Titans of the Rising Sun: The Rise and Fall of Japan's Yamato Class Battleships
by Raymond A. Bawal, Jr.
Inland Expressions, 2010, 194 pages
The Japanese Navy built three Yamato-class battleships, which were the
largest battleships ever built by any navy. Yamato and Musashi
were twins, and Shinano was converted into an aircraft carrier. The U.S.
Navy sank all three ships between October 1944 and April 1945. This book's title
suggests that the focus will be these three ships, but that turns out to be a
false assumption since over half of the book deals with other topics such as a
long history of Japanese battleships leading up to the Yamato class,
general Pacific War history, and details about the nine escort ships that
accompanied Yamato on her final suicide mission to Okinawa.
On April 6, 1945, battleship Yamato and nine escort ships, designated
by the Imperial Japanese Navy as the Surface Special (Suicide) Attack Force,
departed Japan's Seto Inland Sea toward Okinawa. Raymond A. Bawal, Jr., in his
first book on World War II, describes this as a true suicide mission and as the
war's largest single kamikaze attack with more than 5,000 men on the ten
ships. Yamato sank the next day after multiple hits from bombs and
torpedoes released by American carrier-based aircraft.
Overall, Titans of the Rising Sun effectively summarizes information
found elsewhere about Yamato-class battleships. The Bibliography lists
over twenty works that were used to put together this book that concentrates on technical
specifications, armament, and battle operations rather than personal stories
about officers and crewmen on the ships. Readers who want a more focused
account about Yamato's suicide mission to Okinawa should consider Mitsuru
Yoshida's Requiem for Battleship
Yamato (1985) or Russell Spurr's
A Glorious Way to Die: The Kamikaze
Mission of the Battleship Yamato, April 1945 (1981).