The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific by Jeff Shaara is a historical fiction novel which focuses on America’s war in the Pacific instead of Europe. Mr. Shaara points out that he didn’t intend to write this book but got many letters for fans and WWII veterans who fought there.
Good for us!
The book follows the battle of Okinawa through the eyes of the grunts on the ground and the commanders of both the American and Japanese forces. The last part of the book follows the days leading to dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima mostly through the eyes of President Truman and pilot Paul Tibbets.
The Final Storm by Jeff Shaara picks up where his earlier World War II trilogy ended. The war in Europe is all but over; however, Japan is stubborn as ever despite massive loses.
True to form, each chapter in the book introduces the war from a perspective of a historical figure. Most of the story is told through the eyes of Marine private Clay Adams and his fight on Okinawa. The battle is also told through Japanese general Mitsuru Ushijima, commander of the forces on Okinawa. Both men are true soldiers who will do their duty or die trying to.
The last section of the book focuses on the atomic bomb, mostly seen through the eyes of President Truman and pilot Paul Tibbets. Mr. Shaara tries to bring in a few opposing points of view to the bomb, however he makes his position perfectly clear: the bomb helped save American lives, Japanese lives and ended World War II.
By contrasting the horrors of facing the soldiers on Okinawa and making sure the reader understands that the American soldiers will face these same horrors in every hamlet in Japan.
This is a moving and riveting book – one of Shaara’s best (and I thought most of them were very good). Mr. Shaara manages to show how otherwise decent people sometimes descended to atrocious acts when faced with the horrors of war.
A lesson we are still learning today.
As is done in all his books, the “Afterward” section is interesting and enlightening, letting the reader know what happened with those individuals they just read about after the war. It is important to remember that Mr. Shaara uses real people, even those we have never heard about; they are the backbone of our country, however.