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Battleship Musashi: The Making and Sinking of the Worlds Biggest Battleship [Paperback]

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Item description for Battleship Musashi: The Making and Sinking of the Worlds Biggest Battleship by Akira Yoshimura, Vincent Murphy & Vincent Murphy...

Recounts the technical and other difficulties overcome by the Japanese to build the world's largest battleship, and tells how it was sunk.

Publishers Description
Admiral lsoroku Yamamoto, the man who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, said that the three great follies of the world were the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, and the battleship Musashi. Yamamoto understood that sheer size and firepower would not be decisive factors in the battle for naval supremacy in the Pacific.
The Musashi was massive-upright it would have approached the size of the Chrysler Building. Outfitted with eighteen-inch armor plating and nine eighteen-inch guns, the largest ever mounted on a warship, the Musashi was considered by its creators to be invincible and unsinkable. Yet during its two years of active duty with the Combined Fleet, it never fired a single shot against another ship. It was sunk, as Yamamoto had predicted, by torpedoes and bombs.
Akira Yoshimura's dramatic reconstruction of the birth of the Musashi portrays a nation preparing for total war. Under these extreme conditions, courage, genius, and integrity coexisted with brutality, folly, and paranoia. During the more than four years it took to build and outfit it, shipyard engineers and their Navy mentors were faced with seemingly insurmountable technical problems and plagued by natural calamities and the constant fear of espionage. The solutions they found to each successive crisis were sometimes brilliant, sometimes absurd. Battleship Musashi is a tribute to the men who achieved this engineering marvel and a testament to the excesses of bureaucratic militarism.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 1999
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770024002  
ISBN13  9784770024008  

Availability  0 units.

More About Akira Yoshimura, Vincent Murphy & Vincent Murphy

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Akira Yoshimura is the prize-winning author of twenty novels and short-story collections, many of them bestsellers in Japan. One Man's Justice is his third novel to be translated into English.

Akira Yoshimura was born in 1927 and died in 2006.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > Asia
2Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Japan
3Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Philippines
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
5Books > Subjects > History > Military > Naval
6Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > General
7Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > Naval
8Books > Subjects > History > World > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Battleship Musashi: The Making and Sinking of the Worlds Biggest Battleship?

Worthwhile Reading  Feb 17, 2008
I have been interested in the twin superbattleships for many years and this book was a very interesting read. It dealt more with the building process and the extreme measures that went into hiding the ships than it did the combat history, but then again, the ships didn't have a long history to speak of.

