Book Review: The Japanese Navy in World War II, in the Words of Former Japanese Naval Officers

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by David C. Evans, editor

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2017. Pp. xxiv, 568. Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio., index. $34.95 paper. ISBN: 1591145686

Japanese Views on the Pacific War

Originally published in 1969, The Japanese Navy in World War II was virtually the only thing available that looked at the Pacific war as experienced by the Japanese officers who helped plan, command, and fight it. As such, the book quickly becoming an essential read for anyone interested in the naval war in the Pacific, and a revised and expanded second edition appeared in 1986, which is the edition under review here, available in paperback for the first time.

The work consists of seventeen papers, by surviving participants in the events. Although more recent scholarship has revealed flaws in almost all of the essays, some, such as Raizo Tanaka’s piece on Guadalcanal or Atsushi Oi’s on Japanese anti-submarine operations, have stood up rather well. In contrast, the essays on Pearl Harbor and Midway essays by Mitsuo Fuchida, who has since been revealed as a shameless self-promoter, have been largely discredited on the basis of more recent research.

Despite its age, and the obvious flaws, The Japanese Navy in World War II remains valuable for anyone doing serious research into the Pacific war.

Note: The Japanese Navy in World War II is also available in several e-editions

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Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   


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