To Know

Shaara didn't begin writing until he was 42 years old. In our interview, he explains, "My father had been the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Killer Angels, and died never fulfilled, nor successful as an author. I had no inclination to pursue writing at all, but was inspired by the suggestion of filmmaker Ron Maxwell, who suggested I continue the Civil War story my father had begun."

For 24 years, Shaara was a dealer in rare coins and precious metals. "The polar opposite career choice and lifestyle of an author," Shaara admits. "My criminology degree was inspired by a serious drive to find fulfillment as a wildlife officer (a game warden). With my coin business thriving, I never pursued the career."

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    1. Hometown:
      Kalispell, Montana
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 21, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Brunswick, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.S. in Criminology, Florida State University, 1974
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

1. THE SUBMARINER

East China Sea, North of Formosa February 21, 1945 The boredom was overwhelming. Even in the darkness, with a low warm breeze, he felt the restlessness, held the sharp stare at what should be the horizon. It was hidden, of course, black water meeting black sky, no hint of the dawn still several hours away. They had patrolled these waters for more than two weeks, some calling it an adventure, the eagerness the crew felt to be back on the search for the scattered Japanese supply ships. Two months before, they had been assigned to rescue patrol, close to mainland Japan, a vigilant search for downed American pilots, or even the Japanese. But enemy pilots were very few now, the Japanese air force so depleted, or more likely, so wary of the superiority of their enemy that they seemed to avoid dogfights with the American fighters completely. He hadn’t paid much attention to that kind of talk, the newsy communications that filtered down through the chain of command. He was much happier thinking about the American pilots they had rescued, his crew cheerfully hauling aboard coughing breathless men, soaked and shivering, desperately happy to be alive. It was a genuine thrill to rescue a pilot, every sailor feeling that special pride, more so if the man happened to be from a carrier, a naval pilot, and so, one of their own. The pilots were more than just grateful, and in their momentary euphoria they made loud promises of lavish gifts, nights on the town for everyone aboard the sub. The promises usually included a rendezvous in Honolulu or even San Francisco, talk that every crewman enjoyed. The job had been made worthwhile by the beaming gratitude of the men they had saved. It didn’t hurt either that as the rescued pilots were returned to their aircraft carriers, they were often exchanged for tubs of ice cream, a luxury few submarines carried on their own.

The pilots of the newer American fighters had found that their planes were considerably more agile, and significantly more armored than the legendary Zero, and so the fights grew increasingly one-sided. After long months of terrific casualties among its pilots, Japan seemed to pull the Zeroes out of the sky, holding them back for some purpose no one thought much about. Now the rescues were usually B-29 crews, more likely the result of some mechanical failure in the air than the direct result of combat. Though the B-29 was the largest and most modern bomber of the war, the plane could be a curse to fly. The B-29 had chronic problems with the engines: overheating, flameouts, which might be just as deadly as an accurate strike of an enemy anti-aircraft gun.

The sub rolled slightly to the side, riding a crossing swell, the captain caught off guard, a slight stumble against the steel of the bulkhead. All right, stay awake. But the empty seas were intoxicating, dreamlike, and he thought of the hard bunk down below. Not yet. After dawn you can catch a few winks, but right now your job is up here.

He never fully trusted the instincts of his younger officers, though he knew that his exec, Fred Gordon, was a good man, would likely have his own boat one day, and maybe sooner than the captain preferred. Combat losses to the submarine crews weren’t catastrophic, not compared to many of the aircrews above them. Many of the men simply rotated out after several months at sea, fatigue playing a huge part in their decreasing efficiency. But there were combat losses, and the officers who came from Annapolis seemed to feel that far more deeply than their crews. He thought of the Tang, sunk a few months before, could see the face of Ed Beaumont. Never thought you’d be the one, Eddie. Lucky in love, lucky in poker, and your fish gets sunk by your own damn torpedo. Happens I guess, and by God you took a few Jap bastards with you. Something to be said for that, I suppose.

The Tang had gone down in the midst of a chaotic fight in October the year before, after plowing straight through a Japanese convoy. Her skipper, Dick O’Kane, had already gained a reputation for pure audacity and brilliant success, having sunk nearly two dozen Japanese ships. But on that one night, after causing havoc among a Japanese merchant fleet, the Tang had been struck by one of her own torpedoes, some kind of malfunction that sent the torpedo on a circular course. It was a horrific dose of irony to a crew that had poured so much devastation into their enemy.

They say the skipper survived, he thought. Didn’t know O’Kane too well, but Eddie loved him. Scuttlebutt says O’Kane will probably get a Medal of Honor, but I doubt it matters much now. Sure as hell doesn’t matter to the men who went down with the damn ship.

The communications intercepts indicated that at least a dozen of the Tang’s crewmen had survived and were being held in Japan. From all he had heard, his friend Beaumont was not among them. So what’s worse, he thought. If it’s up to me, I’d rather have a lung full of water than some Jap bastard beating the crap out of me every five minutes. That’s gonna be the best day of this damn war, the day we can spring our boys from the Jap POW camps. It’ll happen, sooner or later. He slapped the steel beside him. How much more can those bastards throw at us? No ships out here, no convoys anymore. The Japs have gotta feed their people, and every piece of their army needs gasoline and oil, and whatever else it takes to keep going. That’s my job, isn’t it? Send that stuff to the bottom. Hell, here I am, a boatload of torpedoes, and a crew full of piss and vinegar. He stared hard into the darkness. So where the hell are you?

The navy had ordered many of the submarines to keep close to the Japanese mainland, still on rescue patrol, the overwhelming number of bombing missions still a priority, and those subs would continue to pluck unfortunate aircrews out of the water. Some performed the task within clear sight of the Japanese coastline, a risky maneuver, made more so by the vigilance of Japanese patrol boats, who sought the same prize. The game was a vicious one, some of the subs engaging the Japanese in firefights on the surface, in water too shallow for diving. Whether rumors and reports of outrageous atrocities were true—all that talk of torture and beheadings by their Japanese captors—the determination to save the downed fliers increased with every bombing mission.