Overall the book was worth owning and reading. No regrets.
Excellent read  Aug 12, 2007
I really enjoyed reading about the technical details involved in building this ship. It was all quite fascinating and I consumed this book over three jet-lagged nights. The Yamato class battleships were obsolete the moment they were laid down. The amount of materials and energy devoted to building these vessels would have been far better spent on 4-6 Soryu-type air craft carriers and their airwings. Fortunately for the U.S. Japan squandered a great deal of her precious resources on these dreadnoughts, even while the Japanese navy (unlike our own) was convinced that air craft carriers would be the key ships in Naval warfare. Moreover, the sinking of the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse by land based bombers shortly after Pearl Harbor should have sent shivers down the spine of any Admiral envisioning battleships as stand alone fighting ships. The idea behind these battleships was to use their longer range fire power to fight Amerian battlehips before our ships could get in range, but this was a highy suspect strategy. 1)It's very hard to get accurate targeting of ballistic projectiles at extreme ranges even if targeting is provided by airplane (Yamato and Musashi carried 9 each for this purpose) 2)Though heavily armored- more so than our Iowa class and South dakota and Washington-classes- the guns were 50 caliber whereas the smaller bore (40cm versus Yamato and Musashi's 46 cm guns) were 70 caliber and the penetrating power of the guns on US battleships would have been about the same as the larger bore lower caliber Japanese guns. 3)Guns on our ships were radar directed and more accurate. We could have "picked up" the Yamato's long before their aircraft spotted our ships. The "tragic" aspect for me is that her final and really only battle was futile. There was zero chance of accomplishing her mission in the face of overwhelming US Naval aviation. The ship was lost for no reason whatsoever. I have to wonder what would have happened in the Pacific if Japan had built more aircraft carriers instead of these obsolete thugs. I am glad that a good book on the Musashi has been wtitten. In Japan, the Yamato is still famous, but almost no one has ever heard of the Musashi. The writing itself is very engaging but there are som typos and mistranslations. For example the commanding officers of the Musashi are designated Lieutenant Commanders but this is highly unlikely. Destroyers would have been commanded by officers of this rank but even Light Cruisers would have been commanded by a Commander and a capital ship- battlehips and air craft carriers- were surely all commanded by Captains. In one of the final chapters of the book the Cruiser Maya is misclassed as a destroyer (even though she was properly classed as a cruiser pages earlier). Destroyers generally had names ending in... "Kaze" (wind)- as in Hayakaze (Fast Wind or Early Wind, depending on the character for "hayai") or ... "Shio" (current)- as in Tsuyoshio (Strong Current). These error or typos are of course minor.
Interesting construction history  May 18, 2007
This is the kind of book I enjoy reading--it has an immense engineering feat to be accomplished, major obstacles, security issues, and the project is critical to the nation as a whole. I'd give it 5 stars, but I still had that "if only" feeling, the kind you get when you've had just enough to get your interest but not enough to really satisfy you. I like technical details, and more would have been better. For instance, the specialized ship built to haul the guns isn't illustrated (I've never seen a picture of it) and is only barely described, but that ship was essential to the whole construction process. However, I realize that pictures and documentation of Japanese ships are rare due to document destruction at the end of the war, so if this is all there is, so be it.

One of the more jarring (but accurate) aspects of the book is how the Japanese handle security. "Questioning" a suspect involves torture and beatings, the whole Chinese community in Nagasaki is rounded up and terrorized, and the city itself is sometimes shut down with an air of casualness about it.
Some insights but not at all complete not for the novice  Jul 4, 2006
The title is somewhat deceptive as the text goes more into the secrecy around the building of the ship as it was a private yard who build Musashi. Details are given how they shielded the ship from foreign eyes as there were foreign owned houses with a view of the area.

Problems with a missing blueprint and also launching of the ship are interesting but you only get bits of the actual contruction of the ship. This book is only for the enthusiast who knows a lot of the ships already and for example has read Lengerers article of the Japanese super battleship strategy.
The book gives almost nothing about the design.
The three star is for the enthusiast but for the novice the book is only a one star. The description of the sinking is acceptable but the article from Tim Thornton in Warship no 45 (jan 88) is in my opinion better. But the secrecy problems gives interesting insights in a way that I have seldom seen.
Therefor it is difficult to rate the book, for those who are not interested in the positive aspects that I have mentioned - stay away.


The book is a short, easy, and an interesting read for most people acquainted with naval construction and operations. It is broken into two distinct parts; the construction of the ship [under a cloak of extreme secrecy], and its short life as one of a class of two, of the most extreme battleship designs ever constructed. Both the designs of the ships and the mindset of the navy that ordered them are interwoven and born of a need to somehow prevail over a greatly superior adversary. In that light, this book is fascinating as it reveals this rather empirically. In reading "Battleship Musashi", I felt and empathized with the Japanese of the era by witnessing [through the written accounts] some of the motivations and experiences of the Japanese people during the period. Many of the goals that were to be achieved with this new class of vessel embodied the rather unique hopes and ideas that the Japanese people had at the time, compared to westerners. This book stresses these cultural themes in the context of the construction and destruction of an incredible symbol of Japanese Imperial power.

Though I would have preferred reading more detailed accounts of the design criteria and ship operations, it was a fast and worthwhile read. In the end, the invincible Battleship Musashi shared the same fate as the rest of the Imperial Japanese Empire, and this book is a requiem to both.

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