The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific

The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific

by Jeff Shaara

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
With the war in Europe winding down in the spring of 1945, the United States turns its vast military resources toward a furious assault on the last great stepping-stone to Japan—the heavily fortified island of Okinawa. The three-month battle in the Pacific theater will feature some of the most vicious combat of the entire Second World War, as American troops confront an enemy that would rather be slaughtered than experience the shame of surrender. Meanwhile, stateside, a different kind of campaign is being waged in secret: the development of a weapon so powerful, not even the scientists who build it know just what they are about to unleash. Colonel Paul Tibbets, one of the finest bomber pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps, is selected to lead the mission to drop the horrific new weapon on a Japanese city. As President Harry S Truman mulls his options and Japanese physician Okiro Hamishita cares for patients at a clinic near Hiroshima, citizens on the home front await the day of reckoning that everyone knows is coming.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345497956
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/10/2012
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 146,968
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of A Chain of Thunder, A Blaze of Glory, The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure—two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Gettysburg.

Hometown:

Kalispell, Montana

Date of Birth:

February 21, 1952

Place of Birth:

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Education:

B.S. in Criminology, Florida State University, 1974

Read an Excerpt

1. THE SUBMARINER

East China Sea, North of Formosa February 21, 1945 The boredom was overwhelming. Even in the darkness, with a low warm breeze, he felt the restlessness, held the sharp stare at what should be the horizon. It was hidden, of course, black water meeting black sky, no hint of the dawn still several hours away. They had patrolled these waters for more than two weeks, some calling it an adventure, the eagerness the crew felt to be back on the search for the scattered Japanese supply ships. Two months before, they had been assigned to rescue patrol, close to mainland Japan, a vigilant search for downed American pilots, or even the Japanese. But enemy pilots were very few now, the Japanese air force so depleted, or more likely, so wary of the superiority of their enemy that they seemed to avoid dogfights with the American fighters completely. He hadn’t paid much attention to that kind of talk, the newsy communications that filtered down through the chain of command. He was much happier thinking about the American pilots they had rescued, his crew cheerfully hauling aboard coughing breathless men, soaked and shivering, desperately happy to be alive. It was a genuine thrill to rescue a pilot, every sailor feeling that special pride, more so if the man happened to be from a carrier, a naval pilot, and so, one of their own. The pilots were more than just grateful, and in their momentary euphoria they made loud promises of lavish gifts, nights on the town for everyone aboard the sub. The promises usually included a rendezvous in Honolulu or even San Francisco, talk that every crewman enjoyed. The job had been made worthwhile by the beaming gratitude of the men they had saved. It didn’t hurt either that as the rescued pilots were returned to their aircraft carriers, they were often exchanged for tubs of ice cream, a luxury few submarines carried on their own.

The pilots of the newer American fighters had found that their planes were considerably more agile, and significantly more armored than the legendary Zero, and so the fights grew increasingly one-sided. After long months of terrific casualties among its pilots, Japan seemed to pull the Zeroes out of the sky, holding them back for some purpose no one thought much about. Now the rescues were usually B-29 crews, more likely the result of some mechanical failure in the air than the direct result of combat. Though the B-29 was the largest and most modern bomber of the war, the plane could be a curse to fly. The B-29 had chronic problems with the engines: overheating, flameouts, which might be just as deadly as an accurate strike of an enemy anti-aircraft gun.

The sub rolled slightly to the side, riding a crossing swell, the captain caught off guard, a slight stumble against the steel of the bulkhead. All right, stay awake. But the empty seas were intoxicating, dreamlike, and he thought of the hard bunk down below. Not yet. After dawn you can catch a few winks, but right now your job is up here.

He never fully trusted the instincts of his younger officers, though he knew that his exec, Fred Gordon, was a good man, would likely have his own boat one day, and maybe sooner than the captain preferred. Combat losses to the submarine crews weren’t catastrophic, not compared to many of the aircrews above them. Many of the men simply rotated out after several months at sea, fatigue playing a huge part in their decreasing efficiency. But there were combat losses, and the officers who came from Annapolis seemed to feel that far more deeply than their crews. He thought of the Tang, sunk a few months before, could see the face of Ed Beaumont. Never thought you’d be the one, Eddie. Lucky in love, lucky in poker, and your fish gets sunk by your own damn torpedo. Happens I guess, and by God you took a few Jap bastards with you. Something to be said for that, I suppose.

