Midway

  • 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.

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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

Unique Japanese perspective of Midway

It's not often that one finds a well-written book detailing the losing side's perspective of a battle.
The book is written well, with a fairly balanced perspective.

Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya provide a frank assessment of Japanese strategy from Pearl Harbor through Midway. The insider view from airmen who were on the bombed Japanese carriers is stunning.

The narrative brings out the authors' respect for the Japanese admirals in charge of the Midway effort. At the same time it is critical of their strategic errors and arrogance in the planning of the Midway campaign. It details the absence of radar, poor execution, bad search strategy and poor leadership decisions at critical points of the Midway battle.

If you are looking for a detailing of atrocities, or any reference to them, you won't find them in this book. You will, however, gain an appreciation for naval strategy and aircraft-carrier warfare. You'll walk away realizing the US was good, but more importantly, very lucky at Midway. A little fog, a little cloud cover, and a couple of poor decisions at the worst possible time by the Japanese Navy admirals swung the momentum in America's favor.

The book was a fantastic listen, and I couldn't stop listening once I'd started. I gave this 4 stars as the narration was a bit monotone. It's still a great listen, and I plan to listen to it again in the near future.
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- RK

Book Details

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