Dogfight online sale over Tokyo: The Final Air Battle of the Pacific and the Last Four Men 2021 to Die in World War II online sale

Dogfight online sale over Tokyo: The Final Air Battle of the Pacific and the Last Four Men 2021 to Die in World War II online sale

Dogfight online sale over Tokyo: The Final Air Battle of the Pacific and the Last Four Men 2021 to Die in World War II online sale

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From an expert in the Pacific theater of World War II comes the tragic story of the pilots who fought the last fight of the war during the first hour of peace

When Billy Hobbs and his fellow Hellcat aviators from Air Group 88 lifted off from the venerable Navy carrier USS Yorktown early on the morning of August 15, 1945, they had no idea they were about to carry out the final air mission of World War II. Two hours later, Yorktown received word from Admiral Nimitz that the war had ended and that all offensive operations should cease. As they were turning back, twenty Japanese planes suddenly dove from the sky above them and began a ferocious attack. Four American pilots never returned—men who had lifted off from the carrier in wartime but were shot down during peacetime.

Drawing on participant letters, diaries, and interviews, newspaper and radio accounts, and previously untapped archival records, historian and prolific author of acclaimed Pacific theater books, including Tin Can Titans and Hell from the Heavens, John Wukovits tells the story of Air Group 88''s pilots and crew through their eyes. Dogfight over Tokyo is written in the same riveting, edge-of-your-seat style that has made Wukovits''s previous books so successful. This is a stirring, one-of-a-kind tale of naval encounters and the last dogfight of the war—a story that is both inspirational and tragic.

Review

"What we know of war usually comes from survivors. This book is about four young flyers who didn''t come back. Those who die give up all that they have, all their hopes and dreams, all the infinite potential life offers. Wukovits captures that tragedy in a powerful way. Superb."― Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author

"But for one tragic hour, they would have returned safely to the loved ones who worried over them so much. Instead, four Navy fighter pilots became the final combat casualties of World War II. As he did in Tin Can Titans and Hell from the Heavens, John Wukovits skillfully entwines the personal stories of young men at war with the horrors of the larger conflict. Dogfight Over Tokyo is a haunting tale of heroism and sacrifice and the continuing agony of those left to grieve."― Walter R. Borneman, bestselling author of Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers aboard the USS Arizona

"In this meticulously researched work, John Wukovits provides rare personal insight to the aviators who fought the U.S. Navy''s LAST major combat of World War II-and those supporting them on the home front. If it''s true that no war truly ends while some still remember it, then Dogfight Over Tokyo extends our national memory of those who brought the world''s greatest conflagration to a joyous, painful, and bittersweet end."― Barrett Tillman, author of Whirlwind and On Wave and Wing

"An expertly researched addition to the military history/biography genre"― Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

John Wukovits is a military expert specializing in the Pacific theater of World War II. He is the author of many books, including Tin Can Titans,Hell from the Heavens, For Crew and Country, One Square Mile of Hell, and Pacific Alamo. He has also written numerous articles for such publications as WWII History, Naval History, and World War II. He lives in Michigan.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
108 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Jeffrey T. Munson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Sad Ending to the War in the Pacific
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2019
The Japanese finally accepted the terms of the Potsdam declaration on August 15th, 1945. The war in the Pacific had ended. But not for everyone. In this fine book, author John Wukovits discusses the men of air group 88 and their exploits up until that fatal mission.... See more
The Japanese finally accepted the terms of the Potsdam declaration on August 15th, 1945. The war in the Pacific had ended. But not for everyone. In this fine book, author John Wukovits discusses the men of air group 88 and their exploits up until that fatal mission.