As Japanese convoys seemed to scatter into oblivion, speculation increased through the American command that the Japanese were in desperate straits, food and fuel being parceled out to the military in a trickle, and even less to the civilians. The Americans began to understand how seriously they were strangling the Japanese homeland. The search for seagoing targets became even more intense. Despite the ongoing need for air rescue patrols, many of the subs were ordered away from Japan, back toward the shipping lanes around Formosa and the Philippines, where the Japanese freighters had once traveled unmolested. The greatest challenge now was for the sub commanders to find a target.

The submarines had played a far greater role than most back home would ever know, very few glowing reports in the newspapers, no flow of interviews reaching the home front in glamorous dispatches from men like correspondent Ernie Pyle. As the navy began to be more successful in reaching and breaking the flow of Japanese supplies, the subs borrowed a tactic from the Germans, wolf packs, prowling the seas along the Chinese coast, out through the islands to the east, and then around mainland Japan itself. The Japanese had no effective counter, and the losses to their merchant shipping had been devastating. Their convoys had mostly stopped, and the Allies knew from secret code intercepts and the firsthand accounts of the submarine patrols that the Japanese were quite simply running out of ships. Even the Japanese warships had ceased to be a major threat. Nearly all the great naval battles in the central Pacific had been decidedly one-sided affairs. From Midway to Leyte Gulf, Truk Lagoon and the Coral Sea, the superiority of American carrier-based planes and the warships they supported had crushed the Japanese naval forces, forces that now mostly remained within the safety of their own ports. But Japanese submarines still patrolled the sea lanes, searching for targets that were far too numerous for the Americans to completely shield. The Americans knew that the Japanese technology in radar did not measure up, but their torpedoes were superior, a game of catch-up the Americans were just now realizing. Japanese submarine crews were well trained, considered elite units. The American sub commanders knew that it was their counterparts who had the tools and the skills to strike back, their stealth making them the most formidable foe the Japanese could still bring to the fight.

The sleepiness had gone, a second wind the captain usually felt after midnight. He had gone below for only a brief respite, a quick trip to the head and a handful of chocolate bars. The crew was as alert as he was, the late-night shift the best men he had.

He pulled the wrapping from a piece of chocolate, tossed it down the hatch. No trash overboard, his own rule. They would never leave anything behind, no clue that the Americans had ever been here. A candy carton or a piece of paper floating on the waves might be the best stroke of luck a Japanese lookout could have.

The air was still warm and thick, the light breeze barely any relief. He stood upright in the conning tower, stretching his back, the warm chocolate leaving a sweet film in his mouth. There was sweat inside his shirt, and he thought, after daylight, I’ll get a shower. He laughed at the thought, his admonition to the rest of the crew. No one showers before the cook. I’m not going to smell anyone’s BO in my damn pancakes.

A sudden swirl of wind engulfed him in the stink of diesel exhaust and he fought the cough, the breeze returning, carrying the exhaust away. The salt spray came now, another shift of the wind, catching the white trail of wake. Dammit, he thought, make up your mind. These are supposed to be trade winds, blowing in one damn direction. So they tell me. Idiot weathermen. Come out of your comfortable office at Pearl and see this for yourself. This damn ocean makes up its own mind, and takes the wind with it. The sub rolled again in a slow, steady rhythm, riding the soft swells, the seas still mostly calm. He glanced to one side, the shimmer of reflected moonlight, a thin sliver coming up low to the east. He judged the size of the wake, thought, twelve knots. We’ll keep that up for a while. No reason to worry about getting anywhere fast. No place to go. He thought of the binoculars around his neck, useless. For now the best eyes the sub had were down below, the careful watch of the radar man, Hockley, a boy who seemed to be good at only one thing. Fortunately for the crew, that single talent was spotting the enemy on the radar screen, separating out the noise and blips of whatever might interfere with those blips that actually mattered. He glanced at the microphone to one side. No, if there’s something to say, they’ll let me know. As he kept his stare on the invisible horizon, there was a familiar twist growing inside of him, anxiousness, the silence unnerving. How in hell can we be the only people out here? There’s not even an American fish anywhere close by, not that anyone told me about. The Queenfish is well south of us, pretty sure about that. The Grouper and the Pompon are closer, but not that close. They’re doing the same thing I’m doing, wondering where the hell the Japs have gone. Any one of our boys gets near us, I know damn well that we’ll pick him up first. They know it too. He laughed quietly, thought of the ongoing bet he had with several of the sub captains. We’ll spot you before you spot us. One more thing that kid down there is good at. The sub’s name lingered, Pompon. That damn Bogley already owes me fifty bucks. I’ll meet you at Guam, Captain, and you better fork it over. You don’t want me broadcasting all over hell and gone how I snuck up on you from astern within five hundred yards and scared hell out of your sonar guy.

