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Saburo Sakai is Japan's greatest fighter pilot to survive World War II, and his powerful memoir has proven to be one of the most popular and enduring books ever written on the Pacific war. First published in English in 1957, it gave Americans new perspectives on the air war and on the Japanese pilots who, until then, had been perceived in the United States as mere caricatures. Today, the books remains a valuable eyewitness account of some of the most famous battles in history and a moving, personal story of a courageous naval aviator.

A living legend, Sakai engaged in more than two hundred dogfights, from the Philippines to Iwo Jima, and was the only Japanese ace never to lose a wingman in combat. By way's end he reportedly had shot down sixty-four Allied planes. Although this number cannot be confirmed, Sakai's exploits in the air were extraordinary by any standards. His most renowned accomplishment, an epic of aviation survival, occurred after action over Guadalcanal in August 1942. Partially paralyzed and nearly blind from multiple wounds, he managed to fly 560 miles to Rabaul and safely land his crippled Zero.

Here, Sakai offers a full account of his experiences, modestly recalling his rise from an impoverished childhood to feats of mythic proportions. And because he shares his innermost thoughts with his readers, the book not only provides rare insights into the Samurai character but also describes with complete honestly the human emotions common to warriors of all causes.

Barrett Tillman's introduction to this new Naval Institute Press Classics of Naval Literature edition put the memoir in historical context for today's readers.

Saburo Sakai was born into an impoverished Samurai family in 1916. Faced with the prospects of a desolate rural life, he enlisted in the Imperial Japanese Navy at sixteen. By 1937 he had graduated at the top of this his enlisted pilot-training class, and he quickly saw combat in China. By the end of World War II he had logged 3,700 flight hours, including some 1,500 hours in the Zero.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743412834
Publisher: ibooks, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/14/2011
Series: Military History (Ibooks)
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 601,391
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Saburo Sakai, burn into an impoverished Samurai family, went on to become one of Japan's greatest fighter pilots in World War II. He passed away in September 2000.

Customer Reviews

Samurai 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my all time favorites---Hands down!! this book will pull you in and not let you go!! this book gives you a great look at world war two from the other side which i think is very interesting and I know you will too if you just read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is no way to tell you how enjoyable this book is! And there are no words to describe how interesting this story really is!! If your your a person who likes a action packed war story then this book is for you! Also I think this book offers a interesting look of WWII on from the enemy's point of view.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even since I first read 'Samurai' when I was a kid (the late 60's), this has remained one of those books that I just keep coming back to. I still have that used copy I bought back in the 60's, but it's starting to fall apart. So I'll be buying a new version soon. The writing is clear. Sakai and Caidin provide you with an understanding of the life of a Japanese fighter pilot, as well as vignettes that illustrate Japanese life in the pre-war and war years. The section on Sakai's service in China is excellent, shedding light on a little known aspect (air combat) that we only see in stories about the Flying Tigers. Overall, an excellent book to have in your WW II collection!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Samurai! is the best book on the pacific air war I have ever read. Japanese pilot, Saburo Sakai, relates his experiences from China through the end of the war. It is an informative, inspiring and thrilling read. You will not be able to put this book down. I have reread this book many, many times. It never fails to excite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is simply the best aviation novel I've ever read. Saburo Sakai is a very skilled pilot whom I admire so much. This book contains very detailed accounts of every single one of his 64 victories. It is as if I was flying the mission through his eyes and body.

The book also contains a great deal of information and feel on what it takes to become a fighter pilot in the Imperial Japanese Navy; from the intense training undergone by all the early pilots to flying the remarkable A6M Zero fighter.

This book inspired me so much as a pilot and as an aviation enthusiast. Sakai's love for flying is truly felt by all of us in the aviation world. Reading this book caused me to built a 1/32 scale model of the Zero fighter Sakai flew and it is sitting proudly in my room.

Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read about WW II fighter combat (back in 1985). And it is still fresh. Sakai was the greatest living Japanese ace of WW II (although aerial claims was somewhat confused for the Japanese) Suprisingly, witht he help of Martin Caidin, his style is clear, conscise e enjoyable for the reader. The action is the most impressive, without sounding an exageration. Very good!