Book Review: Fire from the Sky: Surviving the Kamikaze Threat


by Robert Stern

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2010. Pp. xvi, 384. Illus., maps, diagr., appends., notes, biblio., index. $49.95. ISBN: 1591142679

Fire from the Sky is a fresh look at the kamikaze threat in the final year of the Pacific War

A British naval historian, Stern, author of such works as Hunter Hunted: Submarine Versus Submarine Encounters from World War I to the Present, gives us a very comprehensive account of kamikaze attacks, going well beyond most earlier treatments.  He opens with an account of "Portents and Precursors," discussing incidents of suicide attacksby Japanese forces before the introduction of suicide as a formal tactic, on October 25, 1944.  He goes on to look at the reasoning behind the development of the kamikaze, with a detailed account of the first series of attacks.  The book then deals with the several kamikaze "campaigns" (Philippines, October '44-January '45), Iwo Jima (January-March '45), Okinawa (March-June '45), concluding with two chapters on "Kamikaze Tactics," on attack and defense techniques, plus a final one on "Armageddon Avoided," about Japanese plans for the use of kamikaze in preparation for the defense of the Home Islands. 

An important work for anyone interested in the Pacific War.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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