He turned, scanned the ocean in all directions. This is one big damn bunch of water, and somebody else has to think this is a good place to be. I’d be a lot happier if I had somebody to chase. Beats hell out of wandering around in the dark. He usually took to the open air of the bridge when the night came, and the other officers knew to leave him alone, unless he asked someone to stand with him. They’ll think I’m a real jerk if I bitch about my quarters, he thought. I’ve got the luxury suite on this bucket, and those boys have to sleep a dozen to a berth, and share each other’s farts and BO in the process. He glanced below, faint red light glowing up through a haze of cigarette smoke. No one bitches, at least not so I can hear ’em. And my exec hasn’t said anything. I guess we’re a happy lot. Yo ho ho. That’s it. We ought to put up a Jolly Roger. Nah, I bet the Japs wouldn’t have the first idea what the hell that was. I’m guessing they don’t watch Errol Flynn movies in Nipland. The playfulness was forced, and he knew that, was still feeling the uneasiness, the itchy tension. Dammit, something just isn’t . . . right. Too much ocean and too much of nothing. Down below, the lower level of the open-air bridge, the anti-aircraft guns were unmanned. No Jap planes on patrol out here, he thought, not at night. That’s for sure. He focused, blew away the thoughts from his brain, stared hard at the black silence. Okay, Captain, you better let them keep all that cockiness in those offices at Pearl. All it takes is one lucky Jap bastard to drop his eggs too close to us, or spot us underwater. What idiot thought that painting our subs black would make them invisible? This damn water is so clear, a black sub looks like some big damn sea monster. Might as well have been sending up flares, to make it easier for them to spot us. Black. How many shouting matches did Admiral Lockwood have to have with those War Department morons before someone figured out to paint these things to match the damn water? Gray’s not perfect, but sure as hell beats black. He glanced up, the tip of the two periscopes above him. And then someone decides we should paint the subs pink. Pink for God’s sake. Supposed to blend in with the ocean. I haven’t sailed this tub through one patch of pink water. But what the hell do I know? I’m just out here fighting the enemy. Those engineers and design folks have the tough job, figuring out how much cream to put in their coffee. Now they say we sank every damn ship the Japs have. I’m not believing any of that, not for one second. Somebody’s gotta know we’re out here, and maybe they’re watching us, some smart damn destroyer captain shadowing us. He scanned the blackness, thought, okay, stop that. Hockley would have raised hell down there if anything was around us. And you don’t need to show anybody on this crew a case of the jitters. Most of them are too young, too green to know just how human I am. A sub captain’s got ice in his blood, yeah. That’s it. Ice. Nerves like steel wire. That’s what they’re told anyway. That’s how they think I got this job.

He thought about that, wasn’t really sure how he got the job. Yep, I wanted it. It was a plum job, of course, a sub commander ranking among the navy’s most elite. Nearly all of us are Annapolis grads, the elite, by damned. Yeah, that was tough, worth it for sure. My parents were all gooey about it, my old man bragging to his neighbors. Hell, why not? His boy did good, not like some of those clowns I grew up with. He recalled the graduation with a smile, hats thrown in the air, all the slaps on the back, loud, boisterous calls for what was next, all that glory. But that was nearly a decade before Pearl Harbor, and nobody knew anything about what was next. Ask my buddy on the Tang. Or those poor bastards on the Growler, or the Swordfish. Glory, my ass.

“Captain. Radar reports a sighting, sir.”

The noise jolted him, the voice of Gordon, his exec. He grabbed the microphone, held it to his mouth, pressed the button.

“What is it, Gordy?”

“Sighting at two four zero, moving . . . um . . . zero four zero . . . looks like ten knots.”

It was a bad habit Gordon had, that first burst of excitement, tossing out estimates before he had the precise numbers.

“Slow down, Lieutenant. What’s their range?”

“Sorry, sir. Seventeen thousand yards.” He paused. “Ten knots confirmed.”

“Stand by, Gordy. Send Fallon up here.”

“Aye, sir.”

He glanced toward the compass, his sub moving almost due north, and he stared out toward the direction of the sighting, behind him to the left. Ten miles. Nothing to look at yet. But he’s heading roughly toward us, might cross behind us. Ten knots is pretty damn slow. Must be a real piece of junk. He had a sudden flash, his mind fixing on a new thought. Or he’s on the prowl, looking for something. Yep, that’s a whole lot better. If we can get the jump on a Jap warship, that’s a whole lot bigger prize than sinking some tub full of rice.

The young seaman, Fallon, rose up through the hatch, a nineteen-year-old who had a knack for precision, and the sharp eyes to match. Fallon stood stiffly, said in a low whisper, “Sir?”

“Richie, man the TBT. We’re too far away to see anything, but that’s about to change.”

“Aye, sir.”

Fallon turned close to the high-power binoculars, affixed to the railing of the conning tower, what the navy called the Target Bearing Transmitter. The binoculars were connected electronically to the instruments below, part of the system that impressed every officer in the fleet. It was called the TDC, for Torpedo Data Computer, a bulky piece of equipment near the radar station that, in combination with the radar system, could compute a target’s speed and heading, which would translate that information for the precise heading and speed the sub should maintain when firing torpedoes. The captain never pretended to know how it worked, and as long as he had crewmen who knew how to operate the thing, that was fine with him. They had already been credited with sinking seven Japanese merchant ships, and if the man who invented the TDC wanted a pat on the back for that, the captain was ready to offer it.

He looked at the glow on the hands of his watch.

“Three-thirty, Richie. We’ve got maybe two hours before visual. I’m not waiting.”

He reached for the microphone, pressed the key.

“Helm. Left full rudder, go to heading two seven zero, maintain fifteen knots.”

“Aye, sir. Left full rudder, two seven zero, at one five knots.”

“Lieutenant Gordon, secure the radar.”

The exec’s voice came back immediately, Gordon expecting the order.

“Done, sir.”

No need for anyone to pick up our signal, he thought. Jap equipment isn’t too hot, but they can sure as hell pick up a radar beam. He settled back against the steel of the bridge’s railing. Now, we wait. As long as they don’t change course, we’ll run right into them.

The sub was in full turn now, and he braced himself against the steel, the young seaman doing the same. He ignored the compass, knew that the helm would get it right. Done this too many times. So, who the hell’s out there? Is he alone? Too far away now, but we’ll know pretty soon. We’ll keep the radar off for twenty minutes, then give another quick look. Hockley’s got a good eye, can pick out whatever the hell it is in a flash. Japs can’t home in on us if we’re quick. I like good surprises, not bad ones. He stared out toward the unseen vessel, his thoughts beginning to race. What the hell are you, and where the hell do you think you’re going? This is my damn ocean, pal.

From the Hardcover edition.