The Tang had gone down in the midst of a chaotic fight in October the year before, after plowing straight through a Japanese convoy. Her skipper, Dick O’Kane, had already gained a reputation for pure audacity and brilliant success, having sunk nearly two dozen Japanese ships. But on that one night, after causing havoc among a Japanese merchant fleet, the Tang had been struck by one of her own torpedoes, some kind of malfunction that sent the torpedo on a circular course. It was a horrific dose of irony to a crew that had poured so much devastation into their enemy.

They say the skipper survived, he thought. Didn’t know O’Kane too well, but Eddie loved him. Scuttlebutt says O’Kane will probably get a Medal of Honor, but I doubt it matters much now. Sure as hell doesn’t matter to the men who went down with the damn ship.

The communications intercepts indicated that at least a dozen of the Tang’s crewmen had survived and were being held in Japan. From all he had heard, his friend Beaumont was not among them. So what’s worse, he thought. If it’s up to me, I’d rather have a lung full of water than some Jap bastard beating the crap out of me every five minutes. That’s gonna be the best day of this damn war, the day we can spring our boys from the Jap POW camps. It’ll happen, sooner or later. He slapped the steel beside him. How much more can those bastards throw at us? No ships out here, no convoys anymore. The Japs have gotta feed their people, and every piece of their army needs gasoline and oil, and whatever else it takes to keep going. That’s my job, isn’t it? Send that stuff to the bottom. Hell, here I am, a boatload of torpedoes, and a crew full of piss and vinegar. He stared hard into the darkness. So where the hell are you?





The navy had ordered many of the submarines to keep close to the Japanese mainland, still on rescue patrol, the overwhelming number of bombing missions still a priority, and those subs would continue to pluck unfortunate aircrews out of the water. Some performed the task within clear sight of the Japanese coastline, a risky maneuver, made more so by the vigilance of Japanese patrol boats, who sought the same prize. The game was a vicious one, some of the subs engaging the Japanese in firefights on the surface, in water too shallow for diving. Whether rumors and reports of outrageous atrocities were true—all that talk of torture and beheadings by their Japanese captors—the determination to save the downed fliers increased with every bombing mission.

As Japanese convoys seemed to scatter into oblivion, speculation increased through the American command that the Japanese were in desperate straits, food and fuel being parceled out to the military in a trickle, and even less to the civilians. The Americans began to understand how seriously they were strangling the Japanese homeland. The search for seagoing targets became even more intense. Despite the ongoing need for air rescue patrols, many of the subs were ordered away from Japan, back toward the shipping lanes around Formosa and the Philippines, where the Japanese freighters had once traveled unmolested. The greatest challenge now was for the sub commanders to find a target.





The submarines had played a far greater role than most back home would ever know, very few glowing reports in the newspapers, no flow of interviews reaching the home front in glamorous dispatches from men like correspondent Ernie Pyle. As the navy began to be more successful in reaching and breaking the flow of Japanese supplies, the subs borrowed a tactic from the Germans, wolf packs, prowling the seas along the Chinese coast, out through the islands to the east, and then around mainland Japan itself. The Japanese had no effective counter, and the losses to their merchant shipping had been devastating. Their convoys had mostly stopped, and the Allies knew from secret code intercepts and the firsthand accounts of the submarine patrols that the Japanese were quite simply running out of ships. Even the Japanese warships had ceased to be a major threat. Nearly all the great naval battles in the central Pacific had been decidedly one-sided affairs. From Midway to Leyte Gulf, Truk Lagoon and the Coral Sea, the superiority of American carrier-based planes and the warships they supported had crushed the Japanese naval forces, forces that now mostly remained within the safety of their own ports. But Japanese submarines still patrolled the sea lanes, searching for targets that were far too numerous for the Americans to completely shield. The Americans knew that the Japanese technology in radar did not measure up, but their torpedoes were superior, a game of catch-up the Americans were just now realizing. Japanese submarine crews were well trained, considered elite units. The American sub commanders knew that it was their counterparts who had the tools and the skills to strike back, their stealth making them the most formidable foe the Japanese could still bring to the fight.





The sleepiness had gone, a second wind the captain usually felt after midnight. He had gone below for only a brief respite, a quick trip to the head and a handful of chocolate bars. The crew was as alert as he was, the late-night shift the best men he had.

He pulled the wrapping from a piece of chocolate, tossed it down the hatch. No trash overboard, his own rule. They would never leave anything behind, no clue that the Americans had ever been here. A candy carton or a piece of paper floating on the waves might be the best stroke of luck a Japanese lookout could have.

