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Human history--from the empires of the ancient world to the superpowers of the 21st century--has been inextricably shaped by conflict and the weapons that have been used to wage it. The technologies that have produced advanced civilizations have also been harnessed to the grim business of warfare. The trains that carried working people to their first seaside holidays in the 19th century also took millions of young men to war in 1914. Nearly a century later, the computer revolution, which by 2000 had come to dominate almost every aspect of life in advanced societies, had also introduced us to a new fifth dimension of warfare, in which governments jostle brutally in cyberspace.This short history, stretching from the chariot to the Stuxnet virus which disabled Iran's nuclear enrichment programme in 2007, charts some of the most significant weapons, fortifications and tactics that have been developed in the last 2,500 years.Since 1945, the pace of change has been relentless. In the present day, the main battle tank is facing obsolescence as the master of the battlefield, and the introduction of the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) threatens the livelihoods of many of the highly trained establishments of the world's leading air forces. In contrast, the many asymmetric conflicts raging around the globe in countries of the Third World attest to the durability of one of the 20th century's most remarkable weapons, the Kalashnikov assault rifle, developed in the later 1940s and still in service worldwide. This is a scintillating introduction to the world's most enduring phenomenon.
Discover how fifty great firearms influenced and helped shape our world. World history has always been interwoven with developments in firearms technology and so is peppered with legendary guns. Since the invention of gunpowder, nations have raced to create more useful and powerful firearms with which to protect, conquer, and hunt. 50 Guns That Changed the World explores the most significant firearms from the past two hundred years, from deadly weapons of war to quaint plinking guns. Included are: Winchester Model 1873 Colt 1911 Mauser Model 98 M1 Garand Ruger 10/22 AK-47 AR-15 Benelli M2 Glock G17 Barrett 82A1 Discover the history, design details, operation, variants, and users of each firearm, illustrated with archival photography from the manufacturers and of the guns in action. Firearms enthusiasts, history buffs, hunters, and shooters will all find something to marvel at in this gorgeous full-color book.
One of the first Thunderbolt groups to see action in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) with the US Army Air Forces, the 56th Fighter Group (FG) was also the only fighter unit within the Eighth Air Force to remain equipped with the mighty P-47 until war's end. Led by the inspirational 'Hub' Zemke, this group was responsible for devising many of the bomber escort tactics employed by VIII Fighter Command between 1943 and 1945. By VE-Day the 56th FG had shot down 100 more enemy aircraft than any other group in the Eighth Air Force, its pilots being credited with 677 kills during 447 missions. The exploits of this elite fighter unit are detailed in this volume together with photographs, their aircraft profiles and insignia.
Organized in January 1941, just as the United States was building up military forces for its inevitable entry into World War II, the 57th Fighter Group was the first USAAF fighter unit to go into action in North Africa. It went on to establish a number of other "firsts" during its illustrious combat history in this theater. Flying P-40 Warhawks, the pilots of the 57th entered combat in August 1942 and fought throughout the final Allied advance from El Alamein through the Axis surrender in Tunisia, the capture of Sicily and the invasion of Italy. Converting to the P-47D Thunderbolt in late 1943, the 57th continued pounding the retreating Axis forces in Italy until the end of the war in Europe. The 57th Fighter Group produced a number of aces during the war, and was also recognized for its pioneering achievements in the fighter-bomber role.
In May 1943, 617 Squadron RAF executed one of the most daring operations in military history. Flying barely 50 feet above black marble waters, Wing Commander Guy Gibson and his bombers mounted a raid against hydro-electric dams in Germany. Bold, courageous and precise - 617 Squadron became a World War II legend. Nearly seventy years later in April 2011, a new generation of elite flyers followed their Dambuster heroes into the theatre of war. Now flying supersonic Tornado GR4 bombers, 617 Squadron was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan - their mission, to provide close air support to troops engaged in brutal conflict on the ground. Commanding 617 is new boss Keith Taylor. An operational veteran with seven tours over Iraq, he knew that even with the latest cutting-edge weapons and sensors, only rigorous flying standards and watertight tactics would keep his young pilots safe. A full-throttle account of daring feats in modern fast attack jets, this is also a very personal story of a closely-knit band of men and women working under immense pressure, where every decision could affect the lives of NATO troops and an entire country's hopes for a better future. Tim Bouquet was given unprecedented access to 617's pre-deployment training at RAF Lossiemouth and blistering tour in Afghanistan. From dramatic air strikes to the life-and-death search for IEDs and low-flying shows of force designed to spook and drive insurgents from civilian cover, he tracks every mission - and the skill, resilience, banter and exceptional airmanship that see 617 through. 617 is the richest, most insightful and gripping account of the Royal Air Force at war for a generation.
