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The Last Mission

by Jim Smith Malcolm Mcconnell

A gripping account of the final American bombing mission of World War II and how it prevented a military coup that would have kept Japan in the war.How close did the Japanese come to not surrendering to Allied forces on August 15, 1945? The Last Mission explores this question through two previously neglected strands of late--World War II history, whose very interconnections could have caused a harrowing shift in the course of the postwar world. On the final night of the war, as Emperor Hirohito recorded a message of surrender for the Japanese people, a band of Japanese rebels, commanded by War Minister Anami's elite staff, burst into the palace. They had plotted a massive coup that aimed to destroy the recordings of the Imperial Rescript of surrender and issue false orders forged with the Emperor's seal commanding the widely dispersed Japanese military to continue the war. If this rebellion had succeeded, the military would have proceeded with large-scale kamikaze attacks on Allied forces, costing huge casualties and just possibly provoking the Americans to drop a third atomic bomb on Japan over Tokyo-and continue to drop more bombs as Japanese resistance stiffened.Meanwhile, in the midst of an "end-of-war" celebration on Guam, Air Force radio operator Jim Smith and his fellow crewmen received urgent orders for a bombing mission over Japan's sole remaining oil refinery north of Tokyo. As a stream of American B-29B bombers approached Tokyo, Japanese air defenses, fearing the approaching planes signaled the threat of a third atomic bomb, ordered a total blackout in Tokyo and the Imperial Palace, completely disrupting the rebels' plans. Smith and his fellow crewmembers completed the mission, and a few hours later, the Emperor announced the surrender over Japan's airwaves, dictating the end of the war.The Last Mission is an insightful piece of speculative investigation that combines narrative storytelling with historical contingency and explores how two seemingly unrelated events could have profoundly changed the course of modern history.From the Hardcover edition.

The Last Mountain Man #1

by William W. Johnstone

William W. Johnstone is one of the greatest storytellers to chronicle the spectacle and drama of life in a young America. In this extraordinary novel, Johnstone tells the epic story of a young man from the Ozark Mountains who journeys west to the violent lands of Colorado Territory and learns to be lightning with a gun--and destined to become the last of a breed. Kirby Jensen is a big, rawboned boy whose family is shattered by the Civil War, heading west with a father haunted by a secret from the war and by everything he has lost. Father and son meet a man reeking of the wilderness, who calls himself "Preacher," and leads them into a sudden fight with renegade Pawnee Indians. In a matter of moments, in a storm of gunsmoke and blood, Kirby Jensen finds his calling, and is christened with a new name... He is now Smoke Jensen, who learns the ways of survival and warfare from Preacher, falling in love with a beautiful young woman, and discovering the cruel truth behind what drove his father to an early grave. As Smoke becomes one with the rugged land, he knows the raging violence that courses through his own blood, and he knows the story of the gold, traitors, and killers that his father tried to shield him from. For a time, Smoke keeps his rage at bay. But Preacher will ultimately lead him to the most dangerous place a man can be. Smoke Jensen--and his skill with a gun became a legend, the law has become an enemy, and gunmen are coming with a mission: to slaughter the people Smoke Jensen loves most. Vivid, fast-paced and pulsing with passion, THE LAST MOUNTAIN MAN is the classic saga of a man driven into a battle on the American frontier that will ultimately decide the fate of a new land.

The Last Mountain Man #14: Cunning of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

NOTHING PUTS THE FIGHT IN SMOKE JENSEN LIKE A WAR FOR WHAT'S RIGHT There were some who knew Smoke Jensen as a hero...and there were others who believed the dark side of the legend--that he was an outlaw who'd killed over 300 men. But when Smoke wakes up with a gut-wrenching headache in a New Mexico jail cell, he feels as helpless as a newly whelped cougar cub--with a lease on his life shorter than the blink of an eye. Somehow, Smoke's got to make it out--and escape the hide-hungry lynch mob that's after him for a murder he didn't commit. Then he's got to find his way through the hate and into the trust of the beautiful widow of the rancher they say Smoke gunned down. Because Smoke Jensen's all she's got standing between her and the cunning killers out for land...and blood. As the saying goes, where there's Smoke...