The air was still warm and thick, the light breeze barely any relief. He stood upright in the conning tower, stretching his back, the warm chocolate leaving a sweet film in his mouth. There was sweat inside his shirt, and he thought, after daylight, I’ll get a shower. He laughed at the thought, his admonition to the rest of the crew. No one showers before the cook. I’m not going to smell anyone’s BO in my damn pancakes.

A sudden swirl of wind engulfed him in the stink of diesel exhaust and he fought the cough, the breeze returning, carrying the exhaust away. The salt spray came now, another shift of the wind, catching the white trail of wake. Dammit, he thought, make up your mind. These are supposed to be trade winds, blowing in one damn direction. So they tell me. Idiot weathermen. Come out of your comfortable office at Pearl and see this for yourself. This damn ocean makes up its own mind, and takes the wind with it. The sub rolled again in a slow, steady rhythm, riding the soft swells, the seas still mostly calm. He glanced to one side, the shimmer of reflected moonlight, a thin sliver coming up low to the east. He judged the size of the wake, thought, twelve knots. We’ll keep that up for a while. No reason to worry about getting anywhere fast. No place to go. He thought of the binoculars around his neck, useless. For now the best eyes the sub had were down below, the careful watch of the radar man, Hockley, a boy who seemed to be good at only one thing. Fortunately for the crew, that single talent was spotting the enemy on the radar screen, separating out the noise and blips of whatever might interfere with those blips that actually mattered. He glanced at the microphone to one side. No, if there’s something to say, they’ll let me know. As he kept his stare on the invisible horizon, there was a familiar twist growing inside of him, anxiousness, the silence unnerving. How in hell can we be the only people out here? There’s not even an American fish anywhere close by, not that anyone told me about. The Queenfish is well south of us, pretty sure about that. The Grouper and the Pompon are closer, but not that close. They’re doing the same thing I’m doing, wondering where the hell the Japs have gone. Any one of our boys gets near us, I know damn well that we’ll pick him up first. They know it too. He laughed quietly, thought of the ongoing bet he had with several of the sub captains. We’ll spot you before you spot us. One more thing that kid down there is good at. The sub’s name lingered, Pompon. That damn Bogley already owes me fifty bucks. I’ll meet you at Guam, Captain, and you better fork it over. You don’t want me broadcasting all over hell and gone how I snuck up on you from astern within five hundred yards and scared hell out of your sonar guy.

He turned, scanned the ocean in all directions. This is one big damn bunch of water, and somebody else has to think this is a good place to be. I’d be a lot happier if I had somebody to chase. Beats hell out of wandering around in the dark. He usually took to the open air of the bridge when the night came, and the other officers knew to leave him alone, unless he asked someone to stand with him. They’ll think I’m a real jerk if I bitch about my quarters, he thought. I’ve got the luxury suite on this bucket, and those boys have to sleep a dozen to a berth, and share each other’s farts and BO in the process. He glanced below, faint red light glowing up through a haze of cigarette smoke. No one bitches, at least not so I can hear ’em. And my exec hasn’t said anything. I guess we’re a happy lot. Yo ho ho. That’s it. We ought to put up a Jolly Roger. Nah, I bet the Japs wouldn’t have the first idea what the hell that was. I’m guessing they don’t watch Errol Flynn movies in Nipland. The playfulness was forced, and he knew that, was still feeling the uneasiness, the itchy tension. Dammit, something just isn’t . . . right. Too much ocean and too much of nothing. Down below, the lower level of the open-air bridge, the anti-aircraft guns were unmanned. No Jap planes on patrol out here, he thought, not at night. That’s for sure. He focused, blew away the thoughts from his brain, stared hard at the black silence. Okay, Captain, you better let them keep all that cockiness in those offices at Pearl. All it takes is one lucky Jap bastard to drop his eggs too close to us, or spot us underwater. What idiot thought that painting our subs black would make them invisible? This damn water is so clear, a black sub looks like some big damn sea monster. Might as well have been sending up flares, to make it easier for them to spot us. Black. How many shouting matches did Admiral Lockwood have to have with those War Department morons before someone figured out to paint these things to match the damn water? Gray’s not perfect, but sure as hell beats black. He glanced up, the tip of the two periscopes above him. And then someone decides we should paint the subs pink. Pink for God’s sake. Supposed to blend in with the ocean. I haven’t sailed this tub through one patch of pink water. But what the hell do I know? I’m just out here fighting the enemy. Those engineers and design folks have the tough job, figuring out how much cream to put in their coffee. Now they say we sank every damn ship the Japs have. I’m not believing any of that, not for one second. Somebody’s gotta know we’re out here, and maybe they’re watching us, some smart damn destroyer captain shadowing us. He scanned the blackness, thought, okay, stop that. Hockley would have raised hell down there if anything was around us. And you don’t need to show anybody on this crew a case of the jitters. Most of them are too young, too green to know just how human I am. A sub captain’s got ice in his blood, yeah. That’s it. Ice. Nerves like steel wire. That’s what they’re told anyway. That’s how they think I got this job.