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First Chapter

The Final Storm

A Novel of the War in the Pacific
By Jeff Shaara

Random House Large Print

Copyright © 2011 Jeff Shaara
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780739378205

1. THE SUBMARINER

East China Sea, North of Formosa February 21, 1945 The boredom was overwhelming. Even in the darkness, with a low warm breeze, he felt the restlessness, held the sharp stare at what should be the horizon. It was hidden, of course, black water meeting black sky, no hint of the dawn still several hours away. They had patrolled these waters for more than two weeks, some calling it an adventure, the eagerness the crew felt to be back on the search for the scattered Japanese supply ships. Two months before, they had been assigned to rescue patrol, close to mainland Japan, a vigilant search for downed American pilots, or even the Japanese. But enemy pilots were very few now, the Japanese air force so depleted, or more likely, so wary of the superiority of their enemy that they seemed to avoid dogfights with the American fighters completely. He hadn’t paid much attention to that kind of talk, the newsy communications that filtered down through the chain of command. He was much happier thinking about the American pilots they had rescued, his crew cheerfully hauling aboard coughing breathless men, soaked and shivering, desperately happy to be alive. It was a genuine thrill to rescue a pilot, every sailor feeling that special pride, more so if the man happened to be from a carrier, a naval pilot, and so, one of their own. The pilots were more than just grateful, and in their momentary euphoria they made loud promises of lavish gifts, nights on the town for everyone aboard the sub. The promises usually included a rendezvous in Honolulu or even San Francisco, talk that every crewman enjoyed. The job had been made worthwhile by the beaming gratitude of the men they had saved. It didn’t hurt either that as the rescued pilots were returned to their aircraft carriers, they were often exchanged for tubs of ice cream, a luxury few submarines carried on their own.

The pilots of the newer American fighters had found that their planes were considerably more agile, and significantly more armored than the legendary Zero, and so the fights grew increasingly one-sided. After long months of terrific casualties among its pilots, Japan seemed to pull the Zeroes out of the sky, holding them back for some purpose no one thought much about. Now the rescues were usually B-29 crews, more likely the result of some mechanical failure in the air than the direct result of combat. Though the B-29 was the largest and most modern bomber of the war, the plane could be a curse to fly. The B-29 had chronic problems with the engines: overheating, flameouts, which might be just as deadly as an accurate strike of an enemy anti-aircraft gun.

The sub rolled slightly to the side, riding a crossing swell, the captain caught off guard, a slight stumble against the steel of the bulkhead. All right, stay awake. But the empty seas were intoxicating, dreamlike, and he thought of the hard bunk down below. Not yet. After dawn you can catch a few winks, but right now your job is up here.

He never fully trusted the instincts of his younger officers, though he knew that his exec, Fred Gordon, was a good man, would likely have his own boat one day, and maybe sooner than the captain preferred. Combat losses to the submarine crews weren’t catastrophic, not compared to many of the aircrews above them. Many of the men simply rotated out after several months at sea, fatigue playing a huge part in their decreasing efficiency. But there were combat losses, and the officers who came from Annapolis seemed to feel that far more deeply than their crews. He thought of the Tang, sunk a few months before, could see the face of Ed Beaumont. Never thought you’d be the one, Eddie. Lucky in love, lucky in poker, and your fish gets sunk by your own damn torpedo. Happens I guess, and by God you took a few Jap bastards with you. Something to be said for that, I suppose.

The Tang had gone down in the midst of a chaotic fight in October the year before, after plowing straight through a Japanese convoy. Her skipper, Dick O’Kane, had already gained a reputation for pure audacity and brilliant success, having sunk nearly two dozen Japanese ships. But on that one night, after causing havoc among a Japanese merchant fleet, the Tang had been struck by one of her own torpedoes, some kind of malfunction that sent the torpedo on a circular course. It was a horrific dose of irony to a crew that had poured so much devastation into their enemy.

They say the skipper survived, he thought. Didn’t know O’Kane too well, but Eddie loved him. Scuttlebutt says O’Kane will probably get a Medal of Honor, but I doubt it matters much now. Sure as hell doesn’t matter to the men who went down with the damn ship.

The communications intercepts indicated that at least a dozen of the Tang’s crewmen had survived and were being held in Japan. From all he had heard, his friend Beaumont was not among them. So what’s worse, he thought. If it’s up to me, I’d rather have a lung full of water than some Jap bastard beating the crap out of me every five minutes. That’s gonna be the best day of this damn war, the day we can spring our boys from the Jap POW camps. It’ll happen, sooner or later. He slapped the steel beside him. How much more can those bastards throw at us? No ships out here, no convoys anymore. The Japs have gotta feed their people, and every piece of their army needs gasoline and oil, and whatever else it takes to keep going. That’s my job, isn’t it? Send that stuff to the bottom. Hell, here I am, a boatload of torpedoes, and a crew full of piss and vinegar. He stared hard into the darkness. So where the hell are you?





The navy had ordered many of the submarines to keep close to the Japanese mainland, still on rescue patrol, the overwhelming number of bombing missions still a priority, and those subs would continue to pluck unfortunate aircrews out of the water. Some performed the task within clear sight of the Japanese coastline, a risky maneuver, made more so by the vigilance of Japanese patrol boats, who sought the same prize. The game was a vicious one, some of the subs engaging the Japanese in firefights on the surface, in water too shallow for diving. Whether rumors and reports of outrageous atrocities were true—all that talk of torture and beheadings by their Japanese captors—the determination to save the downed fliers increased with every bombing mission.

As Japanese convoys seemed to scatter into oblivion, speculation increased through the American command that the Japanese were in desperate straits, food and fuel being parceled out to the military in a trickle, and even less to the civilians. The Americans began to understand how seriously they were strangling the Japanese homeland. The search for seagoing targets became even more intense. Despite the ongoing need for air rescue patrols, many of the subs were ordered away from Japan, back toward the shipping lanes around Formosa and the Philippines, where the Japanese freighters had once traveled unmolested. The greatest challenge now was for the sub commanders to find a target.