Shortly before Christmas in 1943, five Army aviators left Alaska’s Ladd Field on a test flight. Only one ever returned: Leon Crane, a city kid from Philadelphia with little more than a parachute on his back when he bailed from his B-24 Liberator before it crashed into the Arctic. Alone in subzero temperatures, Crane managed to stay alive in the dead of the Yukon winter for nearly twelve weeks and, amazingly, walked out of the ordeal intact. 81 Days Below Zero recounts, for the first time, the full story of Crane’s remarkable saga. In a drama of staggering resolve with moments of phenomenal luck, Crane learned to survive in the Yukon’s unforgiving landscape. His is a tale of the human capacity to endure extreme conditions and intense lonelinessand emerge stronger than before.
Shortly before Christmas in 1943, five Army aviators left Alaska’s Ladd Field on a test flight. Only one ever returned: Leon Crane, a city kid from Philadelphia with little more than a parachute on his back when he bailed from his B-24 Liberator before it crashed into the Arctic. Alone in subzero temperatures, Crane managed to stay alive in the dead of the Yukon winter for nearly twelve weeks and, amazingly, walked out of the ordeal intact. 81 Days Below Zero recounts, for the first time, the full story of Crane’s remarkable saga. In a drama of staggering resolve with moments of phenomenal luck, Crane learned to survive in the Yukon’s unforgiving landscape. His is a tale of the human capacity to endure extreme conditions and intense loneliness--and emerge stronger than before.
The First American-Afghan War, a CIA war, was approved by President George W. Bush and directed by the author, Robert Grenier, the CIA station chief in Islamabad. Forging separate alliances with warlords, Taliban dissidents, and Pakistani intelligence, Grenier launched the "southern campaign," orchestrating the final defeat of the Taliban and Hamid Karzai's rise to power in eighty-eight chaotic days.In his gripping narrative, we meet: General Tommy Franks, who bridled at CIA control of "his" war; General "Jafar Amin," a gruff Pakistani intelligence officer who saved Grenier from committing career suicide; Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's brilliant ambassador to the US, who tried to warn her government of the al-Qa'ida threat; "Mark," the CIA operator who guided Gul Agha Shirzai to bloody victory over the Taliban; General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, a cautious man who became the most powerful man in Pakistan, struggling with Grenier's demands while trying to protect his country; and Hamid Karzai, the puzzling anti-Taliban insurgent, a man of courage, petulance, and vacillating moods. Grenier's enemies out in front prove only slightly more lethal than the ones behind his own lines. This first war is won despite Washington bureaucrats who divert resources, deny military support, and try to undermine the only Afghan allies capable of winning. Later, as he directed the CIA's role in the Iraq War, Grenier watched the initial victory squandered. His last command was of CIA's CounterTerrorism Center (CTC), as Bush-era terrorism policies were being repudiated, as the Taliban re-emerged in Afghanistan, and as Pakistan descended into fratricidal violence.
