From Publishers Weekly A scant three years after publishing his account of WWII's land war in the Pacific (Touched with Fire), historian Bergerud has completed an exhaustive companion volume addressing the theater's ferocious air war. Bergerud states clearly at the outset that he has attempted to cover both sides of the Pacific air war fairly; but, he notes, fairness dictates acknowledging 'that something went very wrong in Japan during the 1930s and that the air war in Asia was due to Tokyo's overaggressive nature.' Giving Japanese pilots their due, however, Bergerud portrays them alongside their American counterparts as honorable and worthy warriors. Indeed, the cutting-edge Japanese Zero fighter plane gave Tokyo an early advantage that threatened to overwhelm the Americans. Refreshingly multidimensional, with battle tales carefully crafted within the context of the overall campaign, this meticulously documented work portrays both the stark conditions and the high stakes of one of the largest air wars in history. Although much of the factual material comes from archival sources, the meat of the work is in the firsthand interviews with the rapidly dwindling pool of Pacific war veterans. The nuggets are well worth digging for. One American former pilot, for example, describes being forced to belly flop his plane after being attacked by an enemy Tony aircraft: 'I have no idea whether that Tony pilot claimed me as a victory, but he certainly had a legitimate right to because my airplane was forced to crash-land and was totally wiped out.' Scenes such as these help this fine history bring home with clarity the perils and rewards of the Pacific campaign and, in the process, illustrate lessons of value to today's military commanders. Photos and maps. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more From Library Journal Part two in Bergerud's history of the Pacific War focuses on aviation's major contribution to the effort (Touched with Fire dealt with the land campaigns). The historian uses his trademark thoroughness, eyewitness interviews, and boundless energy to produce the unoriginal thesis that Japan's goal of expanding into the South Pacific was doomed by poor leadership and a military ethic that hindered its response to the Allied onslaught. While the author's theme is not new, his participant accounts add authenticity to the sweep of the story. Though Bergerud covers only the period from the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 to the close of 1943 (when he contends the war's outcome was no longer in doubt), he still dissects previously neglected facets of the battlegrounds, from the physical conditions and their health effects to the machinery for building landing fields. While repetitious and overly long, this wide-ranging history with aviation at its heart offers new perspectives on a brutal and epic war.-Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, CA Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Read more See all Editorial Reviews
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