Shobun: A Forgotton War Crime in the Pacific

Shobun: A Forgotton War Crime in the Pacific

4.0 1
by Michael J. Goodwin
     
 
The tragic story of one downed WWII American naval aircraft crew, brutally beheaded to boost the morale of their captors. Includes detailed accounts of war crimes trials.

Overview

The tragic story of one downed WWII American naval aircraft crew, brutally beheaded to boost the morale of their captors. Includes detailed accounts of war crimes trials.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The author's father, William Goodwin, the copilot of a PBY Catalina flying boat, was shot down off the Celebes coast during a night attack in October 1944. Goodwin and eight other survivors were picked up by the Japanese, interrogated, subjected to the customary beatings, and then ceremonially beheaded. As wartime atrocities went, this one was relatively commonplace, save that it was the result of a deliberate policy by Lt. Gen. Sanji Okido, who had ordered "severe disposition" (shobun) of the captured Allied airmen. In this book, Goodwin describes his longtime search for the circumstances of his father's fate and the justice ultimately meted out to his executioners. It also provides fascinating insight into the nocturnal war fought by the "Black Cat" raiders. The narrative is nonaccusatory in tone, is at times almost clinically dispassionate, and provides a clear-if chilling-insight into the combat mentality found in many of the backwaters of the Pacific war. Recommended for general collections.-Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Edwards AFB

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811715188
Publisher:
Stackpole Books
Publication date:
10/01/1995
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.79(w) x 8.59(h) x 0.81(d)

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Shobun: A Forgotton War Crime in the Pacific 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a stark reminder of what WWII allied airmen could look forward to as prisoners of Japan: contempt, torture, and ultimately, execution. 9 survivors of a US Navy aircraft shot down near the Celebes in September 1944 are followed from their prewar histories to their fate at the hands of Japanese prison officers. One of the men is the author's father, a co-pilot on the plane. The book is factual, well-researched, and detailed. Despite the fact that the author is on a private journey to learn about a father he never knew, destroyed at age 24, his narrative is remarkably free of bias, condemnation, or even much personal sentiment. The text is easy to read and well-balanced between fact and speculation. It covers an obscure area of allied air operations in the Pacific (anti-shipping night patrols by PBY seaplanes) and seeks to understand the circumstances and actions of an aggressor who viewed ritual decapitation of prisoners as honorable entertainment. 'Shobun' is not a flag-waver or a tear-jerker; it is a quiet account of men who made the supreme sacrifice. To look at the photos in this book of trained, confident young Americans and reflect on their tragic end in forgotten graves on the other side of the world is to appreciate the illusion of justice and terrible waste of war.