Battleship Yamato by Jan Morris
Of War, Beauty and Irony

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This book itself signals yet another end: Certainly, it will be one of the very last books written about World War II by an author who saw active service in that war. That sobering fact only adds to the elegiac resonance of this magnificent little book.
-NPR

Synopsis

An extraordinary―and strikingly illustrated―reflection 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 samurai―the ideals of honor, discipline, and self-sacrifice that had immemorially ennobled the Japanese national consciousness. Stoically poised for battle in the spring of 1945―when even Japan’s last desperate technique of arms, the kamikaze, was running short―Yamato 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 itself―from secret wartime launch to futile sacrifice at Okinawa―but, 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.
 

About Jan Morris

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Published February 1, 2018 by Pallas Athene Publishers. 112 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Battleship Yamato
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Daniel Swift on May 11 2018

Morris’s new book, “Battleship Yamato: Of War, Beauty and Irony,” is a culmination of all this. A study of a symbol, it is an allegory of imperial folly and decline that reads like a historical daydream: not about a city, but something almost as big.

Read Full Review of Battleship Yamato: Of War, Be... | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Mar 27 2018

This book itself signals yet another end: Certainly, it will be one of the very last books written about World War II by an author who saw active service in that war. That sobering fact only adds to the elegiac resonance of this magnificent little book.

Read Full Review of Battleship Yamato: Of War, Be... | See more reviews from NPR

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