The Last Mountain Man #15: Power of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

BIG CITY JUSTICE In the depth of a cruel High Lonesome winter comes a cryptic message for Smoke Jensen. The letter tells of skullduggery by gold barons, railroad magnates and Chinese tongs in San Francisco. Smoke knows only one person in the city by the bay: the well-rounded, open-natured Francie, mistress of one of the town's most notorious pleasure palaces. Smoke once rescued her from raiding Cheyenne, but now Madame Francie is mysteriously dead...and Smoke's arrival in San Francisco is less than welcoming. Then, on the waterfront, he learns of a plot by the wealthy, the mighty, and the deadly to expand their stronghold over the region's gold-rich lands. Beating a trail into the High Sierras, Smoke recruits a band of angry prospectors, ranchers and farmers for a final showdown that could be the end of Smoke Jensen....

The Last Mountain Man #16: Spirit of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

A hard term in Yuma Prison gave Ralph Tinsdale and his sidekicks some time to work up a deep hatred for Smoke Jensen, the man who put them there. Now having escaped, they possess a posse of 40 men and the price on Smoke Jensen's head is 20 grand. With Jensen's wife shanghaied into Tinsdale's deadly trap, Smoke knows there's more at stake than his own life.

The Last Mountain Man #17: Ordeal of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

The Wyoming tinderbox of Muddy Gap is feeling none too friendly ever since the Grubbs gang tore through on a hellraising rampage. And it's far from over. Because what the vicious Utah Jack Grubbs would really kill for just rode into town: Smoke Jensen...and a small fortune in rawhide. Smoke needed a break from driving a herd of remounts north when he showed up in Muddy Gap. Now, he's on the run again, headed for the Montana wilds--with Grubbs and his men shadowing his trail. As if that wasn't trouble enough, Chief Iron Claw's bloodthirsty Cheyenne warriors have just appeared on the horizon. It isn't long before a war between the white man's greed and the red man's savagery turns the peaceful Bighorn Mountains into a simmering powderkeg. Caught in the middle--with no way out--Smoke Jensen is just the man to set off the explosion. Either way, this mountain man could end up dead...

The Last Mountain Man #18: Triumph of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

THIS LAND'S NOT FOR SALE... Only his thirst for blood equals his lust for wealth and power. And in his vicious seizure of the coveted land around Taos, high among the Rocky Mountains in the New Mexico Territory, plenty of innocent blood will be spilled. Robber baron Clifton Satterlee's plan is twofold and simple: to wrest the timber-thick hills from the Tua Pueblo and then populate the town with his own subservient labor force. But in his near-perfect campaign of terror, Satterlee has overlooked one mighty obstacle. Its source is the High Lonesome in faraway Colorado. The man lives by his own highly personal brand of justice. His name is Smoke Jensen. Smoke knows that the brutality of men is like the savagery of nature. It respects no law except its own. Against an army of vicious killers, Smoke stands aimed and trigger-ready. Safety in numbers is what Smoke and his men think they've got. What they don't know is they're no match against a man with a hard-earned legend-- and a loaded Colt .45 to back it up...

The Last Mountain Man #19: Vengeance of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

SOME PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE BAD ENOUGH ALONE Just when it seemed that Smoke Jensen's life had settled down to something resembling normal... He'd all but forgotten the vicious young gunfighter who called himself Sundance. Smoke had hoped to teach that twisted kid a lesson by shooting off his ear. But the lesson didn't take... Now, after years on the run, Sundance's hunger for revenge has pushed him over the edge. He's gathered a gang of the worst robbing, pillaging, raping scum from the Texas-Mexico border and is heading for the Sugarloaf with the fool idea of nailing Smoke Jensen's hide to the wall. Didn't anybody tell the kid that an old lobo like Smoke Jensen could run bloody rings around him and his desperadoes in those mountains? Doesn't he realize that Smoke Jensen doesn't give out second chances?

