Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Dropping of the Atom Bomb

Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Dropping of the Atom Bomb

by George Feifer

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tennozan: a decisive, all-out stand. Thus did the Japanese characterize the vicious, sprawling struggle for the island of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Feifer ( Moscow Farewell ) relates events throughout the campaign from American, Japanese and Okinawan viewpoints, disclosing the grotesque reality of the battlefield so vibrantlyin first review that one ultimately accepts his startling comment that famed correspondent Ernie Pyle ``prettified'' his coverage for the American public. One horror Feifer reveals is that more civilians died on Okinawa during the three-month campaign than from the atom bombs loosed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the island was secured, the Americans faced the dreadful prospect of invading the Japanese home islands. In his detailed analysis of what the cost might have been, Feifer sympathetically explains why President Truman, six weeks after the capture of Okinawa, decided he had no choice but to order the dropping of the two bombs. An accurate and painstakingly detailed chronicle of the last great battle of World War II, the book is also a powerful anti warok that the word ``war'' ends this sentence?/yeah, war is war, so hard to find a sub word.gs statement that takes an unblinking look at the monstrous waste, pain and horror of modern war. Photos. (May)
Library Journal
Tennozan was an epic battle in remote Japanese history which determined the fate of the empire. It is a particularly apt term for the battle of Okinawa, the bloody climax of the Pacific War which was to be the stepping stone for the Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands. Feifer, author of nine books including the bestselling Moscow Farewell (Viking, 1976), has written an unusually good popular history of the campaign that offers more than battlefield anecdotes and a recital of military tactics. He intersperses a compelling human narrative which profiles numerous participants in the fighting, Japanese as well as American, and devotes nearly as much space to the hapless Okinawan civilians as to the soldiers. This forms the framework for considering a larger issue: did the suicidal defense of Okinawa foreshadow an even more desperate struggle for Japan itself, and if so, did this justify the use of atomic bombs? Highly recommended to public and military collections.-- Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
Feifer weaves together the personal experiences of soldiers and civilians with historical accounts to recreate the horror of the last engagement before the invasion of the Japanese homeland--a three- month engagement that resulted in a death toll of 23,000 Americans, 91,000 Japanese, and 150,000 Okinawan civilians. Includes 32 pages of photographs. Published by Ticknor & Fields, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
From Feifer (Our Motherland, 1974, etc.)—a fully considered, well-told account of perhaps the greatest land-sea-air engagement ever: the 1945 battle of Okinawa. Japan had lost the war by the time this "Tennozan" (decisive battle) was fought, but Japanese pride was still alive and the majestic, universally admired Yamato, the greatest capital ship of its time and symbol of Japanese aspiration, was still afloat. How the Yamato, as well as a quarter-million lives (more than half of them Okinawan civilians), was lost forms the core of Feifer's story. It opens with Hirohito making some remarks that are taken to mean that the Yamato must be risked; it ends with Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb. In between come B-29s, with their saturation bombing; the incineration of civilians and the decimation of an unspoiled, gracious, Okinawan culture appreciated for its generosity by both Japanese and Americans; and a samurai stand that was as incomprehensible to Americans then as Japanese industrial dominance is today. Feifer brings this epic to life largely through sharp, telling anecdotes and a remarkable ability to comprehend and express the ways and values of other cultures. He has researched particular Okinawans, Japanese, and Americans, from generals to civilians, and the details of their lives in this wartime hell make for powerful reading. The war, Feifer points out, would have gotten far worse if America had invaded Japan; so his pages, evoking the taste and smell of war, make the best possible case for Truman's decision to drop the Bomb. A thoughtful, humane, and readable history that brings the reader very close to this epic battle, the three cultures involved, and what itwas like for the men and women who lived—or died—through it. (Photographs—40 b&w, one color—not seen.)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.93(d)

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