The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific

by Jeff Shaara

Hardcover, 2011

Call number

FIC SHA

Collection

Publication

Ballantine Books (2011), Edition: First Edition, 446 pages

Description

A fictional account of the struggle for Okinawa through the eyes of combatants on both sides: Private Clay Adams, Admiral Chester Nimitz, General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., and General Mitsura Ushijima, the Japanese general in charge of defending the island.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Neilsantos
Mr Shaara comes through. He makes a theatre that I don't find especially interesting (the Pacific) entertaining and informational. I'm not sure if the focus on his Adams character is beneficial to the big story of the war, but it is essential to the story that Shaara is telling. Having this be the
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brother to the Adams character of the WW2 trilogy isn't essential.
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LibraryThing member SamSattler
Jeff Shaara’s World War II trilogy (The Rising Tide, The Steel Wave, and No Less Than Victory) focuses entirely on the war as it was fought in Europe and North Africa. Now, at least in part because he heard from so many WWII veterans and fans of his historical fiction that he should take on the
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war fought in the Pacific, Shaara offers The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific. In this single volume, Shaara turns his attention to the final months of the war against Japan, particularly the battle for the airfields of Okinawa and the dropping of the two atomic bombs that finally ended the war.

As he has done in past novels, Shaara tells this story of brutal warfare through the eyes of some of the actual men who were on either side of the battle line, be they of the lowest or the highest ranks. Among the many characters he uses, are three key “narrators,” Private Clay Adams, Japanese General Mitsuru Ushijima, and Colonel Paul Tibbets.

Private Adams is a young marine whose recovering health has allowed him to return to the Pacific just in time for the fight for Okinawa. Young Adams, who had to be hospitalized before seeing his combat, now feels superior to the green troops arriving with him, but he learns quickly that combat veterans are not ready to accept him as an equal despite this being his second arrival in the theater. He will have to prove himself under fire first – something he will be given the opportunity to do many times over the several weeks it will take to wear down the island’s Japanese defenders.

General Mitsuru Ushijima is in charge of defending Okinawa and its precious air fields from the American invaders. A realist, Ushijima knows that there is virtually no chance that he will be successful, and that the best he can hope to accomplish is to prolong the battle as long as possible while maximizing American losses. He is willing to fight to the last man, but he knows that his best chance is to strike from within his vast network of caves and hidey-holes – no mass suicide attacks are in his plans despite the assurances of fellow General Isamu Cho that a huge counteroffensive will drive the Americans back to the beaches.

Colonel Paul Tibbets is pilot of the Enola Gay (named after his own mother), the B-29 from which the first atomic bomb is dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. This mission, along with a second bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later, finally convinces the Japanese to end the war. Jeff Shaara does not attempt to rewrite history to fit today’s more modern sensibilities. Colonel Tibbets, and the men who make the decision to use the bomb, have few doubts about what they are about to do. They see the super weapon as the best opportunity to end the war without the sacrifice of the several hundred thousand lives likely to be lost to any invasion of Japan by Allied forces. They seize that opportunity.

The Final Storm is a moving and effective depiction of the final months of the War in the Pacific - exactly as it was experienced by some of the men who were there. Shaara’s storytelling is, in fact, so effective that it is easy to forget that his main characters are all real people. The book’s “Afterword” section, in which Shaara details what happened to his key characters following the war, might even be a bit jarring for some readers.

Rated at: 4.5
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LibraryThing member queencersei
The Final Storm, a novel about World War II, focuses mainly on the battle of Okinawa, from the point of view of both the Americans and the Japanese. The battle over the island is recounted in graphic detail as Americans fight Japanese soldiers who believe there is no greater honor then dying in
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battle on behalf of their Emperor and their country. The American troops are at first appalled and then numb to the carnage that surrounds them as the campaign drags on.

The last third of the book gives an overview of the decision to drop the atomic bombs and the aftermath of the war is quickly explored. Readers can appreciate the details of the events leading up the flight of the Enola Gay and the mention that the scientists involved are given.

