During this week as we reflect upon the 67th anniversary of D-Day I completed the fourth book in Jeff Shaara’s historical novels on World War Two.
The Final Storm, which has just been released is the story of the War in the Pacific culminating and with the greatest emphasis on the battle for the island of Okinawa. Okinawa was to be the last stepping stone before an invasion of Japan. The Japanese land invasion was of course preempted by the decision to drop the Atomic Bomb.
Shaara , as always, magnificently tells his war epochs by placing the reader in the boots of the soldier, slogging through the life and death drama of war. It would be impossible to put down The Final Storm without the greatest empathy and understanding of the men who gave everything to defeat the Japanese, not only on Okinawa ,but on all of the Japanese held Pacific Islands. The book also provides dramatic personalized insight into the decision and the actual dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima.
The earlier books in this Shaara collection concern the North Africa Campaign and an introduction to Eisenhower and Rommel in The Rising Tide, the European Invasion and D-Day in The Steel Wave, and the great march across Europe including the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge in No Less Than Victory.
It would be difficult for anyone with an interest in WWII to overlook these four volumes.
Shaara’s portrayal of the reality of war through the prism of historical fiction is in my view unequaled. Then again, having read his father Michael Shaara’s Killer Angels, you know it is in the genes.
If your interest lies with the Civil War you will want to read Jeff Shaara’s Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure. Also do not overlook his great novel on the American Revolution, Rise to Rebellion.
Here is a promise. After reading a Shaara novel you will regard all service men and women with awe, respect and gratitude. An important thought during this period encompassing Memorial Day, D-Day and the Fourth of July.