• by Mitsuo Fuchida, Masatake Okumiya
  • Narrated by Terence Aselford
  • 7 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This landmark study was first published in English by the Naval Institute in 1955. Widely acknowledged for its valuable Japanese insights into the battle that turned the tide of war in the Pacific, the book has made a great impact on American readers over the years. Two Japanese naval aviators who participated in the operation provide an unsparing analysis of what caused Japan's staggering defeat.Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the first air strike on Pearl Harbor, commanded the Akagi carrier air group and later made a study of the battle at the Japanese Naval War College. Masatake Okumiya, one of Japan's first dive-bomber pilots, was aboard the light carrier Ryujo and later served as a staff officer in a carrier division. Armed with knowledge of top-secret documents destroyed by the Japanese and access to private papers, they show the operation to be ill-conceived and poorly planned and executed, and fault their flag officers for lacking initiative, leadership, and clear thinking. With an introduction by an author known for his study of the battle from the American perspective, the work continues to make a significant contribution to World War II literature.


What the Critics Say

"Midway gives an enlightening account of the Japanese naval leaders of the time, placing a new perspective on their abilities, shortcomings, and their ways of thinking and acting." (Military Review)
"Captain Fuchida's and Commander Okumiya's clear style should satisfy both the casual [listener] and the naval strategist." (Baltimore Sun)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Edge of your seat history

This Japanese point of view of the battle of Midway is well written and edited. The reader is excellent in voice and tone. He brings out the excitement of the battle easily. The authors also give a nice history of Pearl Harbour and the reasons for the attack.

The low tech of WWII is interesting in light of today's smart bombs and cruise missles. The air war was waged with cross hair bomb sites and seat-of-your-pants luck. Used to watching the video of a smart bomb drop into the smokestack of the bad guys' bunker, I was greatly disturbed and irritated by the many misses of the pilots who dropped their bombs and torpedos ineffectively at Midway only to die in the attempt. What's clear though is that guiding your dive bomber through a shower of high caliber lead and keeping your concentration is unfathomable to anyone who has not been in combat.

The arrogance and hide-bound traditions of the Japanese were a part of their downfall at Midway, but there was an ample amount of bad luck, always an undervalued element of war. The battle could have gone the other way but for the outcome of seemly minor events.

It's apparent in this account of Midway that the loss of life was not simply the removal of so many pieces from the battle maps but the loss of human beings with friends, family, and loyal shipmates. The Japanese are human too, whatever your evaluation of their motives. These sailors went to war for a cause they thought was just, fighting a foe whose resolve was just as determined. In the end the book is about the stupidity and pathos of armed conflict. Midway was the turning point of the war in the Pacific. At Midway Japan was severely beaten and never recovered, yet slogged on for three more years all for the glory of an the god-emperor who, later during the American occupation of the home island, confessed to his people that he and his ancestors were not divine. In essence he was saying that, if you fought for the me, you fought for nothing.
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- Amazon Customer

A Classic Whose Truth Has Now Been Challenged

I've been a Midway buff for most of my adult life. An incredibly dramatic story that Hollywood should definitely try again to tell after the awful star-filled bomb of 1976. I had read all the books on the American side, all of which relied heavily on Fuchida's book for the Japanese side.

But I had never read (heard) Fuchida's book until now. There is a lot to be learned from it. Japanese over-confidence that led them to cheating on their own war games of the battle. The crazy deployment by Admiral Yamamoto of Japan's enormous naval force. The eyewitness account of the battle itself.

I'm glad that I read it. But if you've been away from World War II naval history for a while, you should know that 2005's Shattered Sword is now the definitive book on the Midway battle. For the Japanese side it relies on testimony of survivors and the translation of many Japanese documents into English for the first time.

And it claims to bust many long-time myths about Midway. For example, that the sacrifice of Torpedo 8 was not in vain because it brought the Japanese fighters down to an altitude where they could not recover in time to intercept the dive bombers. (The dive bombers did not attack until a whole hour after the torpedo strike.) When the American dive bombers struck, the Japanese carrier decks were full of airplanes beginning to take off to attack the American carriers. (The decks were clear of planes at the time, although secondary explosions in the hanger decks doomed the carriers.)

Shattered Sword accuses Fuchida's book of many inaccuracies, calling some of them intentional. The "two-phase" search plan that Fuchida criticizes his commanders for not employing, according to the authors of the new book, was not part of Japanese or American doctrine in 1942.

So listen to Fuchida's book and read Shattered Sword and decide for yourself.
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- Ol'BlueEyes

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-04-2003
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press