An account of what became known as the U.S. military's "Operation Vengeance"—the targeted kill by U.S. fighter pilots of Japan's larger-than-life military icon, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the naval genius who had devised the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor.
The story of targeting Yamamoto has been told before, of course. What freshens Mr. Lehr’s account is his inspired idea to balance the Japanese admiral with the much younger Capt. John Mitchell ... Many readers will know how the intercept turns out (for the uninitiated, the book’s title, Dead Reckoning, is a giveaway), but Mr. Lehr’s telling of it has the excitement of a Steve McQueen car chase ... why pick up Mr. Lehr’s version? Because he tells the story so very well.
These often poignant missives are balanced by correspondence already in the public record between Yamamoto, who was married with children, and his longtime mistress, who was a geisha. The author artfully weaves this compelling human element into the narrative.
More of a biography than a strict look at the military confrontation, the text provides an intimate look at the war in the Pacific told through the eyes of the men leading up to their fateful intersection. Though the mission itself was a success from the American point of view, the anguish felt by the Japanese people is also carefully explored ... Lehr's skills as a journalist dig deep into the lives of Yamamoto and Mitchell, shining light on the public and private life of each. Anyone interested in World War II, and especially the war in the Pacific, will find this account fascinating.