The Last Mountain Man #22: Pride of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

Smoke Jensen drives a herd of longhorns to Dodge City, and finds a town in the grip of terror--its only lawman outgunned by a cutthroat gang led by the West's most notorious outlaw. His name is "Bloody Bill" Anderson, a Confederate guerrilla whose violent career as a gunhawk has earned him a deadly reputation. Now he's found his match in the Mountain Man--and it's time for an all-out war.

The Last Mountain Man #23: Creed of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

Smoke Jensen has tried to make peace with the land -- and the past. But trying to outrun a reputation as a fearless gunslinger in the wilds of Colorado can be life's toughest game. Especially when you're playing against fate. This time it's calling Smoke to the restless Wyoming range to fight the bloodiest private war in American history.

The Last Mountain Man #25: Heart of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

Multimillion-copy author William W. Johnstone portrays the brutal struggles of the old West with grace and gritty realism. Now, in his thrilling new novel, legendary gunslinger Smoke Jensen is heading for a bloody showdown at Jackson Hole. It's Johnstone at his vivid, storytelling best! Selling his gun to the highest bidder, sharpshooter Monte Carson rode beside Big Jim Slaughter, the most feared hombre in Wyoming Territory. But when Monte decided to reform his ways and give back $50,000 in stolen army payroll, he made an enemy in Slaughter and a friend in mountain man Smoke Jensen. Now, an enraged Slaughter wants his money, and if he doesn't get it, he's going to kill Monte's wife, his hostage in an outlaw paradise called Jackson Hole, Wyoming. For Smoke, there's no choice but to come down off the mountain and ride straight into the Hole, where he and Slaughter will go head to head in a fiery clash of courage, fury, and guns.

The Last Mountain Man #29: Trek of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE. It didn't matter that the warrant was years old, or that Smoke Jensen had been cleared of all charges. A Texas bounty hunter named Bill Pike believed he could still collect a $10,000 reward for killing Jensen--and he intended to do just that. But when Pike and his men came calling, Jensen was nowhere to be found. So they took the next best thing--Smoke's woman--left behind a ransom note, and headed up into the Rocky Mountains. Now, Smoke is going after a gang of vicious shootists. With time running out, and Sally's life hanging in the balance, he is returning to the high country where he came of age and built his legend. But this time, the mountain man won't come back down until he's stopped a bounty hunter bearing a worthless piece of paper and a mother lode of greed. It's kill or be killed, and Smoke Jensen intends to be the last man standing, no matter how many people--or guns--he has to face...

The Last Mountain Man #3: Trail of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

William W. Johnstone chronicles the West the way it really was: land of gunmen who became legends, pilgrims who became fighters, and dreamers who stood their ground--and shed their tears and blood to make it their own. Fontana, Colorado, is growing on gold: the discovery of a broken vein spreading out in all directions beneath the earth, including the lands of honest ranchers. Tilden Franklin doesn't care about any of that, or that Fontana's gold boom is sure to burn itself out. His plan is to get rich now. It's only Franklin's bad luck that one rancher has a secret past--and a future full of fight. Smoke Jenson has been living peacefully with his beautiful wife Sally, planted in the last place he intends to live and trying to forget how many men he has killed and how many miles he traveled to get here. Now, Tilden Franklin is trying to run Smoke and has neighbors off their land. But when the first bullets fly, the mysterious man known as Smoke delivers a grim calling card. He always lets the other guy draw first, then kills him anyway. Rich, vivid and gripping, Trail of the Mountain Man is a classic Western saga--full of the grit, violence--and the courage--that marked the taming of a wild American frontier.