In the early 1970s, the USAF, still fresh in the mire of the Vietnam War, began the search for a more effective aircraft to conduct the CAS mission. With aircraft losses climbing, the need for an aircraft that could withstand punishment as well as deliver it was unmistakable. Looking at past experience in Southeast Asia as well as the present and future threat in Western Europe of a numerically superior Soviet Army, the USAF demanded that the new aircraft be built around a 30 mm cannon. Fairchild Republic won the resulting A-X competition in 1973 and General Electric was chosen the following year to build the jet's GAU-8 30 mm main gun. Some 715 A-10s were subsequently built between 1975 and 1984. The A-10 was never a favourite amongst the USAF's senior staff, and prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 they had attempted to transfer the aircraft to the US Army and Marine Corps. Everything changed when Operation Desert Storm began, as the A-10 quickly showed what it was capable of. Reprieved from premature retirement, the A-10 would see combat in the Balkans during the mid-1990s and over Iraq in Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch until Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003. Following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, the Bush administration responded with the instigation of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in October 2001. A-10 aircraft first entered the fray during Operation Anaconda in March 2002, flying first from an airfield in Pakistan and then from Bagram AB in Afghanistan. During Anaconda four A-10s flying from Pakistan provided 21 straight hours of FAC (A)/CAS coverage. Since then the flexibility of the A-10 has persisted, with units moving through airfields in Afghanistan under AEF deployments. This ongoing commitment has seen active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard squadrons rotating through Bagram and Kandahar airfields in support of Coalition forces in-theatre. The premier CAS aircraft in Afghanistan, the once disposable A-10 has become indispensable. With new upgrades, the 'digital' A-10C has seen its arsenal expanded to include the latest generation of ordnance. The untold story of the A-10 in Enduring Freedom will be explored and presented as never before through first hand interviews and photography from those involved, along with official military achieves. This title is the first of three planned covering the combat experience of the USAF's A-10 Thunderbolt II units. Follow-on volumes will examine the role of the Warthog during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The untold story of A-10 units in Operation Enduring Freedom reaches its conclusion with this second of two volumes focusing on the type's combat missions in Afghanistan. Featuring numerous first-hand accounts and photography from those who experienced the conflict, along with imagery from official military archives, this book offers a unique and detailed insight into the record of the A-10 in one of the 21st Century's most significant conflicts.Initially, the A-10 Thunderbolt was not a favorite of the USAF, which, prior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, was hoping to shunt this Cold War relic onto the US Army and Marine Corps. But since then, the 'Warthog', with its formidable armament, ruggedness and flexibility, has continually proven itself in combat and evolved into the world's premiere close support aircraft. In 2002 the Thunderbolt was at the forefront of Operation Enduring Freedom, the US occupation of Afghanistan.
Osprey's study of the A-26 Invader Units' participation in World War II (1939-1945). Designed to combine the bombing capability of the B-26 Marauder with the versatility of the ground-attack A-20 Havoc, the A-26 Invader would become the USAAF's attack bomber par excellence. Capable of flying low-level strafing or conventional bombing missions by simply changing the nose configuration of the aircraft, the Invader first saw action in 1943 in the Pacific Theater attacking Japanese-held islands. Arriving in Europe several months later, the A-26 served with distinction for the remainder of World War II. In fact, the design proved so successful that it would go on to fly combat missions for a further two decades. Written by military aviation expert Jerry Scutts and illustrated with brand-new color profiles and rare photography, this is the first book to focus exclusively on the A-26's missions in World War II.
The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior, though something of a cult favourite, remains a largely unremarked classic of Naval Aviation. Built for nuclear weapon delivery, the A-3 made its name in Vietnam as a conventional bomber, tanker and Electronic Warfare platform. It was the largest aircraft ever regularly operated from the decks of aircraft carriers, earning it the fleet-wide nickname 'Whale'. It excelled in every mission area assigned to it and operated in the US Navy for more than four decades, from 1956 through to 1991. Fully illustrated to depict the incredible array of paint schemes and awesome size, this volume focuses on the type's Vietnam service, which saw the aircraft briefly used as a bomber over both North and South Vietnam from March 1965, before the Skywarrior proved far more valuable as a multi-role tanker (KA-3B) and tanker/tactical jammer (EKA-3B). The title includes details on all of these operations as well as more clandestine reconnaissance missions, and provides information about the men that flew them.
Designed in the years following the Korean War and then manufactured for over 30 years starting in 1960, the A-6 quickly became the most capable attack aircraft in the US Navy's stable. The first squadron, VA-75, made its initial deployment directly into combat in south-east Asia in 1965, and, over the next eight years, ten US Navy and four Marine Intruder squadrons would conduct combat operations throughout Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. After initial problems and a high loss rate, the type proved itself beyond all doubt as the Naval services' best night and foul-weather platform, particularly during the region's notorious monsoon season. The A-6 Intruder became a true classic of naval aviation over the skies of North Vietnam but the cost was high as 69 Intruders were lost in combat to all causes during the war. This work tells the complete story of these aircraft in combat during the Vietnam War.