The men in air group 88, flying off of the USS Yorktown, had been participating in raids on the Japanese homeland in the summer of 1945. By this time, the end was in sight. The Japanese were beaten, having endured attacks from the American carrier aviators and, in August, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Despite these attacks, the Japanese refused to surrender. Thus, the American carrier pilots continued to attack the Japanese homeland. Such was the case on August 15th, when the men of air group 88 took off on what many called a worthless mission. The men believed that the Japanese were going to surrender at any moment, so why needlessly risk the lives of these pilots? Still, the mission went on. The target was the Atsugi airfield near Tokyo. As soon as the men began preparing for their attack, word came that the Japanese had surrendered.

The pilots of air group 88 began their journey back to the Yorktown, but were soon jumped by twenty Japanese fighters. In the ensuing melee, four American pilots; Lt. H.M. Harrison, Lt. J.G. Sahloff, Lt. W.C. Hobbs, and Ens. E.E. Mandeberg were shot down. These four men died minutes after the Japanese surrender. They died in peacetime.

John Wukovits has written a compelling narrative about the fateful mission of August 15th, 1945. The book also describes the formation of air group 88 and the attacks upon the Japanese home islands. Personal letters, along with excerpts from diaries and interviews add realism to the story. John Wukovits has written several books about the war in the Pacific, and "Dogfight Over Tokyo" is one of his best. Highly recommended.
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Patsy Moore Talbott
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent choice for anyone interested in WWII naval aviation
Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2021
I bought this book for my dad who was a navy pilot on the aircraft carrier Shangri-La in WWII. The Shangri-La and the Yorktown (on which this book is based) were in the Pacific together in 1945. There were so many things in this book that my dad remembered or could relate... See more
I bought this book for my dad who was a navy pilot on the aircraft carrier Shangri-La in WWII. The Shangri-La and the Yorktown (on which this book is based) were in the Pacific together in 1945. There were so many things in this book that my dad remembered or could relate to — Reading this was an amazing journey into the past for him 75 years after his time in the war. And a particularly poignant fact was that he knew one of the pilots lost in the last dogfight. Dad and pilot Howdy Harrison from the Yorktown had been rescued together just a few weeks earlier in 1945 when they both had to ditch in the Sea of Japan. Then Dad got to see the end of the war and come home. And Howdy was lost in the last dogfight. How tenuous life was for these brave pilots. We will forever owe them a debt we can never repay. This book is a wonderful read for anyone interested in the naval operations of WWII. It is written from a personal perspective that helps you know what life was like for a WWII navy pilot.
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Martin Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Detailed history yet a readable interesting story
Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2019
Just finished another great book by John Wukovits. The historical detail of these brave fliers is captured by the author while retaining the readability of a story. John does not disappoint. Highly recommend this book for not only WWII/military but for anyone who likes to... See more
Just finished another great book by John Wukovits. The historical detail of these brave fliers is captured by the author while retaining the readability of a story. John does not disappoint. Highly recommend this book for not only WWII/military but for anyone who likes to read stories about the people of our greatest generation.
4 people found this helpful
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William B
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An easy read. Very informative.
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2020
Well written and easy to read. Very informative regarding the end of world war 2 in the Pacific. Kind of sad, really that 4 young men lost their lives after the war was officially over.
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Steve Conradson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Last fight
Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2021
Yes I read the book as a historical novel not realizing it was based on a true story. It was even more tragic to die the last day of a war.
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Honest John H.
4.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
Highly recommended: So important to the American national memory
Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2019
This is such a sad, tragic story, and, like with the Titanic, we all know the ending when we start reading; but it’s a story that needs to be told and remembered. These Hellcat pilots were patriotic, dutiful youth, thrown into a cruel Pacific war they didn’t start. The... See more
This is such a sad, tragic story, and, like with the Titanic, we all know the ending when we start reading; but it’s a story that needs to be told and remembered. These Hellcat pilots were patriotic, dutiful youth, thrown into a cruel Pacific war they didn’t start. The more we can learn about their story and keep it alive, the better.