He thought about that, wasn’t really sure how he got the job. Yep, I wanted it. It was a plum job, of course, a sub commander ranking among the navy’s most elite. Nearly all of us are Annapolis grads, the elite, by damned. Yeah, that was tough, worth it for sure. My parents were all gooey about it, my old man bragging to his neighbors. Hell, why not? His boy did good, not like some of those clowns I grew up with. He recalled the graduation with a smile, hats thrown in the air, all the slaps on the back, loud, boisterous calls for what was next, all that glory. But that was nearly a decade before Pearl Harbor, and nobody knew anything about what was next. Ask my buddy on the Tang. Or those poor bastards on the Growler, or the Swordfish. Glory, my ass.

“Captain. Radar reports a sighting, sir.”

The noise jolted him, the voice of Gordon, his exec. He grabbed the microphone, held it to his mouth, pressed the button.

“What is it, Gordy?”

“Sighting at two four zero, moving . . . um . . . zero four zero . . . looks like ten knots.”

It was a bad habit Gordon had, that first burst of excitement, tossing out estimates before he had the precise numbers.

“Slow down, Lieutenant. What’s their range?”

“Sorry, sir. Seventeen thousand yards.” He paused. “Ten knots confirmed.”

“Stand by, Gordy. Send Fallon up here.”

“Aye, sir.”

He glanced toward the compass, his sub moving almost due north, and he stared out toward the direction of the sighting, behind him to the left. Ten miles. Nothing to look at yet. But he’s heading roughly toward us, might cross behind us. Ten knots is pretty damn slow. Must be a real piece of junk. He had a sudden flash, his mind fixing on a new thought. Or he’s on the prowl, looking for something. Yep, that’s a whole lot better. If we can get the jump on a Jap warship, that’s a whole lot bigger prize than sinking some tub full of rice.

The young seaman, Fallon, rose up through the hatch, a nineteen-year-old who had a knack for precision, and the sharp eyes to match. Fallon stood stiffly, said in a low whisper, “Sir?”

“Richie, man the TBT. We’re too far away to see anything, but that’s about to change.”

“Aye, sir.”

Fallon turned close to the high-power binoculars, affixed to the railing of the conning tower, what the navy called the Target Bearing Transmitter. The binoculars were connected electronically to the instruments below, part of the system that impressed every officer in the fleet. It was called the TDC, for Torpedo Data Computer, a bulky piece of equipment near the radar station that, in combination with the radar system, could compute a target’s speed and heading, which would translate that information for the precise heading and speed the sub should maintain when firing torpedoes. The captain never pretended to know how it worked, and as long as he had crewmen who knew how to operate the thing, that was fine with him. They had already been credited with sinking seven Japanese merchant ships, and if the man who invented the TDC wanted a pat on the back for that, the captain was ready to offer it.

He looked at the glow on the hands of his watch.

“Three-thirty, Richie. We’ve got maybe two hours before visual. I’m not waiting.”

He reached for the microphone, pressed the key.

“Helm. Left full rudder, go to heading two seven zero, maintain fifteen knots.”

“Aye, sir. Left full rudder, two seven zero, at one five knots.”

“Lieutenant Gordon, secure the radar.”

The exec’s voice came back immediately, Gordon expecting the order.

“Done, sir.”

No need for anyone to pick up our signal, he thought. Jap equipment isn’t too hot, but they can sure as hell pick up a radar beam. He settled back against the steel of the bridge’s railing. Now, we wait. As long as they don’t change course, we’ll run right into them.

The sub was in full turn now, and he braced himself against the steel, the young seaman doing the same. He ignored the compass, knew that the helm would get it right. Done this too many times. So, who the hell’s out there? Is he alone? Too far away now, but we’ll know pretty soon. We’ll keep the radar off for twenty minutes, then give another quick look. Hockley’s got a good eye, can pick out whatever the hell it is in a flash. Japs can’t home in on us if we’re quick. I like good surprises, not bad ones. He stared out toward the unseen vessel, his thoughts beginning to race. What the hell are you, and where the hell do you think you’re going? This is my damn ocean, pal.