The Last Mountain Man #30: Quest of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE, THERE'S FIRE... A visionary has a dream: to drive a railroad across the North American continent and through the vast Canadian Rockies. A thousand miles of rugged land stand in the way. So do hostile Indian tribes and outlaws who see the railroad--and the men building it--as easy prey. But the project has a guardian angel of its own...Smoke Jensen. Smoke knows that this is one job he can't do himself, so he heads to Canada with some hard-fighting mountain men from the Colorado Rockies at his side. By the time the railroad passes through Vancouver, Smoke needs every gun he can get. An army of cross-border outlaws is wreaking havoc on the tracks. Now, with a dream turning into a nightmare of steel ribbons stained with blood, Smoke Jensen knows there's only one way to run this railroad: over mountains, through clouds of choking gun smoke --and straight into one hell of a fight.

The Last Mountain Man #33: Destiny of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone Austin Frederick

In the bush country of South Texas, Captain Richard King built a sprawling ranch called Santa Gertrudis. But at the end of the Civil War, while King was in Mexico, his ranch was raided by Union troops led by a sadistic killer who burned Santa Gertrudis to the ground-and slaughtered everyone on it. Thirty years later, King's land is about to run with blood once more. Former Union Captain Jack Brant has gotten out of prison and is raring to pick up his rampage where he left off. Called to Texas, mountain man Smoke Jensen is ready and willing to help King fight fire with fire. Brant isn't worried about Smoke Jensen-after all, what can one man do? He's about to find out. . .

The Last Mountain Man #34: Betrayal of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone J. A. Johnstone

They called him fastest gun alive, but Smoke Jensen is determined to stay on the right side of the law. That is, until he's jumped by six low-life robbers who steal his shirt'and his identity. Smoke's tried for robbery and murder, and sentenced to hang in the morning. Someone's out to frame the Mountain Man . . . someone who's made a big mistake. Barely managing to escape on the morning of his hanging, Smoke's going after the desperados who've set him up. The gang thinks they have nothing to fear; they've already divided up the loot and gone their separate ways. But Smoke's going to hunt them down one by one. Because nobody frames the Mountain Man. Nobody who plans on staying alive, that is.

The Last Mountain Man #35: Rampage of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone J. A. Johnstone

LOOKING FOR BOUNTY. Mountain man Smoke Jensen lives by the rules of the frontier. The first rule is: the strongest survive. But when bad breaks, bad weather and bad bovines back Smoke into a corner, he needs something to go right. Instead, he faces the kind of tough luck only a gun can beat... NOT A BOUNTY OF BLOOD. A contract to deliver 3000 head of cattle might just do the trick. But a renegade Cheyenne warrior uses an early winter blizzard to attack Smoke and his outgunned cowboys. Too bad it's only the first step in a journey built to test Smoke's mettle, because some people are hunting a payday of their own--for killing Smoke Jensen. Soon the streets of Laramie will run with blood...

The Last Mountain Man #36: Violence of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone J. A. Johnstone

DEAL WITH THE DEVIL... Smoke Jensen has seen the worst that men can do on the lawless frontier. But even the mountain man is not prepared for the outlaw band that strikes Smoke's ranch, kidnapping Sally and the daughter of Smoke's neighbor. Now, the women are gone and a ranch hand and his young daughter are dead. AND PAY THE PRICE IN BLOOD... Outlaw Reece Van Arndt is the mastermind behind the attack, and he thinks he has Smoke where he wants him: Van Arndt will give back the women if Smoke is willing to cut a deal... It's a ploy no sane man would ever attempt. What Van Arndt doesn't know is the lengths Smoke Jensen will go to find his wife. And when he does, no money or promises will be exchanged: only bullets--and lives...

