Kamikaze - A Japanese Pilot's Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons
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Yasuo Kuwahara, Gordon T. Allred "Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot's Own Spectacular Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons"
American Legacy Media | 2007-04-01 | ISBN: 0976154757 | 272 pages | PDF | 1,2 MB
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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