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Military Book Look: Gods Samurai

The biography of Mitsuo Fuchida

He has been challenged, criticized, and condemned both in his lifetime and after, but I believe Mitsuo Fuchida at heart was a good, decent man even during World War Two.  This book only reinforced that belief.

At first, Fuchida’s story reads like that of a warrior destined for greatness.  Born to a humble background, he found a calling in the Imperial Japanese Navy, where he discovered both a love for flying and a knack for leadership.  A knack which saw him at the head of the attack on Pearl Harbor, after which Fuchida returned home to a hero’s welcome and high praise from one and all.

But by war’s end Fuchida could no longer serve his country, because her head now was bowed in utter, agonizing defeat, having suffered tenfold the consequences of that infamous dawn attack.

During this fallow time in his life, Fuchida eventually discovered a new cause, one that sprang from spiritual awakening: Christian evangelism.    And with his sword thus turned into a plowshare, Fuchida dedicated the rest of his life to the cause of Jesus.

This book is not a “wartless” look at its subject.  Fuchida is here, warts and all.  The man, the warrior, the preacher, the father, the husband, even the lover of another woman during that fallow time after the war, all are captured beautifully by Prange and his associates.

“Here, then, was a man who could be heroic and weak, likable and exasperating, a man of loves and hates, of prejudices and compassion--in short, a human being, although painted in bolder outlines than most.  This is his story.” Goldstein and Dillon note at the end of their introduction.  How true those words are.