For World War II enthusiasts, no new ground is covered. But Jeff Shaara does an effective job of covering the final months of the war in the Pacific. And his writing from the point of view of both the military leaders and American ground forces is readable.
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LibraryThing member sandbarjack
The Final Storm took me by surprise. I rarely read historical fiction because the there is generally a viewpoint to sell and I enjoy making mine from scratch. That is definitely not the case here. There are no overblown heroes from the "winning" side. Jeff Shaara tells a tale of people at war;
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leaving the judgments to the reader.
The book tells the story of the war in the Pacific from Okinawa to the Japanese surrender from both sides. The differences in culture and viewpoint are there, but they are more matters of fact than author bias. This makes for enjoyable reading. The book moves along quickly weaving battles of fictional Pvt. Adams with the views of historical figures.
The Final Storm is both entertaining and thoughtful; as all good stories are. I was especially impressed with the post-war depiction Pvt. Adams--it is as real as history itself. Read this book.
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LibraryThing member Boobalack
I have been searching my brain for a good adjective to describe this author’s writing style. I found it: “subtle.” You’ll be reading along, absorbed in the story and in the history, when suddenly you’ll find yourself on the verge of tears. Some movies slap you in the face. Others creep up
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on you. Some books slap you in the face. Others, like this one, creep up on you. This is not to say that Mr. Shaara doesn’t describe the affects of having a buddy’s being blown up right beside you or the other horrible happenings of war. He does. He simply leads you to it in a very gentle way. Even though his style is rather low-key, he paints a vivid picture.

This book covers the Pacific Theater of Operation during World War II. The author follows both enlisted men and officers, both Japanese and American, through many battles, the most coverage being given to Okinawa. He also takes you inside the mind of Col. Paul Tibbetts, the pilot of the Enola Gay, which, in case you didn’t know, is the name of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Mr. Shaara furnishes a picture of the psyche of the Japanese soldier, from the lowest rank to the highest. Most people in Western cultures simply do not understand the Japanese concept of honor. Too many people just consider the Japanese of old to be savages with no morals, much in the same way the Native Americans were judged to be.

I especially appreciated the Afterword section, which contains short articles telling what happened after the war to the major characters in the book. I had thought the ending was one of the most poignant, yet unlikely scenarios, until I found in the Afterword that Pvt. Clayton Adams was a real person. Of course, I knew the famous characters were real people, but Pvt. Adams was a wonderful surprise. The ending remained poignant, made more so by the fact that it was true, but not unlikely.

The Final Storm is beyond my ability to review properly. All I can say is that it is one of the best war-story books I have ever read, and I encourage you to read it for yourself. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
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LibraryThing member marta88
NOTE: This review is from an "uncorrected proof" copy.

After reading one of Jeff Shaara's books, I always think to myself "this is the best one"! The trouble is, is that I've felt that way after every book he's written. This one is no exception. My words fall short of how much I loved this book.
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Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different person: a private on the front lines, a Japanese general, a Japanese doctor, Harry Truman, and the pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. They are all extremely detailed and insightful. As Mr. Shaara says at the beginning of the book, this isn't about whether or not these events should or shouldn't have taken place. It is about the facts as he knows them, based on research from letters, notes, interviews with families and other sources.

I was curious about why he chose the battle of Okinawa vs. the battle of Iwo Gima. My uncle fought and survived Iwo Gima, so I was hoping to read about it. I had always heard that Iwo Gima was the bloodiest battle of the war in which the Americans suffered the most massive losses. Wrong. It was Okinawa. Some of the details made me cringe. I now have a good sense of what Iwo Gima must have been like; it was very similar.

I wondered why he chose not to include the perspective of Douglas MacArthur. It doesn't lessen the story, I was just curious.