The submarines had played a far greater role than most back home would ever know, very few glowing reports in the newspapers, no flow of interviews reaching the home front in glamorous dispatches from men like correspondent Ernie Pyle. As the navy began to be more successful in reaching and breaking the flow of Japanese supplies, the subs borrowed a tactic from the Germans, wolf packs, prowling the seas along the Chinese coast, out through the islands to the east, and then around mainland Japan itself. The Japanese had no effective counter, and the losses to their merchant shipping had been devastating. Their convoys had mostly stopped, and the Allies knew from secret code intercepts and the firsthand accounts of the submarine patrols that the Japanese were quite simply running out of ships. Even the Japanese warships had ceased to be a major threat. Nearly all the great naval battles in the central Pacific had been decidedly one-sided affairs. From Midway to Leyte Gulf, Truk Lagoon and the Coral Sea, the superiority of American carrier-based planes and the warships they supported had crushed the Japanese naval forces, forces that now mostly remained within the safety of their own ports. But Japanese submarines still patrolled the sea lanes, searching for targets that were far too numerous for the Americans to completely shield. The Americans knew that the Japanese technology in radar did not measure up, but their torpedoes were superior, a game of catch-up the Americans were just now realizing. Japanese submarine crews were well trained, considered elite units. The American sub commanders knew that it was their counterparts who had the tools and the skills to strike back, their stealth making them the most formidable foe the Japanese could still bring to the fight.





The sleepiness had gone, a second wind the captain usually felt after midnight. He had gone below for only a brief respite, a quick trip to the head and a handful of chocolate bars. The crew was as alert as he was, the late-night shift the best men he had.

He pulled the wrapping from a piece of chocolate, tossed it down the hatch. No trash overboard, his own rule. They would never leave anything behind, no clue that the Americans had ever been here. A candy carton or a piece of paper floating on the waves might be the best stroke of luck a Japanese lookout could have.

The air was still warm and thick, the light breeze barely any relief. He stood upright in the conning tower, stretching his back, the warm chocolate leaving a sweet film in his mouth. There was sweat inside his shirt, and he thought, after daylight, I’ll get a shower. He laughed at the thought, his admonition to the rest of the crew. No one showers before the cook. I’m not going to smell anyone’s BO in my damn pancakes.

A sudden swirl of wind engulfed him in the stink of diesel exhaust and he fought the cough, the breeze returning, carrying the exhaust away. The salt spray came now, another shift of the wind, catching the white trail of wake. Dammit, he thought, make up your mind. These are supposed to be trade winds, blowing in one damn direction. So they tell me. Idiot weathermen. Come out of your comfortable office at Pearl and see this for yourself. This damn ocean makes up its own mind, and takes the wind with it. The sub rolled again in a slow, steady rhythm, riding the soft swells, the seas still mostly calm. He glanced to one side, the shimmer of reflected moonlight, a thin sliver coming up low to the east. He judged the size of the wake, thought, twelve knots. We’ll keep that up for a while. No reason to worry about getting anywhere fast. No place to go. He thought of the binoculars around his neck, useless. For now the best eyes the sub had were down below, the careful watch of the radar man, Hockley, a boy who seemed to be good at only one thing. Fortunately for the crew, that single talent was spotting the enemy on the radar screen, separating out the noise and blips of whatever might interfere with those blips that actually mattered. He glanced at the microphone to one side. No, if there’s something to say, they’ll let me know. As he kept his stare on the invisible horizon, there was a familiar twist growing inside of him, anxiousness, the silence unnerving. How in hell can we be the only people out here? There’s not even an American fish anywhere close by, not that anyone told me about. The Queenfish is well south of us, pretty sure about that. The Grouper and the Pompon are closer, but not that close. They’re doing the same thing I’m doing, wondering where the hell the Japs have gone. Any one of our boys gets near us, I know damn well that we’ll pick him up first. They know it too. He laughed quietly, thought of the ongoing bet he had with several of the sub captains. We’ll spot you before you spot us. One more thing that kid down there is good at. The sub’s name lingered, Pompon. That damn Bogley already owes me fifty bucks. I’ll meet you at Guam, Captain, and you better fork it over. You don’t want me broadcasting all over hell and gone how I snuck up on you from astern within five hundred yards and scared hell out of your sonar guy.

He turned, scanned the ocean in all directions. This is one big damn bunch of water, and somebody else has to think this is a good place to be. I’d be a lot happier if I had somebody to chase. Beats hell out of wandering around in the dark. He usually took to the open air of the bridge when the night came, and the other officers knew to leave him alone, unless he asked someone to stand with him. They’ll think I’m a real jerk if I bitch about my quarters, he thought. I’ve got the luxury suite on this bucket, and those boys have to sleep a dozen to a berth, and share each other’s farts and BO in the process. He glanced below, faint red light glowing up through a haze of cigarette smoke. No one bitches, at least not so I can hear ’em. And my exec hasn’t said anything. I guess we’re a happy lot. Yo ho ho. That’s it. We ought to put up a Jolly Roger. Nah, I bet the Japs wouldn’t have the first idea what the hell that was. I’m guessing they don’t watch Errol Flynn movies in Nipland. The playfulness was forced, and he knew that, was still feeling the uneasiness, the itchy tension. Dammit, something just isn’t . . . right. Too much ocean and too much of nothing. Down below, the lower level of the open-air bridge, the anti-aircraft guns were unmanned. No Jap planes on patrol out here, he thought, not at night. That’s for sure. He focused, blew away the thoughts from his brain, stared hard at the black silence. Okay, Captain, you better let them keep all that cockiness in those offices at Pearl. All it takes is one lucky Jap bastard to drop his eggs too close to us, or spot us underwater. What idiot thought that painting our subs black would make them invisible? This damn water is so clear, a black sub looks like some big damn sea monster. Might as well have been sending up flares, to make it easier for them to spot us. Black. How many shouting matches did Admiral Lockwood have to have with those War Department morons before someone figured out to paint these things to match the damn water? Gray’s not perfect, but sure as hell beats black. He glanced up, the tip of the two periscopes above him. And then someone decides we should paint the subs pink. Pink for God’s sake. Supposed to blend in with the ocean. I haven’t sailed this tub through one patch of pink water. But what the hell do I know? I’m just out here fighting the enemy. Those engineers and design folks have the tough job, figuring out how much cream to put in their coffee. Now they say we sank every damn ship the Japs have. I’m not believing any of that, not for one second. Somebody’s gotta know we’re out here, and maybe they’re watching us, some smart damn destroyer captain shadowing us. He scanned the blackness, thought, okay, stop that. Hockley would have raised hell down there if anything was around us. And you don’t need to show anybody on this crew a case of the jitters. Most of them are too young, too green to know just how human I am. A sub captain’s got ice in his blood, yeah. That’s it. Ice. Nerves like steel wire. That’s what they’re told anyway. That’s how they think I got this job.

