• Bloody Okinawa

  • The Last Great Battle of World War II
  • By: Joseph Wheelan
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 13 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Asia
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (63 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

A stirring narrative of World War II's final major battle - the Pacific war's largest, bloodiest, most savagely fought campaign - the last of its kind.

On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, more than 184,000 US troops began landing on the only Japanese home soil invaded during the Pacific war. Just 350 miles from mainland Japan, Okinawa was to serve as a forward base for Japan's invasion in the fall of 1945. 

Nearly 140,000 Japanese and auxiliary soldiers fought with suicidal tenacity from hollowed-out, fortified hills and ridges. Under constant fire and in the rain and mud, the Americans battered the defenders with artillery, aerial bombing, naval gunfire, and every infantry tool. Waves of Japanese kamikaze and conventional warplanes sank 36 warships, damaged 368 others, and killed nearly 5,000 US seamen. 

When the slugfest ended after 82 days, more than 125,000 enemy soldiers lay dead - along with 7,500 US ground troops. Tragically, more than 100,000 Okinawa civilians perished while trapped between the armies. The brutal campaign persuaded US leaders to drop the atomic bomb instead of invading Japan. 

Utilizing accounts by US combatants and Japanese sources, author Joseph Wheelan endows this riveting story of the war's last great battle with a compelling human dimension.

©2020 Joseph Wheelan (P)2020 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

"Bloody Okinawa puts the reader in the heart one of the war's largest battles through the eyes of the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen who experienced the fighting firsthand. Wheelan also captures the perspective of the civilians and Japanese. Storming Japanese pill boxes and relentless kamikaze attacks punctuate a narrative that places the reader in the vortex of this enormous struggle. Gripping and harrowing, the book brings to life the battle so savage that it influenced America's decision to drop the atomic bomb." (Patrick K. O'Donnell, award-winning and best-selling author of The Unknowns: The Untold Story of American's Unknown Soldier and WWI's Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home)

"In Bloody Okinawa Joseph Wheelan presents us with a rich narrative tapestry of the final great battle of World War II. To cite Wheelan himself, his book's 'scenes of nearly indescribable carnage' mixed with his insightful knowledge of military history are as breathtaking as they are unforgettable. This book belongs not only on the shelves of readers World War II non-fiction, but in the library of anyone interested in the horror, bravery, and compassion that total war brings out in American fighting men." (Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, best-selling authors of The Last Stand of Fox Company, Halsey's Typhoon, and The Heart of Everything That Is)

What listeners say about Bloody Okinawa

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Very Technical

The battle of Okinawa was the defining moment in the Pacific Theatre, as it was the last island battle. "Bloody Okinawa" is extremely technical, and this is made worse by narrator George Newbern. Now George Newbern is a wonderful narrator, and this is nothing against him. His work in other genres, and other history books too, is noteworthy. This is just not a book where his talents are put to use. He accents certain words making the reading more laborious and tedious. This book appears to be one that would be better read instead of in audio.

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Recomendado

Para descendente de okinawanos conhecerem sua história. O livro narra muito bemnem riqueza de detalhes a batalha.

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read it yourself

had to buy this book and read it myself. personally I couldn't stand the reader.

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  • S. Morris
  • 11-19-21

Superbly Detailed

I've read a few books about the battle for Okinawa and this is one of the better ones. That's not to say other books are bad, no. It's just that this one doesn't entirely focus on the land battle. It also gives time over to those at sea around the island, in the air and also those on the Japanese side of the conflict.

By including the Japanese perspective, this book offers counterpoint and balance to the nature of the battle, rather than the one sided story we so often hear. There were things here I didn't know despite reading other books about this battle. In addition, this book covers the efforts of the U.S army and not just the U.S Marine corps, as it seems other books tend to do.

The only difficulty I had was the nature of how timelines were dealt with. I'd have preferred a more linear story, moving from unit to unit and switching between the U.S and Japanese forces as the battle unfolded rather than the back and forth chronology bas narrative structure the author uses as we skip between various units and different dates. It can make for some difficulty understanding the progress of the battle at times. The only other very minor gripe I had was with the narrator. In all respects, bar one, he was fine. I found his delivery a shade too fast at times, his reading becoming a near staccato of words, making absorbing what was being said just a little harder. In fact, I had to slow down his narration by about 15% to find a perfect speed for me.

This book is meticulously researched and well written. It will provide you one of the best overall pictures of the military aspect of this brutal battle. It's rather light on information about the civilians caught up in this massive conflict. So I would recommend Crucible of Hell: Okinawa: The Last Great Battle of the Second World War by Saul David in which, amongst the usual military coverage, the plight of the Okinawans is covered in great detail.

So far, Bloody Okinawa: The Last Great Battle of World War II, is the best book in terms of the overall military picture I've read.