This highly regarded war memoir was a best seller in both Japan and the United States during the 1960s and has long been treasured by historians for its insights into the Japanese side of the surface war in the Pacific. The author was a survivor of more than one hundred sorties against the Allies and was known throughout Japan as the Unsinkable Captain.
A hero to his countrymen, Capt. Hara exemplified the best in Japanese surface commanders: highly skilled, hard driving, and aggressive. Moreover, he maintained a code of honor worthy of his samurai grandfather, and, as readers of this book have come to appreciate, he was as free with praise for American courage and resourcefulness as he was critical of himself and his senior commanders.
©1967 Tameichi Hara (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By S. Morris on 18-06-16

Good Men In A Bad War

I came upon this second world war memoir by chance and immediately purchased
it. I have an interest in memoirs from the second world war and in
particular those from a naval perspective. However, what I find most
interesting are those accounts that come from what we in the west would call
the enemy at the time. There are plenty of war time accounts from those that
served in the Allies but rarer are those from the other side of this
conflict. With such memoirs the reader is able to obtain a fascinating
insight into how battles were fought as well as the internal politics of a
nation fighting to survive which brings some greater degree of balance to
the overall picture of many of the key events of such conflicts. This book
is an excellent and often captivating as well as revealing look through the
eyes of a Japanese naval officer and his participation in several key
battles of the Pacific war.

The author recounts in detail the successes and failures of the Imperial
Japanese navy in terms of its battles and policies and paints a picture of a
thoughtful man who is not afraid to question the higher echelons of command.
In addition, we see a man who belies the often fanatical portrayal of
suicidal Japanese military men that dispels the stereotype of the cruel and
pitiless Japanese fighter. This is a book that doesn't simply tell the story
of his days serving during this conflict but also lets us know the emotional
state of this incredible man too. It is not uncommon for the author to
recount instances of where he has wept over men lost under his command as
well as pay his respects to enemy sailors that perished at his hands.
Reading these memoirs from those that fought on the other side during the
second world war allows one to see that there were good men that fought on
both sides of that war as well as bad ones.

The narrator is clearly of Japanese herritage and does an excellent job with
all the Japanese references with his perfect pronunciation and this is
fitting as a non-Japanese English speaker would have butchered the correct
saying of the numerous Japanese places and names given in this book.

For those of you interested like me in naval memoirs of this time period it
might be of interest to note that this book briefly covers the actions which
sunk the USS Houston and HAMS Perth and so to compliment this memoir there
is a superb book telling the survivors stories of the men of the Houston and
Perth available on Audible entitled "Ship of Ghosts" that I urge those
interested to read.

Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Midway - The Great Naval Battles Seen Through Japanese Eyes is an utterly fascinating detailed account that really gives the
reader a flavour of what life was like at the time and is a highly thought
provoking read and an absolute must for anyone interested in this subject
matter. For those that might be interested, I can thoroughly recommend two
other naval memoirs that I am afraid are not available on Audible as yet but
are a great read and these are the excellent "Steel Boat, Iron heart" and
"Iron Coffins". Both titles deal with the German U-Boat war from those that
served aboard them and are equally insightful and fascinating.

Highly recommended.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Quincy on 27-02-15

Great account of a remarkable Captain

Any additional comments?

I am disappointed that the book ends rather suddenly after the sinking of Cruiser Yahagi, no mention of the Atomic Bombings of Japan, or her eventual surrender.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Saman on 07-11-14

Combat, Fear, Survival!

If you want a page tuner – this is it!

The author, Captain Tameichi Hara is a brave, resilient and a lucky individual. He himself states that his survival in WWII is owed to luck rather than any strategic brilliance. But throughout his surface campaigns, he shows that he is a brilliant commander to his loyal men and a tough and experienced naval fighter. He pulls no punches on his superiors for their ineptitude in battle, the suicidal and piece-meal deployments, and utter chaotic command strategy. Even the famed Admiral Yamamoto does not escape his criticism. Yet, he himself is self-deprecating in more than one occasion.

This is the first book I read about the Japanese view point in WWII. It is a fascinating history of the men who fought this war against a far superior opponent who eventually annhilated the IJN. Even to the end, knowing fully that the war was lost, these men fought on. The final IJN sortie, Operation Ten-Go, is harrowing in its description.

This is the finest WWII book I have ever read.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Neil on 16-07-14

Excellent account from the Japanese point of View

This is an excellent book from Captain Hara who was on numerous major missions including the invasion of the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Savo Island, and Midway. He criticized the admirals including Yamamoto who he felt should not have commanded the Japanese Navy. And he saw that the Japanese were reacting to the US and not proactive in the war. Most books I have read on the Pacific War are from the US point of View, so this is refreshing to read it from a Japanese Captain. He was also a Nanking, but he played down the atrocities. He later admitted to being an alcoholic so there was honesty there. There are real accounts of his battles with the allies, and he notes a few time how the allies evasive tactics were superior to the Japanese. He goes through the battles concisely and meticulously so if you want details of what happen that night then this is the book for you. He also fired upon John Kennedy;s PT boat, which he give a brief account.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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