He thought about that, wasn’t really sure how he got the job. Yep, I wanted it. It was a plum job, of course, a sub commander ranking among the navy’s most elite. Nearly all of us are Annapolis grads, the elite, by damned. Yeah, that was tough, worth it for sure. My parents were all gooey about it, my old man bragging to his neighbors. Hell, why not? His boy did good, not like some of those clowns I grew up with. He recalled the graduation with a smile, hats thrown in the air, all the slaps on the back, loud, boisterous calls for what was next, all that glory. But that was nearly a decade before Pearl Harbor, and nobody knew anything about what was next. Ask my buddy on the Tang. Or those poor bastards on the Growler, or the Swordfish. Glory, my ass.

“Captain. Radar reports a sighting, sir.”

The noise jolted him, the voice of Gordon, his exec. He grabbed the microphone, held it to his mouth, pressed the button.

“What is it, Gordy?”

“Sighting at two four zero, moving . . . um . . . zero four zero . . . looks like ten knots.”

It was a bad habit Gordon had, that first burst of excitement, tossing out estimates before he had the precise numbers.

“Slow down, Lieutenant. What’s their range?”

“Sorry, sir. Seventeen thousand yards.” He paused. “Ten knots confirmed.”

“Stand by, Gordy. Send Fallon up here.”

“Aye, sir.”

He glanced toward the compass, his sub moving almost due north, and he stared out toward the direction of the sighting, behind him to the left. Ten miles. Nothing to look at yet. But he’s heading roughly toward us, might cross behind us. Ten knots is pretty damn slow. Must be a real piece of junk. He had a sudden flash, his mind fixing on a new thought. Or he’s on the prowl, looking for something. Yep, that’s a whole lot better. If we can get the jump on a Jap warship, that’s a whole lot bigger prize than sinking some tub full of rice.

The young seaman, Fallon, rose up through the hatch, a nineteen-year-old who had a knack for precision, and the sharp eyes to match. Fallon stood stiffly, said in a low whisper, “Sir?”

“Richie, man the TBT. We’re too far away to see anything, but that’s about to change.”

“Aye, sir.”

Fallon turned close to the high-power binoculars, affixed to the railing of the conning tower, what the navy called the Target Bearing Transmitter. The binoculars were connected electronically to the instruments below, part of the system that impressed every officer in the fleet. It was called the TDC, for Torpedo Data Computer, a bulky piece of equipment near the radar station that, in combination with the radar system, could compute a target’s speed and heading, which would translate that information for the precise heading and speed the sub should maintain when firing torpedoes. The captain never pretended to know how it worked, and as long as he had crewmen who knew how to operate the thing, that was fine with him. They had already been credited with sinking seven Japanese merchant ships, and if the man who invented the TDC wanted a pat on the back for that, the captain was ready to offer it.

He looked at the glow on the hands of his watch.

“Three-thirty, Richie. We’ve got maybe two hours before visual. I’m not waiting.”

He reached for the microphone, pressed the key.

“Helm. Left full rudder, go to heading two seven zero, maintain fifteen knots.”

“Aye, sir. Left full rudder, two seven zero, at one five knots.”

“Lieutenant Gordon, secure the radar.”

The exec’s voice came back immediately, Gordon expecting the order.

“Done, sir.”

No need for anyone to pick up our signal, he thought. Jap equipment isn’t too hot, but they can sure as hell pick up a radar beam. He settled back against the steel of the bridge’s railing. Now, we wait. As long as they don’t change course, we’ll run right into them.

The sub was in full turn now, and he braced himself against the steel, the young seaman doing the same. He ignored the compass, knew that the helm would get it right. Done this too many times. So, who the hell’s out there? Is he alone? Too far away now, but we’ll know pretty soon. We’ll keep the radar off for twenty minutes, then give another quick look. Hockley’s got a good eye, can pick out whatever the hell it is in a flash. Japs can’t home in on us if we’re quick. I like good surprises, not bad ones. He stared out toward the unseen vessel, his thoughts beginning to race. What the hell are you, and where the hell do you think you’re going? This is my damn ocean, pal.


From the Hardcover edition.

Continues...

