Suzanne's Reviews > The Final Storm

The Final Storm by Jeff Shaara
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's review
Jun 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, world-war-ii
Read from June 13 to 24, 2011

"Ushijima knew that the American commanders would be agonizing over their lack of progress, that surely no American general had the stomach for such a high casualty rate. Unlike the Japanese, who fed their people only what the Imperial High Command chose to reveal, he knew that the American newspapers were sure to announce openly the kinds of losses their soldiers were suffering. It is astounding, he thought, that they believe such openness is a positive thing. War is not about truth. it is about morale and spirit and what officers can drive their men to do."

In the closing novel of Jeff Shaara's World War II series, we are at the final stages of the war against Japan. The string that connects these novels (apart from the war itself), is Private Clay Adams, brother to Jesse Adams whom we had become familiar with in Shaara's previous books.

It appears that the theme of this work is the moral dilemma presented by the use of the atomic bomb. Shaara sets up the argument by showing throughout the first two parts of the book how the Japanese culture differs from our own. The military can be brutal and cruel and so can the U.S. forces. However, the Japanese people cannot give up without dishonor, and that is so embedded in their history and their being, that the American commanders quickly realize that victory will only come with enormous loss of human life. As U.S. troops prepare for a massive invasion of Japan, President Truman approves the bombing of Hiroshima. The devastation wreaked on the city stunned the Japanese. They tried political means to avoid the terms of the Potsdam treaty by asking the Soviets to intercede. 9 days later a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. It was over and the Japanese knew they had no alternative but to accept defeat.

Shaara is a master at portraying his country at war. It is well researched, thoughtful and very entertaining. My only disappointment was that this book is not enough to close out Jeff Shaara's series on World War II. This was just a small snapshot of a short period of time. As the author himself said, the United States basically fought two wars - one in Europe and one in the Pacific. There's much more to tell of the latter and I sincerely hope Jeff Shaara does just that.

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Reading Progress

06/14/2011 page 53
06/20/2011 page 102
23.0% "It's driving me crazy that I haven't had more time to read this week! This book is so good I wish I could escape my family and my obligations for a few days and immerse myself in books!"
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