DECISION AT LEYTE by Stanley L. Falk


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This is the most comprehensive single-volume study of the strategic importance and day-by-day struggle of the battle of Leyte available. Its research is impressive while its writing remains generally utilitarian and undistinguished. As with many recent studies of the Pacific campaign, the author makes full use of authoritative Japanese sources to document the other side of the picture. The Japanese soldier's famous banzai attacks and their pilots' Kamikaze dives have for too long blurred our understanding of the Japanese military sensibility. These were last, desperate measures; kamikaze was a tactic introduced at Leyte only when the Japanese air force had no experienced pilots left. While the strategy of MacArthur is the most impressive intellectual aspect of the overall battle, the defending Japanese are page for page more exotically absorbing to read about. In the battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese commanders consistently failed to recognize the class of American vessel they were fighting and thus used the wrong types of shells against them. When Leyte fell, both sides knew the war was over: the Japanese homeland's supply lines had been cut off from their southern territories and they had no major defense left aside from inadequate forces on Luzon. Solid, generally readable, with slightly chauvinistic bent.

Publisher: Norton