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destroyer Laffey

Books - Ship Histories

Many Pacific War veterans have written books about U.S. Navy ships on which they served. These books often combine the ship history with a personal memoir. The accounts included in these books provide extremely valuable sources of firsthand accounts by Navy crewmen who experienced Japanese kamikaze crashes on their ships, shot down suicide planes, and witnessed kamikazes crash into other ships.

Although professional writers did not write many World War II ship histories, the realism of accounts by eyewitnesses makes these books very helpful in understanding the thoughts and emotions of men who lived through kamikaze attacks. The authors range from ship commanders to enlisted men, and the ships range from aircraft carriers to smaller auxiliary ships designed for tasks such as rescue or minesweeping. Authors often include accounts of their shipmates, so readers can take into account multiple perspectives to piece together what actually happened during kamikaze attacks.

Several histories begin in 1943 or 1944, when the U.S. Navy commissioned many new warships. Most books, especially those about ships involved in both the fighting in the Philippines and Okinawa, also include general information about the course of the war and kamikaze attacks.

This section contains reviews of the following ship histories:

The following book contains a ship history, but it has been included in this web site's section on "Books - General" because much of the book deals with the general history of kamikazes.