April 1945. The end of World War II finally appears to be nearing. The Nazis are collapsing in Europe, and the Americans are vastly overpowering the Japanese in the Pacific. For a group of pilots in their early 20s who were trained during the twilight of the war, the biggest concern is that they'll never actually see real action and will go home without having a chance to face the enemy. They call themselves Tail-End Charlies. They fly at the tail end of formations, stand at the tail end of chow lines, and now they are prepared for battle at the tail end of the war. Little do they know that they will be key players in the most difficult and bloodiest of naval battles---not only of World War II but in all of American history: the campaign to take the Japanese island of Okinawa to serve as a basis for an eventual invasion of Japan. Derived from interviews with and newly discovered memoirs, journals, and correspondence of Okinawa veterans from both the American and Japanese sides, The Twilight Warriors provides a thrilling you-are-there narrative. Like the HBO series The Pacific, this book combines thrilling action with human stories of courage and sacrifice and triumph. It's Band of Brothers at sea and in the sky.
©2010 Robert Gandt (P)2010 Tantor
Twilight Warriors was very good on several levels. I have read/listened to many books on the War and this one does an excellent job of combining all three phases of the battle for Okinawa: air, land and sea. Plus the author delves into the lives of the common soldier/sailor/flyer but also provides insight into the Naval admirals as well. And he does this for the Japanese combatants as well. It's rare to find this much detail in one book. My only complaint is that you find yourself wanting more detail about the experiences of certain people over others but then the book would have been twice as long. There is more time spent on the flyers that the other two parts of the battle but again, there is only so much that can be provided in a book of this size. Overall, the author weaves the story together quite well.
The reader also did an excellent job. His tone and timing and voice quality were excellent. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in the Pacific War.
It is a good telling of the Okinawa conflict, but lacks drama. The narrator was clear and audible, but lacked drama of a major battle. Over 100,000 Japanese soldiers died in this battle and I believe that many or more civilians, but I didn't walk away feeling the major loss of life. The book does include Japanese events and soldiers accounts, but again if you lost so many in several weeks then where is the pain, shame and suffering? The American GI's were gung ho young soldiers. Most were "tail end Charlie's" who wanted to get into the war before it was over. A tribute to that generation who were very willing to defend their country and contribute their lives to the war. I don't see that in the current generation.
If you want to learn general knowledge of battle and terms and details of which I was not aware of then it is a good quick read. Such as the Yamata was the largest battleship in the Pacific, or the use of oka's with the kamikaze pilots.
Twilight Warriors is a great book for those interested in the technical and human elements at work in an epic battle. The beginning of the book delves into the preparations for the invasion of Okinawa and those who thought that they would never see action. They were very mistakened. It becomes a struggle between two forces bent on destroying one another but for different reasons which become apparent. It commemorates the bravery and valor of American troops and a religious fanaticism that drove Japanese men to die in suicide fashion to drive off the American ships. John Pruden does a great narration on this fabulous book.
A great book! This book had more history about the war in the Pacific than any other book I have ever read. The writing is flawless and the narration is fantastic.
If you are into WWII history, this is a must have!
Retired and enjoying audiobooks while engaged in my favorite hobby, building model airplanes.
I knew about the ships and aircraft in the story and served on the USS Bennington mentioned in the story. Much later however.
The Japanese planned attack by Japanese Betty bombers carrying the Baka Bombs
Good reading, factual and certainly not boring.
Robert Gandt gives a good mix of very personal views and the overall big picture of the horrific battle in the last months of World War II, from both American and Japanese sides. There is, due to the recurring type of events, some repetition, but he usually makes it interesting and fresh. There is also repetition of a certain stylistic quirk in Gandt's writing (it seemed like the worst attack was over. It wasn't!) that is mildly annoying, but that is a minor thing. This book is best when describing air action and the intensity of shipboard defense, less compelling in the description of land action, which was clearly secondary to the writer. Still, it brings home the madness of war, especially when one side was often willing to die for honor. Pruden is a good, clear narrator for the audio version.
This is a history book written as a novel. It is an extremely well done and captivating book. The narration is top notch. I enjoy WW2 history and I'm sure that contributes to this being one of the best audiobooks I've listened to.
This book is an excellent description of the battle of Okinawa, but its focus on USS Intrepid seemed a little artificial and unnecessary.
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