June 1940. The Italians declared war on the British. Completely unprepared for war, the British had only 35,000 troops to defend Egypt. Opposing them, the Italian army in Libya numbered at least 215,000; in East Africa, the Italians could muster another 200,000 men against a meager 19,000 British and commonwealth troops positioned in the Sudan and East Africa. Out-numbered and unlikely to receive sizable reinforcements of men or desperately needed supplies, it is surprising that the British survived. But they did. How? They got creative. Under the leadership of General Archibald P. Wavell, the commander-in-chief of the Middle East, the British set out to greatly exaggerate the size of their forces, supply levels, and state of battle readiness. When their deceitful charades proved successful, Wavell turned trickery into a profession and created an entirely new agency dedicated to carrying out deception. "A" Force: The Origins of British Military Deception during the Second World War looks at how and why the British first employed deception in WWII. More specifically, it traces the development of the "A" Force organization - the first British organization to practice both tactical and strategic deception in the field. Formed in Cairo in 1941, "A" Force was headed by an unconventional colonel named Dudley Wrangel Clarke. Because there was no precedent for Clarke's "A" Force, it truly functioned on a trial-and-error basis. The learning curve was steep, but Clarke was up for the challenge. By the Battle of El Alamein, British deception had reach maturity. Moreover, it was there that the deceptionists established the deception blueprint later used by the London planners used to plan and execute Operation Bodyguard, the campaign to conceal Allied intentions regarding the well-known D-day landing at Normandy. In contrast to earlier deception histories that have tended to focus on Britain's later deception coups (Bodyguard), thus giving the impression that London masterminded Britain's deception efforts, this work clearly shows that British deception was forged much earlier in the deserts of Africa under the leadership of Dudley Clarke, not London. Moreover, it was born not out of opportunity, but out of sheer desperation. A" Force explores an area of deception history that has often been neglected. While older studies and documentaries focused on the D-day deception campaign and Britain's infamous double-agents, this work explores the origins of Britain's deception activities to reveal how the British became such masterful deceivers.
A. P. Hill: Lee's Forgotten General is the first biography of the Confederacy's long-neglected hero whom Lee ranked next to Jackson and Longstreet. Although the name and deeds ot this gallant Virginian conspicuously punctuate the record of every major campaign of the Army of Northern Virginia, the man himself has persistently remained what Douglas Southall Freman termed an "elusive personality." William Woods Hassler, through careful and persistent research, has compiled an interesting documentary study from which emerges a balanced portrait of this distinguished but complex character.Here for the first time is detailed the romantic triangle which enmeshed Hill and McClellan, former roommates at West Point, with beauteous Nelly Marcy, reigning queen of pre-war Washington's younger set. Hill lost this contest to Nelly's parents, but he later won the hand of General John Hunt Morgan's lovely and talented sister, Dolly. And at Sharpsburg, Hill wreaked vengeance upon McClellan by his timely arrival which saved Lee from defeat at the same time it spelled McClellan's subsequent dismissal from command of the Army of the Potomac.The author traces Hill's meteoric rise from Colonel of the redoubtable Thirteenth Virginia Regiment to Major General in command of the famed Light Division. Against a "you are there" background of intimate detail, the reader follows the exploits of tempestous Ambrose Powell Hill as he welds his officers and men into fierce striking units. Where the fighing is thickests there is the red-haired, red-shirted Hill brandishing his sword and exhorting his men to victory. Sometimes the issue ends ignominiously as at Bristoe Station, but more often the outcome is glorious as at Second Manassas and Reams Station.Gray greats and near-greats stalk through these pages with vivid reality as one meets Jeb Stuart, Dorsey Pender, John Hood, Heros von Borcke, Ham Chamerlayne, Willie Pegram, Rev. J. Wm. Jones, Cadmus Wilcox, Harry Heth, J. R. Anderson, Lawrence O'Brien Branch, James Archer, Jim Lane, Thomas Wooten, Charles Field, George Tucker, Kyd Douglas, Johnston Pettigrew, Moxley Sorrel, William H. Palmer, Wade Hampton, Jube Early, Lindsay Walker, Maxcy Gregg, Sam McGowan, and others.Accompanying Hill and his commands from pre-Manassas to the final breakthrough at Petersburg, the reader relives the campaigns in the Eastern theater. At the same time the reader gains a deeper insight into the problems of command, together with an appreciation of the hardships which the Confederate soldiers endured during even the early days of the conflict.Although Powell Hill's consideration and ability won for him the unbounded respect and devotion of his troops, his proud, sensitive nature continually embroiled him with his superiors. His dispute with Longstreet following the Seven Days Battles almost culminated in a duel. Transferred to Jackson's command, Hill outspokenly quarreled with "Old Jack" until the latter's mortal wounding at Chancellorsville effected a dramatic battlefield reconciliation. As Jackson's successor, Hill performed irregularly. The author analyzes objectively the various factors which may have caused the changes in Hill's fortunes following his elevation to corps command.
