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Schultz (The Maverick War, Wake Island, etc.) acknowledges a considerable debt to Carroll V. Glines, whose identically titled account of America's first WW II aerial strike against Japan's home islands is reviewed above. His meticulously researched version of Doolittle's audacious assault (which earned him a Congressional Medal of Honor) does not, though, suffer by comparison with the rival entry. In retracing much the same route as Glines, in fact, Schultz offers a somewhat wider-angle report. For example, he provides greater detail on Doolittle's legendary career, the ex-post-facto regulations the Japanese military used to impose harsh punishments (including execution) on downed air crews, and allied background subjects. Otherwise, Schultz delivers vivid coverage of the raid that sent 16 medium Army bombers (which had been spirited deep into enemy waters by the aircraft carrier Hornet) winging over a painfully surprised Japan on April 18, 1942, just over four months after Pearl Harbor. He follows the brave fliers who returned home (with the aid of civilians in occupied China) as well as those who died and endured capture by the Japanese or, in one case, internment in Soviet Russia. The author also provides illuminating perspectives on the importance of the attack, which, among other fateful consequences, lured the hitherto all-conquering Japanese into the battle of Midway. In brief, then, a fine stand-alone tribute to the achievements and sacrifices of a gallant band. Schultz's intriguing text includes 16 pages of black-and-white photographs (not seen).

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's