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The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 119 reviews.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
This story of the last two years of the war in the Pacific is embodied in the brutal struggle for Okinawa and the fateful use of the two atomic bombs to end the war with Japan. The voices in this historical novel are representative of those who were there. The commanders on both sides as well as the average fighting men are represented by major characters in the book. The strongest story follows Marine Private Clay Adams through the horrific fighting on Okinawa. As in any book of history, it is not the final outcome that fascinates us, but the journey taken by so many to reach that point. The book follows the facts while providing personal touches through narration and dialog. The facts can be at once brutal and fascinating, mysterious and very enlightening, especially to a generation once removed from the world enveloping violence and the immediacy of living day to day. Looking into the past can at times make us sad. Do we really want to see how our parents generation had to live? Do we truly want to face what they had to face? Do we have the strength, let alone the wisdom to understand and learn from them. We think we want to know what life was like for them, who they were, what they experienced. But we must be aware that the past is often a Pandora's box with some very dark corners. When the truth is out in the light, the good and the bad, the pleasures and the unimaginable pain, the wonder and all the horrors may come with it. This is an excellent book for those who are looking for a realistic novel of the brutal war in the Pacific. Provided for review by the well read folks at Library Thing.
AmandaKlopping More than 1 year ago
The stories enmeshed in this book grabbed me from the first chapter. Shaara writes with such clarity that I was extremely emotionally involved with the story. Very few of us will ever understand how horrific this war was, but Shaara's story-telling abilities opened a window for me. There were so many moments when I felt I was actually there. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWII, and also to anyone who has difficulty accepting the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Reading about the battle of Okinawa from both the Japanese and America perspective should settle any doubts. I received this ARC from Goodreads' First Reads program, and was not required to give a positive review.
hippypaul More than 1 year ago
The final storm is the fourth book by Mr. Shaara dealing with the Second World War. It traces the end of the war in the pacific and the post war path of the major players. It covers the invasion of Okinawa as seen from several viewpoints. The American side is represented by a front line Marine rifleman and by the operational commander Admiral Nimitz. The Japanese side is portrayed by General Mitsuru Ushijima who commanded the defending forces on the island. The description of the ground combat is brutal and explicit. The fighting on Okinawa resulted in the largest number of killed and wounded in the Pacific Theater. Japan lost over 100,000 troops with very few being captured and the US had more than 50,000 killed or wounded. In the mist of this horrible fighting thousands of local civilians were killed or committed suicide in the belief that they would be killed by the invading US forces. The final section of the novel deals with the deployment and use of two nuclear weapons against cities in Japan. This is seen from the viewpoint of President Truman and Colonel Paul Tibbets. Truman had only learned of the devise after the death of President Roosevelt and his sudden succession to the presidency on April 12, 1945. Colonel Tibbets was the commander of the 509th Composite Group and flew the Enola Gay, the aircraft that delivered the first weapon to the city of Hiroshima. Mr. Shaara again writes a compelling work based on careful research. However, as he is careful to note, this is a novel of the war in the pacific. He tries to show us what the thoughts and feelings of the people involved might have been. I think he succeeds in full measure and recommend this book wholeheartedly.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Intense story, vivid descriptions that those soldiers faced in the South Pacific.
Boobalack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been searching my brain for a good adjective to describe this author¿s writing style. I found it: ¿subtle.¿ You¿ll be reading along, absorbed in the story and in the history, when suddenly you¿ll find yourself on the verge of tears. Some movies slap you in the face. Others creep up on you. Some books slap you in the face. Others, like this one, creep up on you. This is not to say that Mr. Shaara doesn¿t describe the affects of having a buddy¿s being blown up right beside you or the other horrible happenings of war. He does. He simply leads you to it in a very gentle way. Even though his style is rather low-key, he paints a vivid picture.This book covers the Pacific Theater of Operation during World War II. The author follows both enlisted men and officers, both Japanese and American, through many battles, the most coverage being given to Okinawa. He also takes you inside the mind of Col. Paul Tibbetts, the pilot of the Enola Gay, which, in case you didn¿t know, is the name of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.Mr. Shaara furnishes a picture of the psyche of the Japanese soldier, from the lowest rank to the highest. Most people in Western cultures simply do not understand the Japanese concept of honor. Too many people just consider the Japanese of old to be savages with no morals, much in the same way the Native Americans were judged to be.I especially appreciated the Afterword section, which contains short articles telling what happened after the war to the major characters in the book. I had thought the ending was one of the most poignant, yet unlikely scenarios, until I found in the Afterword that Pvt. Clayton Adams was a real person. Of course, I knew the famous characters were real people, but Pvt. Adams was a wonderful surprise. The ending remained poignant, made more so by the fact that it was true, but not unlikely.The Final Storm is beyond my ability to review properly. All I can say is that it is one of the best war-story books I have ever read, and I encourage you to read it for yourself. I don¿t think you will be disappointed.