In October 1969, William Albracht, the youngest Green Beret captain in Vietnam, took command of a remote hilltop outpost called Fire Base Kate, held by only 27 American soldiers and 150 Montagnard militiamen. He found their defenses woefully unprepared. At dawn the next morning, three North Vietnamese Army regiments--some 6,000 men--crossed the Cambodian border and attacked. Outnumbered three dozen to one, Albracht's men held off repeated ground assaults by communist forces with fierce hand-to-hand fighting, air support and a dangerously close B-52 strike. For days, the NVA blanketed Kate in a rain of rockets, mortars, artillery, machineguns, and small arms, blocking efforts to resupply, reinforce, or evacuate the outpost. Albracht continually exposed himself to enemy fire to direct air strikes, to guide re-supply helicopters, to distribute ammunition and water to his men, to retrieve the dead and to rescue the wounded, often shielding men with his own body. Wounded by rocket shrapnel, he refused medical attention or evacuation. Exhausted from days without sleep, he continued to rally his men to beat off each new enemy attack. After five days, Kate's defenders were out of ammo and water. Aerial resupply was suicidal, and reinforcements were denied by military commanders who had written off Kate. Albracht refused to surrender or die in place. Refusing to allow his men to surrender, Albracht led his troops, including many wounded, off the hill and on a daring night march through enemy lines. Abandoned in Hell is an astonishing memoir of leadership, sacrifice, and brutal violence, a riveting journey into Vietnam's heart of darkness, and a compelling reminder of the transformational power of individual heroism. Not since Lone Survivor and We Were Soldiers Once, And Young has there been such a gripping and authentic account of battlefield courage.INCLUDES PHOTOS
A daring behind-enemy-lines mission from the author of A Time of Gifts and The Broken Road, who was once described by the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'. One of the greatest feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor's remarkable life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on 26 April 1944. He and Captain Billy Moss hatched a daring plan to abduct the general, while ensuring that no reprisals were taken against the Cretan population. Dressed as German military police, they stopped and took control of Kreipe's car, drove through twenty-two German checkpoints, then succeeded in hiding from the German army before finally being picked up on a beach in the south of the island and transported to safety in Egypt on 14 May. Abducting a General is Leigh Fermor's own account of the kidnap, published for the first time. Written in his inimitable prose, and introduced by acclaimed Special Operations Executive historian Roderick Bailey, it is a glorious first-hand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War. Also included in this book are Leigh Fermor's intelligence reports, sent from caves deep within Crete yet still retaining his remarkable prose skills, which bring the immediacy of SOE operations vividly alive, as well as the peril which the SOE and Resistance were operating under; and a guide to the journey that Kreipe was taken on, as seen in the 1957 film Ill Met by Moonlight starring Dirk Bogarde, from the abandonment of his car to the embarkation site so that the modern visitor can relive this extraordinary event.
One of the most daring feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor's daring life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on April 26, 1944.Abducting a General, now published for the first time in the United States, is Leigh Fermor's own account of the kidnapping. Written in his inimitable prose, and introduced by the acclaimed Special Operations Executive historian Roderick Bailey, it is a glorious firsthand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War. Also included in this book are Leigh Fermor's intelligence reports sent from caves deep within Crete, which bring the immediacy of SOE operations vividly alive, as well as the peril under which the SOE and Resistance were operating, and a guide to the journey that Kreipe took, from the abandonment of his car to the embarkation site, so that the modern visitor to Crete can relive this extraordinary trip.in Crete yet still retaining his remarkable prose skills, which bring the immediacy of SOE operations vividly alive, as well as the peril under which the SOE and Resistance were operating; and a guide to the journey that Kreipe was taken on, as seen in the 1957 film Ill Met by Moonlight starring Dirk Bogarde, from the abandonment of his car to the embarkation site so that the modern visitor can relive this extraordinary event.