The author chose the narrative device of alternating between the military life of the pilots and that of their civilian relatives back home. Unfortunately, as written, there is not enough detail, drama, and material about the civilian side to keep it compelling and authentic, until the end. Apparently taken mainly from surviving letters and a few very old memories (from interviews of the few still living relatives), I found this material lacking and slow in the first half of the book. Truthfully, there just might not be much contemporaneous material around anymore dealing directly with what these men actually did in daily life while at the various stateside training bases.

There is, unfortunately, an inconsistency of the voice perspective in the narrative. Sometimes the author is the narrator, then there is an abrupt switch to the point-of-view of a relative or pilot, a commander, newspaper readers, or someone else. Such an abrupt switch in who is doing the storytelling makes it more difficult for the reader to follow who is speaking, who is an eyewitness, and what is inserted opinion or liberal interpretation. When you read something like “Their survival depended, in part, on the whims of an admiral who considered their well-being subordinate to his wishes” – [page 78 in the Advance Reading Copy] -- I was left wondering WHO said that, exactly? Is it just a modern-day projection by the author?

While the references are impressive in the bibliography, there also seems to be an over-reliance on unit Action Reports, often either primarily or exclusively. While unit Action Reports are a fine source, their formal tone comes through in the text: dry and limited.

Unfortunately, much of the climax action of the story is still clouded in mystery, and may be, forever. One key piece of research seemed to be missing: What does the JAPANESE unit action report have to say about that fatal dogfight of August 15? The one from the unnamed Japanese commander who launched the “fifteen to twenty Japanese army and navy fighters”? This unit report might have been destroyed before occupation, or, could still be in the Japanese unit archives. There is no mention of its disposition during the intelligence investigations after August 15, 1945. Likewise, there is no mention of interviews and statements of record from the Japanese commander and the surviving 6 to 11 (?) Japanese pilots in the dogfight.

Apparently, DNA work is still ongoing such that the book will need an epilogue eventually to update what new information has been discovered about the remains from one Air Group 88 pilot that were recovered on land by local Japanese and handed over to a Buddhist priest at the “Miyohoji Shrine for burial” [p. 223] Didn’t the Japanese always cremate quickly, such as with the American P.O.W.’s in Japan? The book does not explain this anomaly.

The book captures very well the harrowing, risk-filled life of carrier pilots in 1945. This story is so important to American national memory that this book is highly recommended, though some readers may need encouragement to “stick it out” through the first half. A very good map is included which depicts the routes of Air Group 88 missions in July and August of 1945.
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Dr. J. J. Kregarman
4.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
A Good Book But The Title is Deceptive
Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2019
John Wukovits has written a quite readable popular history, but not quite the history its title advertises. There was a dogfight over Tokyo that took place after the Americans knew the Japanese had surrendered but before the Japanese government had so informed their own... See more
John Wukovits has written a quite readable popular history, but not quite the history its title advertises. There was a dogfight over Tokyo that took place after the Americans knew the Japanese had surrendered but before the Japanese government had so informed their own people. We are informed which Americans survived and the names of the four who did not, but almost nothing of the dogfight itself and even less about from or about the Japanese pilots who participated. The dogfight itself fits into less than three pages of this 249 page book!

But the book is indeed interesting. Focusing on Air Group 88, it tells of how carrier based naval air functioned and brought the war to the Japanese homeland during the final months of WWII. It gives a history of this Air Group and of some of its pilots. From start to finish it held my attention.