Excerpted from The Final Storm by Jeff Shaara Copyright © 2011 by Jeff Shaara. Excerpted by permission of Random House Large Print, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 99 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Light At the End of the Storm

    This story of the last two years of the war in the Pacific is embodied in the brutal struggle for Okinawa and the fateful use of the two atomic bombs to end the war with Japan. The voices in this historical novel are representative of those who were there. The commanders on both sides as well as the average fighting men are represented by major characters in the book. The strongest story follows Marine Private Clay Adams through the horrific fighting on Okinawa. As in any book of history, it is not the final outcome that fascinates us, but the journey taken by so many to reach that point. The book follows the facts while providing personal touches through narration and dialog. The facts can be at once brutal and fascinating, mysterious and very enlightening, especially to a generation once removed from the world enveloping violence and the immediacy of living day to day. Looking into the past can at times make us sad. Do we really want to see how our parents generation had to live? Do we truly want to face what they had to face? Do we have the strength, let alone the wisdom to understand and learn from them. We think we want to know what life was like for them, who they were, what they experienced. But we must be aware that the past is often a Pandora's box with some very dark corners. When the truth is out in the light, the good and the bad, the pleasures and the unimaginable pain, the wonder and all the horrors may come with it. This is an excellent book for those who are looking for a realistic novel of the brutal war in the Pacific. Provided for review by the well read folks at Library Thing.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    The stories enmeshed in this book grabbed me from the first chapter. Shaara writes with such clarity that I was extremely emotionally involved with the story. Very few of us will ever understand how horrific this war was, but Shaara's story-telling abilities opened a window for me. There were so many moments when I felt I was actually there.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWII, and also to anyone who has difficulty accepting the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Reading about the battle of Okinawa from both the Japanese and America perspective should settle any doubts.

    I received this ARC from Goodreads' First Reads program, and was not required to give a positive review.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Another powerful work by Jeff Shaara

    The final storm is the fourth book by Mr. Shaara dealing with the Second World War. It traces the end of the war in the pacific and the post war path of the major players. It covers the invasion of Okinawa as seen from several viewpoints. The American side is represented by a front line Marine rifleman and by the operational commander Admiral Nimitz. The Japanese side is portrayed by General Mitsuru Ushijima who commanded the defending forces on the island. The description of the ground combat is brutal and explicit. The fighting on Okinawa resulted in the largest number of killed and wounded in the Pacific Theater. Japan lost over 100,000 troops with very few being captured and the US had more than 50,000 killed or wounded. In the mist of this horrible fighting thousands of local civilians were killed or committed suicide in the belief that they would be killed by the invading US forces. The final section of the novel deals with the deployment and use of two nuclear weapons against cities in Japan. This is seen from the viewpoint of President Truman and Colonel Paul Tibbets. Truman had only learned of the devise after the death of President Roosevelt and his sudden succession to the presidency on April 12, 1945. Colonel Tibbets was the commander of the 509th Composite Group and flew the Enola Gay, the aircraft that delivered the first weapon to the city of Hiroshima. Mr. Shaara again writes a compelling work based on careful research. However, as he is careful to note, this is a novel of the war in the pacific. He tries to show us what the thoughts and feelings of the people involved might have been. I think he succeeds in full measure and recommend this book wholeheartedly.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

    Jeff Shaara Fans should skip this book.

    Jeff Shaara flopped on this book. He wasted to much of the book on mindless drivle about the people. you would think he could read their mind. Usually his interaction with the characters creates a bond with then going through their experiences. This book exchanges facts for fiction. He expounds on the first Atomic bomb mission and says almost nothing about the second or the fact that 1 plane was present at both bombings. i just hope Shaara's next book is more like his others.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    A good telling of a necessary story. Has all the lessons of a &q

    A good telling of a necessary story.
    Has all the lessons of a "lest we forget" within a storyline that kept the pages turning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    SUPER READ

    Tremendous read! Great historical fiction. I loved how it brought the emotion of both sides of the war together and how we fought two different enemies in two different ways. It was great to have the story told through the eyes of the participants. It gives a different perspective on what happened.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    Not as good as his other books

    Unlike previous books, this one starts in the middle of a war. I think I would have liked it better if he had treated it like his others works...three books that segment the story/war. Some of the material in this book talks about events in others battles that reader has no background . But, like all his books ,it is well written with good integration with historical characters and fictional characters. It is a good read......

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  • Posted August 4, 2012

    Excellent. Graphic.

    Last of an outstanding four book series. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted July 26, 2012

    Absolutely love this book and author

    Once again Jeff Shaara has made history an easy read. Anyone interested in World War II in the Pacific would find this a wonderful way to get to know not only key individuals in the war, but also the "every man". As a child of a WW II veteran from the Pacific theatre, I find there is so much more about the Eurpean conflict during the war and this is a WONDERFUL change for me. As with all the books written by this author, in the forward he makes you aware that his books are based on fact while all the while using some fiction in the sense of the person's is through letters, diaries, etc. I am not a fan of history in the sense of fact after fact and battle statistics, but I have enjoyed each and every book in this series. I am a big fan of this author and would recommend this and all of his books for book club discussions and those who enjoy history, biographies and reading.

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  • Posted February 8, 2012

    Not as good as expected.

    Compared to his other three books dealing with WWII in Europe, this is a let down. If you have ever read other first hand accounts of the battle in the Pacific, this will disappoint you. If this is your first introduction to the subject, it is an ok book. I think it is difficult to take a subject as extensive as the battle of the Pacific and condense it into one book. I do think the viewpoint of the Japanese is done well.

