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Yamamoto Isoroku

Yamamoto Isoroku Book Review

By Rachel E. Veres

Date of Review August 2012 Title Yamamoto Isoroku
Author Mark Stille Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2012 ISBN 9781849087315
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95


"In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success." – Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto to Japanese Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro

In Yamamoto Isoroku (Japanese nomenclature places family name first) author Mark Stille delves into key early-WWII Japanese campaigns orchestrated by arguably one of Japan's most famous admirals.  And as he traces Yamamoto's life from upbringing to Imperial Combined Fleet Command, Stille offers insight into the mind of the man behind the legend.

Yamamoto's early naval career encompassed diplomatic roles such as naval representative and attaché to the United States.  Yet, for a man claiming a unique insight into the American mindset, his campaign strategies primarily relied on assumptions rather than facts.

For example, Yamamoto believed the Pearl Harbor attack would shatter US morale, forcing a negotiated peace in Japan's favor.  However, the attack ruined any hopes for a settlement – and awakened a "sleeping giant" filled with "terrible resolve".

Illustrator Adam Hook blends wonderful artwork with historical pictures of Yamamoto and early naval battles between Japan and America.  When the author details Yamamoto's demise aboard a G4M "Betty" bomber in April 1943, Hook illustrates the pivotal attack by USAF P-38 Lightnings.

As successful as the Pearl Harbor attack was, subsequent Japanese campaigns highlighted fundamental decision flaws by Yamamoto.  Learning from failures remains as crucial as learning from successes.  Fortunately for the Allies, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto largely neglected the former axiom.

Highly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!