True, the four Americans (and the unnamed Japanese) who died died needlessly. But they were far from the first and not near the last to do so. War, by its nature is filled with such tragedies. And it is worthwhile to be reminded again and again of this fact.
10 people found this helpful
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N. Wallach
4.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
Unit history of the 88th Air Group at the end of World War 2
Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2019
The title of the book is somewhat deceiving. There is a dogfight involved in this book, but it is not over Tokyo, and it only takes place at the very tail end of the book in about four page out of 250. The subtitle is similarly misleading. The book does talk about the last... See more
The title of the book is somewhat deceiving. There is a dogfight involved in this book, but it is not over Tokyo, and it only takes place at the very tail end of the book in about four page out of 250. The subtitle is similarly misleading. The book does talk about the last four American men to die in aerial combat in World War 2, but they are four of the eighteen aviators whose deaths are chronicled in this book.
What this book is really about is a unit history of the 88th Air Group that flew from the decks of the aircraft carrier Yorktown between early July and the middle of August 1945. The book focuses on two men: Billy Hobbs and Eugene Mandeberg. Most of the sources that the author has of a personal nature come from their letters to their families, loved ones, newspaper articles about them and the like. This is augmented by the standard unit reports, and interviews with family members that were conducted more than seventy years after the war. Since a focus on just two pilots did not provide enough material for a book, the author wisely expanded his coverage to include more than that.
Very brief biographical sketches of some of the pilots in the Air Group, and especially in the Hellcat Fighter Squadron start off the book. Then we are taken through the various stages of each of their training regimens. The author makes it clear that they were not brought together as a unit until their training had reached certain levels. While never stated, there must have been some pretty severe drop outs from the various schools that the pilots went through as they went through each stage.
As each stage of training is reached, the author describes the kind of training that school offered and where it was provided until at last the unit was formed and we are introduced to the command structure. We are then shown how the unit started coming together and the kind of flying exercises they did as they were preparing to get deployed to the real combat zone. Throughout this whole process, the flyer had no idea where they were going. Only vague information was given. Of course, once they were assigned to the Pacific theater was it clear that they were going to fight Japan, but not till they got to Saipan did they know that they were going to be stationed on the Yorktown, for instance, nor did they know that they were going to be part of Admiral Halsey’s 3rd Fleet.
Halsey is describes as a petulant, hate spewing, demon. During the month of July his fleet is operating in Japanese waters and he sends his planes to bomb and strafe various Japanese installations. Supposedly this is to show the Japanese that the war has come to their inviolate lands and to prove to them that they are losing the war. But, by this stage of the war, the Army Air Forces have been bombing Japan for months, so it is not clear to me why the author completely ignores that fact?
The courage of the Navy aviators as they face anti-aircraft fire to strafe railroad locomotives and Japanese naval ships in undoubted. Several pilots are lost due to this fire and due to the weather conditions over Japan at the time. The book also goes on to describe some of the heroic recovery operations that pluck some of the downed pilots away from Japanese waters to bring them back to their squadron mates. Throughout all of these missions, there is only one mention of Japanese air resistance and that is of a single ambush of some Corsairs on their way back from a bombing mission.
Then came the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war is now clearly over, yet Halsey is sending his fleet closer to Japan and bombing installations closer and closer to Tokyo. These installations are more heavily protected than anything else the flyers have yet seen and everyone starts wondering “why?”
On August 15th, as peace portents are in the air, Halsey orders a strike against a heavily protected electrical plant just outside Tokyo. As the pilots of Air Group 88 fly towards the target, peace is declared. They are called back to their ship. All turn back, but one group of six is swarmed by fifteen to twenty Japanese fighters on their way back to the ships and in the ensuing dogfight, four of the six American airplanes are downed. The final chapter of the book describes the aftermath of the war for the two families that lost two of those pilots that the author followed most closely.
As a popular history book, it makes for interesting reading. I would categorize it as a unit history. It is light on the facts and does fill in some gaps on what Halsey’s 3rd Navy did during those six weeks. It is a sobering reminder of the realities of war and the losses that war entails. It is also full of ironies: The irony that these men died knowing that the war was over; and the further irony, that the first time they were ever involved in a real aerial dogfight was when they should not have been, and that it was also their last.
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Client d'Amazon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book !
Reviewed in Canada on November 26, 2020
Great book!
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Dogfight online sale over Tokyo: The Final Air Battle of the Pacific and the Last Four Men 2021 to Die in World War II online sale

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