Samurai!: The Autobiography of Japan’s World War Two Flying Ace (Uncommon Valor)
Samurai!, first published in 1957, is the war-time account of Saburo Sakai, the leading Japanese fighter ace to survive the Second World War. Sakai, born in 1916, hoped to escape the poverty of life in his rural village by enlisting in the Imperial Japanese Navy at age 16. In 1937, he graduated at the top of his pilot-training class, and soon saw combat in China. Later, against the Allies, Sakai engaged in more than two hundred dogfights, from the Philippines to Iwo Jima, and by war's end had reportedly downed a staggering total of 64 Allied aircraft. His most renowned accomplishment occurred after action over Guadalcanal in August 1942; partially paralyzed and nearly blind from multiple wounds, Sakai managed to fly his damaged plane 560 miles to Rabaul and safely land his Zero fighter. By the end of World War II he had logged 3,700 flight hours, including some 1,500 hours in the Zero. Samurai! provides a unique look into the Samurai character and the human emotions of soldiers in any war, regardless of race or nationality. In addition to Sakai's personal story, the book remains an invaluable eyewitness account of some of the most famous battles in the Pacific. This new edition includes nine pages of photographs.