Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

"Okinawa: The Last Battle", a Book Review

Discussion in 'The Pacific and CBI' started by George Patton, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,145
    Likes Received:
    1,096
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    This was written by 4 US Army historians (Maj. Roy Appleman, Sgt. James Burns, Cpt. Russell Gugeler & Col. John Stevens) in 1947 as part of the official "Green Book" historiography series of WW2. In 2011 it was republished as a stand-alone book by Skyhorse -- presumably because (I believe) the entire "Green Book" series is in the public domain and they don't have to pay to use it.

    Good:
    • Lots (and I mean lots) of very detailed information. For example, if you want to know which captain led the assault on Hill "X", it'll be in here. If you want to know what type of artillery the Japanese had and in what numbers, it'll be in here.
    • Very thorough. It doesn't glance over much about the American side of the battle.
    • Excellent source and research aid.
    • Very limited analysis and/or "spin" given by the authors (and by extension, limited distortion of the history). Don't expect them to talk about whether the attack on a target was useful or productive -- the book presents the facts with little commentary.
    • The authors were there during the battle, which makes comments about things like the whether and organization more accurate.
    Bad:
    • Dry writing style. I found it useful to read because of the detailed information in it, but I couldn't read more than one or two chapters a night.
    • Very few first-person accounts. The few that are in the book are blunt and to the point -- they rarely last more than 2 lines, and its very rare to hear from the same person twice.
    • The book lacks most of the images and diagrams in the official "Green Books", which are kind of important.
    • Very limited references to the Japanese side of the battle. It also presents a very stylized depiction of how the Japanese commanders committed suicide -- it is the only "creative" part in the book.
    • Very limited accounts of "average soldiers" -- I don't think it mentions more than a dozen soldiers who didn't receive the DSC or above.
    • I'm nit-picking here, but the cover artwork is absolutely pitiful -- it would be more appealing in-store if it had proper artwork instead of something that I could have made in Microsoft Paint.
    Conclusion:
    This is a very "technical" book in that it tells you which units were at which battles, who was in command and why the battle was important. Mixed with this are the important acts (ie: the DSC/MOH actions), limited first-hand accounts and stories about supply/weather difficulties. As I said, it doesn't have very much on the Japanese side of the battle. Don't get this book if you want an exciting read -- it isn't (if you want this, look at getting Sterling Mace's book). Get it if you want a very technical description of the last battle of WWII written by the men who were there.
     
    lwd and belasar like this.
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,384
    Likes Received:
    1,129
    Good review, I read a few books like this. Some of it great and generally well made, but you struggle to define to whom you can reccomend it to.
     

Share This Page