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Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot’s Own Spectacular Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons – Paperback

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Kamikaze squadrons recruited teenage boys and converted them into human bombs. These boys became suicide pilots whose sole purpose was to die for the Emperor. During World War II, the Kamikaze caused the greatest losses in the history of the United States Navy.At age 15, Yasuo Kuwahara entered military service where he suffered through basic training so brutal, nine men of his squadron committed suicide. After qualifying for fighter pilot school, he survived ferocious aerial combat and barely escaped death at the hands of the American enemy. Upon receipt of his final attack orders he returned home near Hiroshima to bid farewell to his family, but amazingly escaped his suicide mission due to one of the cruelest ironies of World War II. 7th Edition

1 review for Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot’s Own Spectacular Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons – Paperback

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    Adult/High School—This classic World War II autobiography, first published in 1957, opens when Kuwahara received a visitor one night in 1943. While the gentleman had come under the pretense of congratulating the teen for his high academic achievements, it soon became obvious that he really intended to recruit him for a regiment in the Japanese Emperor’s air force. Kuwahara trained as a kamikaze pilot, a pilot who straps himself into a plane and then divebombs into the target to gain glory and honor for himself and the Japanese Empire. His training is depicted as inhuman; he was beaten and tormented on a daily basis, all to devalue his own sense of humanity and individuality. It’s absolutely terrifying reading about boys and young men so ready to plunge to their deaths. For balance, the author shows a number of people who spoke out against the war effort, a surprising detail that confronts the decades-old stereotype of an entire nation rallying hopelessly behind a dying empire. The book closes with a grim portrayal of the U.S.’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima and its grisly aftermath. Through the eyes of a terrified young man, Kuwahara’s descriptions of the horrors of war are accessible and compelling to teens. This book has not become dated, and readers will appreciate the updated introduction, written in light of its 50th anniversary.—Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA
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