Black Snow: Curtis LeMay, the Firebombing of Tokyo, and the Road to the Atomic Bomb

Highbridge Audio. Sept. 2022. 12:59 hrs. ISBN 9781696608671. $24.99. MILITARY HIST
L.J. Ganser narrates Scott’s (Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila) history of the strategic incendiary WWII bombing campaign against Japan by the U.S. Air Force with flair and feeling. Each chapter begins with an eloquently voiced quote, setting the tone for the content that follows. The production opens with the creation of the new Boeing B-29 Superfortress and then segues into the life of General Curtis LeMay, the commanding officer of the XXI Bomber Command, who both planned and executed the 1945 bombing strategy. Scott details the political and logistical path of the air war in Asia and concludes just after the dropping of the first atomic bomb. Ganser’s voice enlivens the vindication LeMay felt during the bombing campaign; the guilt, remorse, and depression felt by some of the Americans after bombing missions; and both the overwhelming sense of loss and the horror felt by Japanese civilians when viewing the total devastation of their homes and livelihoods. Ganser’s pronunciation of Japanese names and places is generally commendable.
VERDICT This harrowing narrative includes the point of view of Japanese civilians who were victims of the U.S. war strategy; a timely reminder of the human costs of war.
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