July 9, 2009
Book Review: The Ragged, Rugged Warriors
All of us like stories where the good guys win. We are not naturally drawn to tales of mass incompetence and bad decisions resulting in futile bloodshed and losing battles. Martin Caiden sets out to tell just such a story, and he does so compellingly.
In the months and years leading up to Pearl Harbor and America's entrance into World War II several airmen came into contact with Japanese air power. As they consistently encountered the power and technological superiority of the Mitsubishi Zero fighter plane, and the overwhelmingly superior skill of the Japanese pilots, they grew concerned and informed the US. Their warnings were ignored.
Caiden relates the stories of these men, and others who joined them, as they faced alone the Japanese onslaught with outdated planes, having to learn fighting skills "on the fly". He covers in details the stories of these brave Americans as they fought in China, at Pearl Harbor, the Phillipines, Malaysia, and other places.
He finishes his harrowing account with a chapter entitled "The Other Midway", in which he narrates the story of a group of Marauder bombers that attacked the Japanese fleet. Almost all were lost, none hit thier target. But they sufficiently distracted the enemy so other fighters and bombers could move in for the kill. Such is the legacy of the ragged, rugged warriors.
The book is well-researched. The author is very knowlegable in the subject, and sprinkles his narrative generously with first-hand accounts. Once I began reading this book, I had difficulty putting it down.
Posted by Andrew on July 9, 2009 10:45 AM.