Academic journal article Military Review

SUNBURST: The Rise of Japanese Naval Aviation 1909-1941

Academic journal article Military Review

SUNBURST: The Rise of Japanese Naval Aviation 1909-1941

Article excerpt

SUNBURST: The Rise of Japanese Naval Aviation 1909-1941, Mark R. Peattie, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2002,392 pages, $25.81.

Almost 15 years ago Mark R. Peattie and the late David C. Evans were asked to collaborate on a study of Japanese Naval Strategy during World War II. As their work progressed, their topic expanded and changed into a technical, strategic, and institutional history of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) from its beginnings to the outbreak of war with the United States in 1941. The result was the publication in 1997 of the definitive English-language work on the IJN. Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy,']887-J941 (Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1997) includes four chapters on naval aviation that, for reasons of length and size, were removed for publication as a separate work at a later date. Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Aviation 1909-1941 is the continuation of Kaigun.

Author Mark R. Peattie makes it clear that, for issues of institutional and even strategic context, reference to Kaigun is required. With this requirement understood, one finds Sunburst an extremely informative, insightful book. If the book has a thesis, it is that Japanese naval air power was among the most fearsome tools ever fashioned and that in great measure the success of the Pacific blitzkrieg in the first 6 months of the Pacific war is directly attributable to this elite body of warriors. …

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