Jeff Shaara is a master storyteller. I could see the images clearly in my mind and I was completely lost in the descriptions. I can't say enough about Mr.Shaara's gift of writing. It's a shame that his books weren't a part of my high school or college curriculums, instead of the dry history books I was required to read. He brings events and people to life.
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LibraryThing member clif_hiker
Yet another chapter of war written by one of the masters... Shaara captures the horror of one of the fiercest and costliest Pacific battles in WW II. He finishes the book with a dramatic tension building description of the dropping of the A-bomb, along with quite a bit of commentary on the ethics
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of whether to drop the bomb... coming down pretty squarely on the positive side. A nice addition to the Pacific theater genre.
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LibraryThing member Ronrose1
This story of the last two years of the war in the Pacific is embodied in the brutal struggle for Okinawa and the fateful use of the two atomic bombs to end the war with Japan. The voices in this historical novel are representative of those who were there. The commanders on both sides as well as
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the average fighting men are represented by major characters in the book. The strongest story follows Marine Private Clay Adams through the horrific fighting on Okinawa. As in any book of history, it is not the final outcome that fascinates us, but the journey taken by so many to reach that point. The book follows the facts while providing personal touches through narration and dialog. The facts can be at once brutal and fascinating, mysterious and very enlightening, especially to a generation once removed from the world enveloping violence and the immediacy of living day to day. Looking into the past can at times make us sad. Do we really want to see how our parents generation had to live? Do we truly want to face what they had to face? Do we have the strength, let alone the wisdom to understand and learn from them. We think we want to know what life was like for them, who they were, what they experienced. But we must be aware that the past is often a Pandora's box with some very dark corners. When the truth is out in the light, the good and the bad, the pleasures and the unimaginable pain, the wonder and all the horrors may come with it. This is an excellent book for those who are looking for a realistic novel of the brutal war in the Pacific. Provided for review by the well read folks at Library Thing.
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LibraryThing member JoanieS
The Final Storm is the last book in Jeff Shaara's World War II series. Unlike the other books in the series which covered the war in Africa and Europe, this book focused on one battle-the battle for Okinawa. Although I was disappointed that Mr Shaara focused only on one battle late in the war, I
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also felt he used much greater detail than he used in his previous books in this series.His description of the battle as seen through the eyes of the soldiers was vivid and disturbing.I had a relative who retuned from the war in the Pacific Theater whole in body,but not in mind, and this book helped me to understand what happened to him.
Mr.Shaara covered the dropping of the atomic bombs through the thoughts and musings of men who were directly involved. The human side of the story was told as opposed to the technical story.
I have to admit that I wish Mr Shaara had written about the entire War in the Pacific..It could be another series of books itself with The Final Storm as it's conclusion.I felt that I came into a story and it's end and missed much of what led to this point. However, The Final Storm does a fine job of wrapping up this chapter in history.
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LibraryThing member Elliot1822
This book focuses on several climactic battles of the Second World War in the Pacific. The struggle against fascism was all but over, but a battle of horrible proportions loomed in the Pacific as Japan was prepared to sacrifice her entire population to repel an anticipated invasion of the home
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islands by American forces unfamiliar with total war by an enemy.
The Final Push details the people and history behind many of the American campaigns such as Saipan and Okinawa, two islands whose conquest signaled the beginning of the end for the Japanese Empire. American forces first witnessed the mass suicide of Japanese soldiers and civilians who preferred death to the dishonor of defeat at American hands. The fierceness of the resistance and the ancient attitude toward self sacrifice shown here not only concerned the generals and admirals but the privates who slugged it up and down the hills of Okinawa and who were slated to be part of the invasion of Japan slated for November 1, 1945. History buffs both armchair and serious will enjoy this objective look at the American soldiers experience during the final days of World War II. The men here are shown with raw emotions from fear to fearless. The personal style of writing brings these men into your head where it’s hard to get them out, if you want to.
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LibraryThing member qstewart
Jeff Shaara's The Final Storm, looks at the one theater of World War II that has received little notice from writers. It is a far flung war and it is difficult because of the place names are difficult and because the politicians of the time turned our nation's attention to the war in Europe making
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the winning of that theater the primary goal of the military. By concentrating on the final island battle in the Pacific, Okinawa, Shaara shows his reader the no surrender attitude of the Japanese soldiers and how they tried to hold onto every inch of territory that they had conquered prior to the United States entering the war. This tenaciousness of the Japanese led to some of the most vicious and terrible fighting that Americans faced in World War II. The story of this one island battle was repeated several times before the Marines and Army reached Okinawa. My father fought in this theater of the war and I think that their sacrifice and what they endured has been overshadowed by the events in Europe. Mr. Shaara gives an excellent view of what it must have been like to sit in a foxhole not knowing when the next attack would come.

