Requiem for Battleship Yamato is Yoshida Mitsuru's story of his own experience as a junior naval officer aboard the fabled Japanese battleship as it set out on a last, desperate sortie in April 1945. Yoshida was on the bridge during Yamato's fatal encounter with American airplanes, and his eloquent, moving account of that battle makes a singular contribution to the literature of the Pacific war. The book has long been considered a classic in both Japan and the United States. As with most great battle stories, its ultimate concern is less bombs and bullets than human nature, less death than life.
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This book is a fascinating and revealing first person account of the sinking
of the Japanese battleship Yamato in its ill conceived suicidal final
mission. There are few survivors of this sinking and so to find such a book
was of great interest to me.
The account is detailed and often harrowing in nature given the extent of
the carnage wrought upon the worlds most powerful battleship. The author writes in a rather introspective way and sometimes a rather poetic one too. Although short, this book provides the essence of what the final few hours were like aboard the mighty battleship. An insight into the mindset of the Japanese military man at that time shows the fatalistic acceptance of their one way mission that we in the west find difficult to understand. We also see just how wasteful the Japanese commanders were in how they threw men and other resources away in foolish missions such as Yamato's final one.
This book also illustrates how the battleship gave way as the primary capitol ship in the world's navies in favour of the aircraft carrier and air power at sea.
There seems so little material available from the few survivors of the Yamato sinking that this work is a valuable if brief glimpse into that final battle that it is a book I would recommend to any reader interested in the subject matter or in naval warfare as a whole.
"Brutally Honest Account of Institutional Idiocy"
Tragic, honest, humane
The author in the glimpses you see of the person writing the book, not his self at the time. He's able to show how he had been wrapped up in the suicidal militaristic mindset of the soon-to-be defeated Japanese while not bogging it down into moral or psychological analysis. The book is an account of what people did, said, and felt--it does not waste time performing moral or psychological analysis--the facts are too valuable here.
I'll never forget the incredible poignancy of the senior officers going down with the ship but stopping the junior officers from doing the same. Mitsuru's crisp bureaucratic (in the sense of an excellent ship's log) prose reports only the facts, but earlier discussion of the blindness of the Japanese Navy's senior ranks leaves the reader with the thought that they were going down with more than the ship.
It's something like a Japanese equivalent to With the Old Breed (and the brilliant movie, The Thin Red Line, although this, being set on a ship, has less interaction with nature and man's relationship to it). So I would work that into a tag line.
"Simply amazing. One of a kind."
Poetic and philosophical, this is an amazing and beautiful memoir of a very unique moment in history. Truly one of a kind. The narrator is very good too, capturing the spirit of the text and precisely conveying the atmosphere of this thoughtful work.
"Good story, mediocre writing"
Great first hand account but the author is not a gifted author. Quite a bit of philosophical ideas that are probably uniquely Japanese.
"More intimate perspective of the Japanese Sailor"
The way that Mr. Mitsuru describe each person and how they were dealing with the situation. Mr. Mitsuru created a visual image of each person that felt very complete.
The narration matched the pace of the story and enhanced the story. I think Mr. Malcolm's narration significantly enhanced Mr. Mitsuru's portrayal of the people and their plight.
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