Yukikaze’s War: The Unsinkable Japanese Destroyer and World War II in the Pacific

Cambridge Univ. Jun. 2024. 311p. ISBN 9781108837293. $29.95. MILITARY HISTORY
Yukikaze (Japanese for “snow wind”—in other words, a snowstorm or blizzard) was one of 82 modern destroyers in the Japanese navy in 1941 and the only destroyer to survive World War II. Despite the loss of the ship’s records, historian and experienced boat captain Walker’s (Japanese history, Montana State Univ.; A Concise History of Japan) book is able to recreate the ship’s travels and place within Japanese society and its navy. His descriptions of what the sailors wore, ate, learned, and experienced in harrowing battles offer a window into some of the forces that propelled this military unit and Japan into a disastrous situation in which a majority of its vessels were sunk. Privation and hard work were hallmarks of the Japanese navy, and the loyal crews did their best to serve the emperor and the expectations of the Japanese military and society. Yukikaze was eventually claimed by the U.S. Navy and transferred to the Republic of China. The paucity of original source material is evident in the book’s endnotes, but Allied records support Walker’s narrative.
VERDICT This solid history of Japan’s Yukikaze naval destroyer is worth adding to collections.
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