The Final Storm ends with the decisions and preparations for ending of the war. Again I believe Mr. Shaara gives an excellent narration of what must have been occurring in the minds of the people involved in the process in the weeks before the end of the war.

I enjoyed the book and send my thanks to Mr. Shaara for giving his readers a glimpse at the "Hell" that the Americans endured in Pacific during World War II. Job well done.
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LibraryThing member creighley
Great story of the marines in the Pacific and what they went through fighting an enemy whose character they had never seen before. The format is like the other WWII novels he has written. He focuses on characters from each side: the Americans and the Japanese. For those who like this type of book,
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With the Old Breed would appeal to them also.
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LibraryThing member exlibrismcp
Shaara proves again why he should be a top pick on everyone's list for military reading. He brings a "you are there" feeling to his writing that never once bogs down even while his soldiers are slogging through mud pits, digging foxholes, and facing long rainy nights on alert for the enemy. The
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Final Storm takes the reader to the Okinawa campaign and the dropping of the atomic bomb in the final stages of WWII. Viewpoints alternate between grunts on the ground and officers on both sides of the campaign. The seamless writing style brings a novelistic feel to the book even while discussing strategies, describing conditions, and explaining mindsets of those involved. Having received this as an unedited advanced free copy as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer book it is now on my list of books to purchase as well as the preceding three in this WWII series.
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LibraryThing member hippypaul
The final storm is the fourth book by Mr. Shaara dealing with the Second World War. It traces the end of the war in the pacific and the post war path of the major players. It covers the invasion of Okinawa as seen from several viewpoints. The American side is represented by a front line Marine
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rifleman and by the operational commander Admiral Nimitz. The Japanese side is portrayed by General Mitsuru Ushijima who commanded the defending forces on the island.

The description of the ground combat is brutal and explicit. The fighting on Okinawa resulted in the largest number of killed and wounded in the Pacific Theater. Japan lost over 100,000 troops with very few being captured and the US had more than 50,000 killed or wounded. In the mist of this horrible fighting thousands of local civilians were killed or committed suicide in the belief that they would be killed by the invading US forces.

The final section of the novel deals with the deployment and use of two nuclear weapons against cities in Japan. This is seen from the viewpoint of President Truman and Colonel Paul Tibbets. Truman had only learned of the devise after the death of President Roosevelt and his sudden succession to the presidency on April 12, 1945. Colonel Tibbets was the commander of the 509th Composite Group and flew the Enola Gay, the aircraft that delivered the first weapon to the city of Hiroshima.

Mr. Shaara again writes a compelling work based on careful research. However, as he is careful to note, this is a novel of the war in the pacific. He tries to show us what the thoughts and feelings of the people involved might have been. I think he succeeds in full measure and recommend this book wholeheartedly.

