David Knights' Weblog

November 23, 2012

Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:40 pm
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Book cover

Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service
By Peter J Edwards
ISBN:978-1-84884-307-3
346 pgs
32pgs of B & W photos

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!  I don’t think I have ever reviewed a book before and come to the conclusion that it had absolutely no redeeming value to it.  So, this is a first.

This book purports to be a history of the JNAF from its founding to its destruction at the end of WWII.  It isn’t.  I am not sure what it is.  I wish I could tell you.  I am not making any of the following up.  I swear.

The first 40 pages or so of the book give a brief overview of the history of Japan and the rise of Japan in the post Meiji period.  It reads as either a: a post-WWII right wing Japanese version of history, or b: a view of the history of Japan and the Far East from a Marxist/Leninist perspective.  Really, it does.  As I was reading I kept checking to make sure that this wasn’t a translation of a work of Japanese author.  The “history” kept emphasizing the close relationship that Japan (particularly the Japanese Navy) had with Great Britain, which is true.  However, the author states that the break in relations between Japan and Great Britain between WWI and WWII was a result of a commercialist plot by the US to strip Great Britain of her colonies in order to advance US commercial interests.

From this we move into the heart of the book.  The book chronicles the development of the home grown Japanese aviation industry (with much British technical support).  It then gets to the heart of the matter, the history of the JNAF in the conflict in China and in WWII.  Here the book wanders back and forth, with no clear narrative.  It repeats facts and stories multiple times on different pages.  One of the threads in this part of the book is the extended development of the A7M (SAM) successor to the A6M (ZERO).  However the information is presented in such a disjointed manner that it is impossible to follow.  It really does read as if it has been translated directly from a foreign language. Also, I am not sure I’d believe as fact anything present in this book as a fact.  In the book, we learn, as a fact, that Amelia Earhart was on a spy mission for the US.  She crashed on an island in the Marshalls chain, was captured by the Japanese and died in captivity.  Further, when the US captured the Marshalls, Marines found her grave and returned her body to the US where it is secretly buried, with the knowledge of her immediate family.  (Again I am not making this up.)

I really wish I could find something positive to say about this book.  I’ve tried quite hard, but there is simply nothing to recommend it.  I bought the book off Amazon for about $15.00.  I won’t even sell this book back for the dollar or so that Amazon would give me, as I wouldn’t want to inflict it on anyone else.

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