HISTORY

Crucible of Hell: The Heroism and Tragedy of Okinawa, 1945

Hachette. Apr. 2020. 448p. ISBN 9780316534673. $30. HIST
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British military historian, novelist, and broadcaster David (The Force: The Legendary Special Ops Unit and WWII’s Mission Impossible) recounts the horrors, heroism, and tragedies experienced by the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and civilians at the 1944 Battle of Okinawa. Vivid accounts include the stories of Okinawan teenagers pressed into medical or combat service for the Japanese Army, sailors in sinking U.S. warships struck by Japanese suicide attacks, U.S. soldiers raiding strongly fortified Japanese positions, and the death of journalist and war correspondent Ernie Pyle. David integrates these personal tales with the larger strategic and tactical narrative of the battle, addressing how U.S. and Japanese generals and admirals led their forces. The author cites the Battle of Okinawa and the number of U.S. causalities as a key factor in the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In his view, the bombing was justified and helped end the war.
VERDICT Readers interested in rich foxhole perspectives in the Pacific theater of World War II will find this book worthwhile.

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