This action-packed biography focuses on a 1944 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who was one of only fifty Jewish midshipmen commissioned in his class during World War II. In the Pacific, Lt. Shulman s destroyer survived both a typhoon and a Japanese kamikaze aircraft attack. After leaving the U.S. Navy and returning to civilian life, he volunteered to help the Haganah, the paramilitary force of the Jewish Agency for Palestine headed by David Ben-Gurion. Shulman had been introduced to Ben-Gurion by his mother, who was an executive with Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. Working in New York City, he helped to buy surplus warships for the Haganah s clandestine sealift that brought Holocaust survivors from Europe to Palestine.In early 1948 Ben-Gurion called the 25-year-old Shulman to Israel to set up an academy to train officers and NCOs to man ships of Israel s fledgling navy, which at that point only had the refugee vessels. Beginning with almost no assets, within three months, now-Kvarnit (Commander) Shulman took the Israeli squadron into action against enemy ships, and even against one vessel fighting with Israeli forces. After Israel won its independence most of the 1,200 American and Canadian volunteers went home. Shulman, with his wife and infant son, remained in Israel, settling in Haifa, which would be their home for the next forty years. After Shulman died in 1994, a stained glass window was dedicated in his memory at the U.S. naval Academy s new Uriah P. Levy Chapel.Wandres book fully documents Shulman s role in helping to launch the navy of new Israeli nation. Based on interviews and correspondence with former U.S. Navy shipmates and Machal volunteers, Israeli and American archives, and declassified Secret U.S. Department of State documents, The Ablest Navigator provides a unique window into Israel s history and its relations with the United StatesThis narrative biography relies on interviews and correspondence with former U.S. Navy shipmates and Machal volunteers, Israeli and American archives, and declassified Secret U.S. Department of State documents.
Cannons are blasting! Bullets are flying! Wounded soldiers are everywhere! Stosh has time-traveled to 1863, right into the middle of the Civil War. In possibly his most exciting and definitely his most dangerous trip yet, Stosh has decided to answer the question for all time: did Abner Doubleday, a Civil War general, really invent the game of baseball? It's all here: big laughs, dramatic action, fast baseball games in the middle of a battlefield. You'll be blown away by this sixth amazing baseball card adventure!
Above the Din of War: Afghans Speak About Their Lives, Their Country, and Their Future—and Why America Should Listenby Peter Eichstaedt
Most books about the war in Afghanistan examine the conflict from the perspective of a foreign correspondent, political analyst, or US soldier, but Above the Din of War focuses on the people of Afghanistan themselves, providing a forum in which the thoughts of everyday people can be considered. Having traveled the country for a year, Peter Eichstaedt draws out Afghans from all walks of life: a former warlord, a Taliban judge, victims of self-immolation, courageous women parliamentarians, would-be suicide bombers, besieged merchants, frightened mullahs, and desperate archaeologists. The book explores a country that both vexes and fascinates the world and relates what its people have to say about living through 30 years of continual unrest, violence, and negative international attention. From his time spent interviewing and living with the people of Afghanistan, Eichstaedt proposes American and NATO exit strategies that could avoid leaving Afghanistan mired in chaos and war. This thought-provoking title from a journalist's point of view adds a human element to this complex international situation.
In her most ambitious, moving, and provocative novel to date, Sarah Bird makes a stunning departure. Above the East China Sea tells the entwined stories of two teenaged girls, an American and an Okinawan, whose lives are connected across seventy years by the shared experience of profound loss, the enduring strength of an ancient culture, and the redeeming power of family love. Luz James, a contemporary U.S. Air Force brat, lives with her strictly-by-the-rules sergeant mother at Kadena Air Base in Okianawa. Luz's older sister, her best friend and emotional center, has just been killed in the Afghan war. Unmoored by her sister's death and a lifetime of constant moving from base to base, Luz turns for the comfort her service-hardened mother cannot offer to the "Smokinawans," the "waste cases," who gather to get high every night in a deserted cove. When even pills, one-hitters, Cuervo Gold, and a growing crush on Jake Furusato aren't enough to soften the unbearable edge, the desolate girl contemplates taking her own life.In 1945, Tamiko Kokuba, along with two hundred of her classmates, is plucked out of her elite girls' high school and trained to work in the Imperial Army's horrific cave hospitals. With defeat certain, Tamiko finds herself squeezed between the occupying Japanese and the invading Americans. She believes she has lost her entire family, as well as the island paradise she so loved, and, like Luz, she aches with a desire to be reunited with her beloved sister. On an island where the spirits of the dead are part of life and your entire clan waits for you in the afterworld, suicide offers Tamiko the promise of peace. As Luz tracks down the story of her own Okinawan grandmother, she discovers that, if she surrenders to the most unbrat impulse and allows herself to connect completely with a place and its people, the ancestral spirits will save not only Tamiko but her as well. Propelled by a riveting narrative and set at the very epicenter of the headline-grabbing clash now emerging between the great powers, Above the East China Sea is at once a remarkable chronicle of how war shapes the lives of conquerors as well as the conquered and a deeply moving account of family, friendship, and love that transcends time.This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
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