sandbarjack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Final Storm took me by surprise. I rarely read historical fiction because the there is generally a viewpoint to sell and I enjoy making mine from scratch. That is definitely not the case here. There are no overblown heroes from the "winning" side. Jeff Shaara tells a tale of people at war; leaving the judgments to the reader.The book tells the story of the war in the Pacific from Okinawa to the Japanese surrender from both sides. The differences in culture and viewpoint are there, but they are more matters of fact than author bias. This makes for enjoyable reading. The book moves along quickly weaving battles of fictional Pvt. Adams with the views of historical figures. The Final Storm is both entertaining and thoughtful; as all good stories are. I was especially impressed with the post-war depiction Pvt. Adams--it is as real as history itself. Read this book.
queencersei on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Final Storm, a novel about World War II, focuses mainly on the battle of Okinawa, from the point of view of both the Americans and the Japanese. The battle over the island is recounted in graphic detail as Americans fight Japanese soldiers who believe there is no greater honor then dying in battle on behalf of their Emperor and their country. The American troops are at first appalled and then numb to the carnage that surrounds them as the campaign drags on. The last third of the book gives an overview of the decision to drop the atomic bombs and the aftermath of the war is quickly explored. Readers can appreciate the details of the events leading up the flight of the Enola Gay and the mention that the scientists involved are given.For World War II enthusiasts, no new ground is covered. But Jeff Shaara does an effective job of covering the final months of the war in the Pacific. And his writing from the point of view of both the military leaders and American ground forces is readable.
Ronrose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story of the last two years of the war in the Pacific is embodied in the brutal struggle for Okinawa and the fateful use of the two atomic bombs to end the war with Japan. The voices in this historical novel are representative of those who were there. The commanders on both sides as well as the average fighting men are represented by major characters in the book. The strongest story follows Marine Private Clay Adams through the horrific fighting on Okinawa. As in any book of history, it is not the final outcome that fascinates us, but the journey taken by so many to reach that point. The book follows the facts while providing personal touches through narration and dialog. The facts can be at once brutal and fascinating, mysterious and very enlightening, especially to a generation once removed from the world enveloping violence and the immediacy of living day to day. Looking into the past can at times make us sad. Do we really want to see how our parents generation had to live? Do we truly want to face what they had to face? Do we have the strength, let alone the wisdom to understand and learn from them. We think we want to know what life was like for them, who they were, what they experienced. But we must be aware that the past is often a Pandora's box with some very dark corners. When the truth is out in the light, the good and the bad, the pleasures and the unimaginable pain, the wonder and all the horrors may come with it. This is an excellent book for those who are looking for a realistic novel of the brutal war in the Pacific. Provided for review by the well read folks at Library Thing.
clif_hiker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yet another chapter of war written by one of the masters... Shaara captures the horror of one of the fiercest and costliest Pacific battles in WW II. He finishes the book with a dramatic tension building description of the dropping of the A-bomb, along with quite a bit of commentary on the ethics of whether to drop the bomb... coming down pretty squarely on the positive side. A nice addition to the Pacific theater genre.
marta88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
NOTE: This review is from an "uncorrected proof" copy.After reading one of Jeff Shaara's books, I always think to myself "this is the best one"! The trouble is, is that I've felt that way after every book he's written. This one is no exception. My words fall short of how much I loved this book. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different person: a private on the front lines, a Japanese general, a Japanese doctor, Harry Truman, and the pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. They are all extremely detailed and insightful. As Mr. Shaara says at the beginning of the book, this isn't about whether or not these events should or shouldn't have taken place. It is about the facts as he knows them, based on research from letters, notes, interviews with families and other sources. I was curious about why he chose the battle of Okinawa vs. the battle of Iwo Gima. My uncle fought and survived Iwo Gima, so I was hoping to read about it. I had always heard that Iwo Gima was the bloodiest battle of the war in which the Americans suffered the most massive losses. Wrong. It was Okinawa. Some of the details made me cringe. I now have a good sense of what Iwo Gima must have been like; it was very similar.I wondered why he chose not to include the perspective of Douglas MacArthur. It doesn't lessen the story, I was just curious.Jeff Shaara is a master storyteller. I could see the images clearly in my mind and I was completely lost in the descriptions. I can't say enough about Mr.Shaara's gift of writing. It's a shame that his books weren't a part of my high school or college curriculums, instead of the dry history books I was required to read. He brings events and people to life.
