Battleship Yamato: Of War, Beauty and Irony
An extraordinaryâand strikingly illustratedâreflection on the meaning of war from one of our greatest living writers. The battleship Yamato, of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was the most powerful warship of World War II and represented the climax, as it were, of the Japanese warrior traditions of the samuraiâthe ideals of honor, discipline, and self-sacrifice that had immemorially ennobled the Japanese national consciousness. Stoically poised for battle in the spring of 1945âwhen even Japanâs last desperate technique of arms, the kamikaze, was running shortâYamato arose as the last magnificent arrow in the imperial quiver of Emperor Hirohito. Here, Jan Morris not only tells the dramatic story of the magnificent ship itselfâfrom secret wartime launch to futile sacrifice at Okinawaâbut, more fundamentally, interprets the ship as an allegorical figure of war itself, in its splendor and its squalor, its heroism and its waste. Drawing on rich naval history and rhapsodic metaphors from international music and art, Battleship Yamato is a work of grand ironic elegy.