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The Final Storm by Jeff Shaara
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Jul 12, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction, i-own
Read from July 09 to 12, 2011 — I own a copy

As per usual, a generally well-written, well-thought out book about an American war from Mr. Shaara. While I disagree with his assertion at the beginning of the book that he is not trying to promote any point of view or political position, one would be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn't see his book as promoting the view that the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan was an abhorrent necessity that avoided hundreds of thousands of American casualties, and millions of Japanese (a viewpoint that I personally agree with). Otherwise, I greatly enjoyed the final installment in the author's quadrilogy of World War II (though, while I understand his reasons for not doing so, I am disappointed that he did not complete a full separate trilogy chronicling the war in the Pacific). From my memories of the previous novels, I believe that he focuses in on fewer view points than before, though there are no complaints here. I greatly enjoyed the increased intimacy this created with the few men Shaara did follow. And though I greatly enjoyed the detail that Shaara lavished on the Battle of Okinawa (though, at times, the sequencing felt a bit jumpy), I was disappointed that it was focus of almost the entirety of the novel (as I said before, very sad that there wasn't a full trilogy of the Pacific). I also wish he'd spent more time detailing the experiences at Hiroshima, and that he had maybe done a little on Nagasaki--as in most every other history, it becomes relegated to "When the Japanese didn't surrender after Hiroshima, they also dropped a bomb on Nagasaki." In the same regard, I think some portrayal of the massive bombing campaign of the Japanese mainland was also in order--it was one of the most important parts of the American role in the Pacific theatre in 1945, and it gets only cursory mentions in the text (through the very appropriate visage of Curtis LeMay). Viewpoints of both bomber pilots and Japanese civilians would have been nice (though I don't know if maybe Shaara was restricted by his sources in this case).

Everything aside, I was still very pleased with this book, though I don't think it quite lives up to most of his other novels.
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