Neilsantos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mr Shaara comes through. He makes a theatre that I don't find especially interesting (the Pacific) entertaining and informational. I'm not sure if the focus on his Adams character is beneficial to the big story of the war, but it is essential to the story that Shaara is telling. Having this be the brother to the Adams character of the WW2 trilogy isn't essential.
qstewart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jeff Shaara's The Final Storm, looks at the one theater of World War II that has received little notice from writers. It is a far flung war and it is difficult because of the place names are difficult and because the politicians of the time turned our nation's attention to the war in Europe making the winning of that theater the primary goal of the military. By concentrating on the final island battle in the Pacific, Okinawa, Shaara shows his reader the no surrender attitude of the Japanese soldiers and how they tried to hold onto every inch of territory that they had conquered prior to the United States entering the war. This tenaciousness of the Japanese led to some of the most vicious and terrible fighting that Americans faced in World War II. The story of this one island battle was repeated several times before the Marines and Army reached Okinawa. My father fought in this theater of the war and I think that their sacrifice and what they endured has been overshadowed by the events in Europe. Mr. Shaara gives an excellent view of what it must have been like to sit in a foxhole not knowing when the next attack would come.The Final Storm ends with the decisions and preparations for ending of the war. Again I believe Mr. Shaara gives an excellent narration of what must have been occurring in the minds of the people involved in the process in the weeks before the end of the war. I enjoyed the book and send my thanks to Mr. Shaara for giving his readers a glimpse at the "Hell" that the Americans endured in Pacific during World War II. Job well done.
JoanieS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Final Storm is the last book in Jeff Shaara's World War II series. Unlike the other books in the series which covered the war in Africa and Europe, this book focused on one battle-the battle for Okinawa. Although I was disappointed that Mr Shaara focused only on one battle late in the war, I also felt he used much greater detail than he used in his previous books in this series.His description of the battle as seen through the eyes of the soldiers was vivid and disturbing.I had a relative who retuned from the war in the Pacific Theater whole in body,but not in mind, and this book helped me to understand what happened to him.Mr.Shaara covered the dropping of the atomic bombs through the thoughts and musings of men who were directly involved. The human side of the story was told as opposed to the technical story.I have to admit that I wish Mr Shaara had written about the entire War in the Pacific..It could be another series of books itself with The Final Storm as it's conclusion.I felt that I came into a story and it's end and missed much of what led to this point. However, The Final Storm does a fine job of wrapping up this chapter in history.
exlibrismcp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shaara proves again why he should be a top pick on everyone's list for military reading. He brings a "you are there" feeling to his writing that never once bogs down even while his soldiers are slogging through mud pits, digging foxholes, and facing long rainy nights on alert for the enemy. The Final Storm takes the reader to the Okinawa campaign and the dropping of the atomic bomb in the final stages of WWII. Viewpoints alternate between grunts on the ground and officers on both sides of the campaign. The seamless writing style brings a novelistic feel to the book even while discussing strategies, describing conditions, and explaining mindsets of those involved. Having received this as an unedited advanced free copy as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer book it is now on my list of books to purchase as well as the preceding three in this WWII series.
creighley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great story of the marines in the Pacific and what they went through fighting an enemy whose character they had never seen before. The format is like the other WWII novels he has written. He focuses on characters from each side: the Americans and the Japanese. For those who like this type of book, With the Old Breed would appeal to them also.
corgiiman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was typical Jeff Shaara in his ability to turn a large historical event into smaller stories about players in that event. I enjoyed it very much and while this was an advanced copy I would have loved to have seen the pictures and maps that went along with the stories.
