The Twilight Warriors

The Twilight Warriors : the Deadliest Naval Battle of World War II and the Men Who Fought it

4.08 (695 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"The Twilight Warriors," winner of the 2011 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature, is the engrossing, page-turning saga of a tightly knit band of naval aviators who are thrust into the final--and most brutal--battle of the Pacific war: Okinawa. April 1945. The end of World War II finally appears to be nearing. The Third Reich is collapsing in Europe, and the Americans are overpowering the once-mighty Japanese Empire in the Pacific. For a group of young pilots trained in the twilight of the war, the greatest worry is that it will end before they have a chance to face the enemy. They call themselves Tail End Charlies. They fly at the tail end of formations, stand at the tail end of chow lines, and now they are catching the tail end of the war. What they don't know is that they will be key players in the bloodiest and most difficult of naval battles--not only of World War II but in all of American history. "The Twilight Warriors" relives the drama of the world's last great naval campaign. From the cockpit of a Corsair fighter we gaze down at the Japanese task force racing to destroy the American amphibious force at Okinawa. Through the eyes of the men on the destroyers assigned to picket ship duty, we experience the terror as wave after wave of kamikazes crash into their ships. Standing on the deck of the legendary superbattleship "Yamato, " we watch Japan's last hope for victory die in a tableau of gunfire and explosions. Among the Tail End Charlies are men such as a twenty-two-year-old former art student who grows to manhood on the day of his first mission over Japan and his best friend, a ladies' man and intrepid fighter pilot whose life abruptly changes when his Corsair goes down off the enemy shore. Another is a young Texan lieutenant who volunteers for the most dangerous flying job in the fleet--intercepting kamikazes at night over the blackened Pacific. Their leader is a charismatic officer who rises to greatness in the crucible of Okinawa. Directing the vast armada of sea, air, and land forces is a cast of brilliant and flawed commanders--from the imperturbable admiral and master of carrier warfare to the controversial soldier assigned to command the land forces. The fate of the Americans at Okinawa is intertwined with the lives of the "young gods"-- the honor-bound Japanese airmen who swarm like killer bees toward the U.S. ships. The kamikazes are dispatched on their deadly one-way missions by a classic samurai warrior who vows that he will follow them to a warrior's grave. The ferocity of the Okinawa fighting stuns the world. Before it ends, the long battle will cost more American lives, ships, and aircraft than any naval engagement in U.S. history. More than simply the account of a historic battle, "The Twilight Warriors" brings to life the human side of an epic conflict. It is the story of young Americans at war in the air and on the sea--and of their enigmatic, fanatically courageous enemy.show more

Product details

  • Microfilm | 385 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 703.06g
  • Random House USA Inc
  • Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc)
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 8-PAGE B&W PHOTO INSERT
  • 0767932412
  • 9780767932417
  • 1,075,845

Review quote

"Military historian and novelist Gandt (""Black Star Rising"," 2007, etc.) chronicles the epic Battle of Okinawa. In the spring of 1945, as the Red Army approached Berlin, a ferocious land, sea and air battle raged in the Pacific, a dress rehearsal, many thought, for the upcoming invasion of Japan. The author credits the idea of bypassing the heavily fortified island of Formosa and seizing Okinawa to the brainy Adm. Raymond Spruance. Snapshots of Spruance, Marc Mitscher, Chester Nimitz, Ernest King, Morton Deyo and Arleigh Burke, towering names in American naval history, dot these pages, complemented by similar sharp takes on the Japanese high command defending the island. The heart of Gandt's story, though, is the tale of the young aviators, the Tail End Charlies on the American side, fearful they'd never get into action, and the Japanese Thunder Gods, the kamikaze force whose suicide missions testified simultaneously to Japan's will and her desperation. By no means comprehensishow more

About Robert Gandt

ROBERT GANDT is a former naval officer and aviator, international airline pilot, screenwriter, and a military and aviation historian.  He is the author of six novels and seven non-fiction books, including Bogeys and Bandits, the definitive work on modern naval aviation, which was adapted for the television series Pensacola: Wings of Gold.  He and his wife Anne live in the Spruce Creek Fly-In in Daytona Beach, Florida.  You may visit his web site at www.Gandt.com.show more

Rating details

695 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 35% (241)
4 43% (299)
3 19% (132)
2 3% (18)
1 1% (5)
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