HISTORY

Last Mission to Tokyo: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raiders and Their Final Fight for Justice

S. & S. Jul. 2020. 480p. ISBN 9781501104718. $28. HIST
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The Doolittle Raiders’ bombing mission over Tokyo in 1942 captured the imaginations of Americans anxious for revenge for Pearl Harbor. The captured Raiders endured torture and deprivation at the hands of the Japanese, with three fliers executed in the closing weeks of the war. In his first book, international lawyer Paradis describes the efforts to bring to trial those responsible for these war crimes. After an intense manhunt, three Japanese army officers were indicted: Shigeru Sawada, Okada Ryuhei, and Wako Yusei. Many believed the outcome of the trial was a foregone conclusion. The spirited defense by American military lawyers called into question the extent of the defendants’ guilt and showed how the official narrative of the raid contained many unexpected turns. The guilty verdicts were unsurprising; however, the announcement of prison time instead of the death penalty outraged many, leading to calls for another trial or resentencing. Based on extensive archival research, this narrative by Paradis expertly renders the complexities and nuances of war crimes trials into readable prose as well as fleshing out the backstories and personalities of the major protagonists.
VERDICT Will appeal to readers of military and World War II history and legal thrillers.

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