The Last Mountain Man #37: Savagery of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone J. A. Johnstone

WHERE THERE'S FIRE... THERE'S SMOKE.... Santa Clara, Colorado, is 24 hours by train from the land where Smoke Jensen found peace and prosperity on his Sugarloaf Ranch. But somehow, Smoke can't stay away from Santa Clara--and from an evil cattle baron hiding a murderous past. AND WHERE THERE'S SMOKE-- THERE'S JUSTICE... For Smoke, it starts at a high-class auction for a pureblood Hereford bull. Smoke wins the bidding--and earns the hatred of Pogue Quentin, Santa Clara's leading citizen and a man living on bloodshed and lies. Then Smoke's friend Pearlie drifts to Santa Clara. And when Pearlie runs afoul of Quentin, all hell will break loose. Now Smoke Jensen is heading to Santa Clara to face a man who already wants him dead--but Pogue Quentin never met anything like the fire of a mountain man...

The Last Mountain Man #38: Shootout of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone J. A. Johnstone

INVITATION TO A HANGING They're hanging Billy Ray Cabot in Cloverdale, Nevada on Friday. Or so they think. Thursday brings Smoke Jensen to town. In another life, Billy Ray was almost kin to Smoke, and guilty or not, Smoke will blast Cloverdale sky high if that's what it takes to set his old friend free. By midnight, Smoke and Billy Ray are riding hell-for-leather out of Cloverdale, and into a war between cunning railroad robbers and the organization sworn to stop them. Billy Ray was working for the railroads until he was betrayed. Now, both men are pursued by deadly enemies on either side of the law. For a former mountain man who's tried to make a peaceful life back in Colorado, there's only one way back home: he's going on the attack. And this attack won't stop until the bitterest, bloodiest end...

The Last Mountain Man #39: Assault of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone J. A. Johnstone

The kind of man for whom God created the gun, Smoke Jensen stands as a force of will in the brutal, lawless west. Messing with his wife is a bad idea. Into The Valley Of Death Sally has traveled to the silver-mining town of Goth, Colorado to open a restaurant with a friend. That's where she crosses paths with five bank robbers in a hurry to strike it rich. With the local sheriff lying dead in a pool of blood, Sally fights for her life while a frontier surgeon tries to work a miracle. Burning with fury, armed with a gun and a badge, Smoke Jenson goes on the hunt--a posse of one against a gang of outlaws more dangerous than he can know. Soon, Smoke is being lured into a trap at a place called Black Canyon--a deep, dark valley of death, from which only one man will emerge alive...

The Last Mountain Man #4: Revenge of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

Smoke Jensen was buying cattle a hundred miles away from his Colorado ranch when he got the news. Drawing two horses from the remuda, he saddled up, rode off, and didn't stop until he reached his wife's side. She had been shot three times, and lay close to death. Smoke Jensen knew the outlaws had come to kill him and wasn't going to give them a second chance. He was going after them - and this time, he wasn't taking any prisoners.

The Last Mountain Man #5: Journey of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

Smoke Jensen couldn't have cared less that a range war had erupted in Montana. But his cousin Fae was stuck right in the middle of a hundred-gun showdown that was about to explode in bullets and blood. When Smoke strapped on his Colts and went to Fae's aid, he knew the deck was stacked against him. Even when he was joined by four old friends, it looked like it was going to be his final stand. But if anyone could buck the odds, it was Smoke Jensen, the last mountain man.

The Last Mountain Man #6: Law of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

Smoke Jensen sat in a cave and boiled the last of his coffee. He figured he was in Idaho -- somewhere south of Montpelier -- but he was certain about only two things: he was cold and he was being hunted by a small army of men. Smoke knew why he was cold -- it was winter. He just didn't have a clear idea of why anyone was after him. He was soon to find out that he'd ridden into the middle of the fiercest range war in years. Now he had to either choose sides or return home across the back of a horse. Smoke had never taken kindly to being bullied... so when Jud Vale and his cutthroat gang started pushing him around, Smoke Jensen just pushed right back. That's when the bullets began to fly...

The Last Mountain Man #7: War of the Mountain Man

by William W. Johnstone

When outlaw Big Max Higgins kidnaps Smoke Jensen's wife, and demands a town as ransom, the last mountain man rides out with the reins in his teeth, and both hands filled with .44s. Big always wanted to make a name for himself, and now he's going to get it ... "carved on his gravestone".

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