In 1941, Japan boasted the 3rd powerful navy in the entire world. Four years later that fleet, almost to a ship, lay blasted on the bottom of the Pacific. This rational, well informed Japanese author, in avoiding the pitfalls of emotionalism or chauvism, here gives us an exceedingly good account of how that fleet came about, how it served as symbol of power to the Japanese people, and how fight by fight it was decimated by the United States Navy. Here, for instance are the huge, 70,000 ton Yamato, Musashi and Shinano -- largest fighting machines ever devised by man at that time---and what fate befell them. Here is the account of how meticulously Pearl Harbor was planned and executed, and how only months later the fierce battles of Coral Sea and Midway turned the te against the Rising Sun. After that come the even greater battles around Guadalcanal and in the Philippine Sea which finally lost the war for Japan. Not to be conquered until the very last moment however, we see those final suicidal attempts---the Kamikaze planes, the bomb gilders, the human torpedoes -- which took a heavy toll of American ships in the last year of the conflict. The author's philosophical thoughts on the war at sea (and his tendency to blame the army for the debacle of Japan) make an interesting conclusion. An appendix of Japanese losses make the book of great scholarly value. First rate navel stuff.