A free copy of this book was provided for the purpose of review.
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LibraryThing member akhelene
Jeff Shaara's last book in his World War II series deals with the war in the Pacific Theater. Shaara tells the story from both sides, using the perspectives of both Japanese and American soldiers. This book really kept me enthralled -- the characters are engaging, the history fascinating, and the
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battle sequences are both compelling and horrifying.
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LibraryThing member corgiiman
This book was typical Jeff Shaara in his ability to turn a large historical event into smaller stories about players in that event. I enjoyed it very much and while this was an advanced copy I would have loved to have seen the pictures and maps that went along with the stories.
LibraryThing member stevetempo
Jeff Shaara's recent novel The Final Storm (A Novel of the War in The Pacific) is more then just an Historical Novel, it is a Novel of History. A Novel of History being a story that centers around a real event that might include real life characters. While I haven't read the first three books of
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this series of World War II, I found this the final book in the series, to provide an immersing understanding of these world changing events. This book tells the story of the taking of Okinawa and the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Japan. Mr. Shaara does this wonderfully by giving the reader several vantage points of these historical moments. For example, he takes you into the minds and hearts of the commanders and leaders who must wrestle with the most difficult of decisions in conducting the war. His story also allows you to feel and touch the horrendous moments of a US Marine engaged in combat. Several haunting scenes crafted by the narrative will stay with me forever. A engaging story with memorable characters, that touched me and increased my appreciation, of all who have made incredible sacrifices in the defense of their country. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, especially military history.
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LibraryThing member lamour
A gritty novel about a gritty situation- the Marine landing and ensuing battle for the island of Okinawa with the Japanese in WW II. While Shaara does describe the disgusting conditions the Marines fought in- digging fox holes in ground contaminated with decaying bodies of both sides, emptying you
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bowels into the fox hole you were standing in because it was too dangerous to leave it for the latrine- it was not as vivid as reading about the same situations in the Marine memoirs such as With the Old Breed. Maybe having lived it personally, former Marines such as Eugene Sledge could describe it better.

Still this was a wonderful explanation of what the American forces faced on Okinawa with the added benefit of Shaara including the influence of Admiral Nimitz and other leaders on the battle strategy. He also gave us the Japanese side of the battle which explained why the Japanese forces fought the battle they did. We also learned something about the Bushido culture of the Japanese military.

The book concluded with decision to drop the atomic bomb including the flight to Hiroshima as seen through the eyes of Paul Tibbets, the pilot followed by on the ground experiences of a couple of Japanese who were in the city that day.
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LibraryThing member Karlstar
I am a big Jeff Shaara fan, but this is not one of his best. For some reason, like many others he has chosen to ignore most of the War in the Pacific. Apparently he was badgered into writing this book by Marines who complained about the situation. Unlike his other books, this one doesn't cover a
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time period of the war, it covers the attack on Okinawa and the very end of the war. It is a very brutal and personal account of the shocking fighting that took place on Okinawa. As is usual for his books it is well researched and very in depth, written from the point of view of several participants, including a Marine private and a Japanese commander. Very insightful and clear and detailed. However, like some of his books it lacks a bit of an overall tactical and strategic view and stuck to 1 point of view a bit too much. These are minor points though, it is still a very good book about the end of the war, just a little limited in scope.
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LibraryThing member SydneySpaniel
The section about Okinawa was excellent. the Atom bomb was too quickly covered and didn't get into enough of Leahy's view and others.
LibraryThing member dasam
The best of Shaara's books on WWII, The Final Storm paints a vivid picture of the ugly struggle on Okinawa near the end of the war. Following his fictional character, Marine Clay Adams, Shaara avoids on of the weaknesses of historical fiction, stick figures of real people become novel devices. Read
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this not for the implicit advocacy for the dropping of the atomic bomb, but rather for its descriptions of the dehumanizing heroism of war.
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LibraryThing member DeaconBernie
This is a gritty story about conquering the island of Okinawa. It is told in Sharra's unique style. Told mostly from the Marines's point of view, it barely mentions the horrendous damage done by the Kamikaze on the Fleet. It speaks just once about the conflict of melding an invasion force composed
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of Army and Marine units. Finally, after Okinawa is finally subdued, it spends a small portion of the book on the lead-up to dropping the Atomic Bomb, which includes a brief description of how Mr. Truman arrived at the decision to use the weapon.
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Pages

446

ISBN

0345497945 / 9780345497949
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