The Final Storm
A Novel of the War in the Pacific
By Jeff Shaara
(Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780345497949, 446pp.)
Publication Date: May 17, 2011
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The Final Storm opens a new front in Jeff Shaara’s gripping chronicle of World War II as soldiers, sailors, and marines sacrifice all for one final push toward decisive victory in the fierce maelstrom of the Pacific theater.
As the war in Europe winds down in the wake of the Normandy invasion, the United States has turned its vast military resources toward an all-out effort against the Japanese. In the spring of 1945, Japan’s empire has been pressed slowly back toward its home islands, and the Americans mount a furious assault on the last great stepping-stone to Japan itself—the heavily fortified island of Okinawa. The three-month battle will feature some of the most vicious combat of the entire war, as American troops confront an enemy that would rather be slaughtered than experience the shame of surrender.
With a narrative dexterity befitting his status as a master storyteller, Shaara relates the story of the struggle for Okinawa through the eyes of combatants on both sides: Private Clay Adams, a young marine whose brother Jesse has already earned his share of glory as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne in Europe; Admiral Chester Nimitz, who must unite rival army and marine commanders into a cooperative effort; General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., the American ground commander trying to live up to the legacy of his father, who led Confederate troops during the Civil War; and General Mitsura Ushijima, the Japanese general in charge of defending the island, who understands what Tokyo will not believe: that his own fight to the death will only delay the inevitable—as the Americans continue their advance toward the home islands and ultimate victory.
With the fights raging across the Pacific, a different kind of campaign is being waged in extraordinary secrecy: the development of a weapon so powerful, not even the scientists who build it know just what they are about to unleash. Colonel Paul Tibbets, one of the finest bomber pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps, is selected to lead the mission to drop the horrific new weapon on a Japanese city. As the new president, Harry S Truman, mulls his options, and a Japanese physician named Okiro Hamishita cares for patients at a clinic near the city of Hiroshima, citizens on the home front await the day of reckoning that everyone knows is coming.
A fitting conclusion to one of the most riveting sagas in military fiction, The Final Storm illuminates the heroism and sacrifice that defined the war in the Pacific, bringing the conflict to life as only Jeff Shaara can.
Michael's interest in Gettysburg was prompted by some letters written by his great-grandfather, who had been wounded at the great battle while serving with the 4th Georgia Infantry. In 1966, he took his family on a vacation to the battlefield and found himself moved.
In 1970, Michael Shaara returned to Gettysburg with his son Jeff. The pair crisscrossed the historic site, gathering detailed information for the father's novel-in-progress. In 1974, the novel was published with the title The Killer Angels. This gripping fictional account of the three bloody days at Gettysburg won Michael Shaara a Pulitzer Prize and a vast, appreciative audience. To date it has sold two million copies.
When Michael Shaara died in 1988, his son Jeff began to manage his literary estate. It was a legacy he knew well, having helped his father create it. When director Ron Maxwell filmed the movie Gettysburg, based on The Killer Angels, he asked Jeff to serve as a consultant. Maxwell encouraged Shaara to continue the story his father began; inspired, Jeff planned an ambitious trilogy, with The Killer Angels as the centerpiece, following the war from its origins to its end.
With Gods and Generals, Jeff Shaara gives fans of The Killer Angels everything they could have asked--an epic, brilliantly written saga that bringsthe nation's greatest conflict to life.