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    A mixed bag, but worth reading

    If you can survive the pointless and boring first two hundred pages, Jeff finally gets around to telling another great, spellbinding story. Anyone who argues that the United States should not have used such a lethal weapon as the atomic bomb on Japan needs to read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    He does it again

    Awsome detail,he makes you feel like your in the fox holes with the guys. Couldn't put it down

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    excellent telling of the end stages of WWII in the Pacific, you feel as though you are in the leaders shoes,

    When I approached the reading of this book I was afraid it would contain so many boring facts and figures, but to my delight, ¿The Final Storm¿ is not bogged down by anything. It is a great story that begins on February 21, 1945 as WWII is concentrated on the battle for Japan and all the islands that nation controlled. The author tells this excellently written book through the eyes of many involved in the war on land, sea, and in the air, both Allies and Japanese views with no holds barred. From the attackers themselves on both sides to those living on Japanese controlled territories, be they civilians, military, or prisoners of war. The Japanese gave no mercy to prisoners of war as well as their own citizens, not caring where they were contained ion or near dangerous battle locations. Japanese submariners had dwindled to few by this time of the war but those few left had to be watched as they tried to torpedo and sink any of the ships bringing supplies, food, ammunition, and fighting men to where they were needed. American submarine commanders were working hard to clear the area of any Japanese ships so the allied ships could deliver those much needed men and supplies. Allied airplanes also were very active as they cleared the seas and the air of Japanese opposition. Many leaders who were known at the time had their shared duties explained to the reader. Men of both sides of the war give the reader the story of the war as they saw it and lived it. You feel as though you are living the war through the actions and lives of admirals, officers, presidents, prime ministers, military and civilian doctors, field marshals, non-commissioned officers, pilots, families of all of them, whether they were Japanese, Americans, or other nations involved in the war. You slosh through the jungles, fly in the airplanes, fighter planes or bombers, try to stay alive as a P.O.W., avoiding capture when possible knowing torture was ahead if the Japanese did capture you, travel in the ships whether part of a crew, men traveling to go to war, or commanding the ship trying to avoid attack and being sunk. The brutal demanding battle for the various Japanese islands took time, never knowing what resistance you would face. On many of those islands the Japanese defenders had built systems of caves so all the bombing or shelling from the off shore ships would not kill or wound most of them. You live the experience of attacking those islands never knowing if there was a Jap hiding in plain site that would kill you before you knew his existence. Grenades, machine guns, rifles, flame throwers, B.A.R.¿s (a very heavy rifle), bayonets, handguns, and hand-to-hand combat in some situations, or anything that could be used as a weapon against each other. Tanks also were a strong weapon for and against both sides. The weather many times determined which weapons could be used. You must read this book to get the full feeling that I got while reading it. The battles continued even as the Japanese appeared defeated since they would just not stop. They fought to the death. The action that finally stopped the war was the use of the atomic bomb. You also live through those decisions through the many leaders that determined whether to use that killing weapon or continue fighting by landing huge amounts of men on the Japanese shore where both sides would have lost possibly millions more lives. A great book. Don¿t miss reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2011

    Shaara is good.

    I love his work. I would give this five stars but he did drag a bit in the beginning. However, once he got going....

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    Excellent

    As usual Shaara gives an excellent account of the final days of the Pacific war. His in the trenches style brings much realism to the reader.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Add this one to your collection.

    This is just another classic in the series by Jeff Shaara. I have read all of them and think I have been endowed with a greater understanding of some of the (real)history of these United States.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An excellent Novel of History

    Jeff Shaara's recent novel The Final Storm (A Novel of the War in The Pacific) is more then just an Historical Novel, it is a Novel of History. A Novel of History being a story that centers around a real event that might include real life characters. While I haven't read the first three books of this series of World War II, I found this the final book in the series, to provide an immersing understanding of these world changing events. This book tells the story of the taking of Okinawa and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Japan. Mr. Shaara does this wonderfully by giving the reader several vantage points of these historical moments. For example, he takes you into the minds and hearts of the commanders and leaders who must wrestle with the most difficult of decisions in conducting the war. His story also allows you to feel and touch the horrendous moments of a US Marine engaged in combat. Several haunting scenes crafted by the narrative will stay with me forever. A engaging story with memorable characters, that touched me and increased my appreciation, of all who have made incredible sacrifices in the defense of their country. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, especially military history.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mov­ing and Riv­et­ing,

    "The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific" by Jeff Shaara is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion novel which focuses on America's war in the Pacific instead of Europe. Mr. Shaara points out that he didn't intend to write this book but got many let­ters for fans and WWII vet­er­ans who fought there. Good for us! The book fol­lows the bat­tle of Oki­nawa through the eyes of the grunts on the ground and the com­man­ders of both the Amer­i­can and Japan­ese forces. The last part of the book fol­lows the days lead­ing to drop­ping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima mostly through the eyes of Pres­i­dent Tru­man and pilot Paul Tibbets. "The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific" by Jeff Shaara picks up where his World War II tril­ogy ended. The war in Europe is all but over; how­ever Japan is stub­born as ever despite mas­sive loses. True to form, each chap­ter in the book intro­duces the war from a per­spec­tive of a his­tor­i­cal fig­ure. Most of the story is told through the eyes of Marine pri­vate Clay Adams and his fight on Oki­nawa. The bat­tle is also told through the eyes of Japan­ese gen­eral Mit­suru Ushi­jima, com­man­der of the forces on Oki­nawa. Both men are true sol­diers who will do their duty or die try­ing to. The last sec­tion of the book focuses on the atomic bomb, mostly seen through the eyes of Pres­i­dent Tru­man and pilot Paul Tib­bets. Mr. Shaara tries to bring in a few oppos­ing points of view to the bomb, how­ever he makes his posi­tion per­fectly clear: the bomb helped save Amer­i­can lives, Japan­ese lives and ended World War II. By con­trast­ing the hor­rors of fac­ing the sol­diers on Oki­nawa and mak­ing sure the reader under­stands that the Amer­i­can sol­diers will face these same hor­rors in every ham­let in Japan. This is a mov­ing and riv­et­ing book - one of Shaara's best (and I thought most of them were very good). Mr. Shaara man­ages to show how oth­er­wise decent peo­ple some­times descended to atro­cious acts when faced with the hor­rors of war. A les­son we are still learn­ing today. As is done in all his books, the "After­ward" sec­tion is inter­est­ing and enlight­en­ing, let­ting the reader know what hap­pened with those indi­vid­u­als they just read about after the war. It is impor­tant to remem­ber that Mr. Shaara uses real peo­ple, even those we have never heard about, how­ever are the back­bone of our country.

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    Posted December 27, 2013

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    Posted November 26, 2011

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