14 August 1945. As Emperor Hirohito recorded a message of surrender for the Japanese people, rebel troops commanded by high-ranking officers from War Minister Anami's staff burst into the Imperial palace. Their intention was to stage a coup, destroy the recording and issue forged orders for Japan to continue the war. Had they succeeded, there would have been massive kamikaze attacks on allied forces, causing carnage and possibly provoking America to drop a third atomic bomb on an already devastated Japan...But on that fateful night, in the skies approaching Tokyo, a stream of B-29B 'Superfortress' bombers were heading towards Japan's last functioning oil refinery. Fearing that the approaching planes could be carrying another atom bomb, Japanese air defences ordered a total black out of the city and the Imperial palace and in so doing completely disrupted the rebels' plans, enabling soldiers loyal to the Emperor to sieze back control. At midday on 15 August 1945, the Imperial message of surrender was broadcast throughout Japan. The Second World War was finally over.
THE LAST MISSION is gripping work of speculative investigation into one of the least known yet profoundly significant episodes of World War II.
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(199mm x 129mm x 23mm)
Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
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UK Kirkus Review »
We know that the war with Japan ended at midday on 15th August 1945. Smith and McConnell tell us that it need not have been so, and that the last American 'Superfortress' air raid on a Japanese oil refinery played a crucial role in that declaration of peace. Jim Smith, who flew on the all-important raid and has spent twenty years researching it, brings alive the reality of flying against Japan. This ranges from the fact that the American flyers were terrified of their unreliable engines to the fact that the airmen suffered chronic stomach problems on their long flights, and private 'parcels' often went down to be dropped alongside the bombs on the Japanese. Yet this book also gives a superb account of the final days of the Japanese empire. This is not only a good book. It is refreshingly different. REVIEW BY DR MARTIN STEPHEN (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Jim Smith
Jim Smith served with the 315th Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force, during the Second World War, when he was a radio operator of a B-29B bomber named The Boomerang. He has researched The Last Mission for more than twenty years. Malcolm McConnell is the author or co-author of twenty-three books, many of them on military subjects. He most recently co-wrote Born to Fly with navy pilot Shane Osborn. He lives near Washington D.C.