SamSattler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jeff Shaara¿s World War II trilogy (The Rising Tide, The Steel Wave, and No Less Than Victory) focuses entirely on the war as it was fought in Europe and North Africa. Now, at least in part because he heard from so many WWII veterans and fans of his historical fiction that he should take on the war fought in the Pacific, Shaara offers The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific. In this single volume, Shaara turns his attention to the final months of the war against Japan, particularly the battle for the airfields of Okinawa and the dropping of the two atomic bombs that finally ended the war.As he has done in past novels, Shaara tells this story of brutal warfare through the eyes of some of the actual men who were on either side of the battle line, be they of the lowest or the highest ranks. Among the many characters he uses, are three key ¿narrators,¿ Private Clay Adams, Japanese General Mitsuru Ushijima, and Colonel Paul Tibbets. Private Adams is a young marine whose recovering health has allowed him to return to the Pacific just in time for the fight for Okinawa. Young Adams, who had to be hospitalized before seeing his combat, now feels superior to the green troops arriving with him, but he learns quickly that combat veterans are not ready to accept him as an equal despite this being his second arrival in the theater. He will have to prove himself under fire first ¿ something he will be given the opportunity to do many times over the several weeks it will take to wear down the island¿s Japanese defenders.General Mitsuru Ushijima is in charge of defending Okinawa and its precious air fields from the American invaders. A realist, Ushijima knows that there is virtually no chance that he will be successful, and that the best he can hope to accomplish is to prolong the battle as long as possible while maximizing American losses. He is willing to fight to the last man, but he knows that his best chance is to strike from within his vast network of caves and hidey-holes ¿ no mass suicide attacks are in his plans despite the assurances of fellow General Isamu Cho that a huge counteroffensive will drive the Americans back to the beaches.Colonel Paul Tibbets is pilot of the Enola Gay (named after his own mother), the B-29 from which the first atomic bomb is dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. This mission, along with a second bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later, finally convinces the Japanese to end the war. Jeff Shaara does not attempt to rewrite history to fit today¿s more modern sensibilities. Colonel Tibbets, and the men who make the decision to use the bomb, have few doubts about what they are about to do. They see the super weapon as the best opportunity to end the war without the sacrifice of the several hundred thousand lives likely to be lost to any invasion of Japan by Allied forces. They seize that opportunity.The Final Storm is a moving and effective depiction of the final months of the War in the Pacific - exactly as it was experienced by some of the men who were there. Shaara¿s storytelling is, in fact, so effective that it is easy to forget that his main characters are all real people. The book¿s ¿Afterword¿ section, in which Shaara details what happened to his key characters following the war, might even be a bit jarring for some readers.Rated at: 4.5
stevetempo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jeff Shaara's recent novel The Final Storm (A Novel of the War in The Pacific) is more then just an Historical Novel, it is a Novel of History. A Novel of History being a story that centers around a real event that might include real life characters. While I haven't read the first three books of this series of World War II, I found this the final book in the series, to provide an immersing understanding of these world changing events. This book tells the story of the taking of Okinawa and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Japan. Mr. Shaara does this wonderfully by giving the reader several vantage points of these historical moments. For example, he takes you into the minds and hearts of the commanders and leaders who must wrestle with the most difficult of decisions in conducting the war. His story also allows you to feel and touch the horrendous moments of a US Marine engaged in combat. Several haunting scenes crafted by the narrative will stay with me forever. A engaging story with memorable characters, that touched me and increased my appreciation, of all who have made incredible sacrifices in the defense of their country. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, especially military history.
hippypaul on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The final storm is the fourth book by Mr. Shaara dealing with the Second World War. It traces the end of the war in the pacific and the post war path of the major players. It covers the invasion of Okinawa as seen from several viewpoints. The American side is represented by a front line Marine rifleman and by the operational commander Admiral Nimitz. The Japanese side is portrayed by General Mitsuru Ushijima who commanded the defending forces on the island. The description of the ground combat is brutal and explicit. The fighting on Okinawa resulted in the largest number of killed and wounded in the Pacific Theater. Japan lost over 100,000 troops with very few being captured and the US had more than 50,000 killed or wounded. In the mist of this horrible fighting thousands of local civilians were killed or committed suicide in the belief that they would be killed by the invading US forces. The final section of the novel deals with the deployment and use of two nuclear weapons against cities in Japan. This is seen from the viewpoint of President Truman and Colonel Paul Tibbets. Truman had only learned of the devise after the death of President Roosevelt and his sudden succession to the presidency on April 12, 1945. Colonel Tibbets was the commander of the 509th Composite Group and flew the Enola Gay, the aircraft that delivered the first weapon to the city of Hiroshima. Mr. Shaara again writes a compelling work based on careful research. However, as he is careful to note, this is a novel of the war in the pacific. He tries to show us what the thoughts and feelings of the people involved might have been. I think he succeeds in full measure and recommend this book wholeheartedly. A free copy of this book was provided for the purpose of review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done look and a part of the war often over looked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EllenParker More than 1 year ago
A good telling of a necessary story. Has all the lessons of a "lest we forget" within a storyline that kept the pages turning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago