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by Henry Sakaida
Champlin Fighter Museum 1985
photos, maps, mission reports, aircraft artwork
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Saburo Sakai and the Zero Fighter Pilots
This is the first book of aviation author, Henry Sakaida who creates a work that is both well researched and presented. "Winged Samurai" tells two stories: the story of Japan's greatest surviving ace pilot, Saburo Sakai, and the larger story of Zero fighter pilots and the air combat they participated in the Pacific during World War II.
The book is filled with history and photographs of the pilots, aircraft and events related to Sakai and his unit, the famous Tainan Kokuta. Also, artwork of the Zeros they flew in combat, and maps and diagrams. Its chapters cover Sakai's wartime service, from the start of the war flying over the Philippines, to Java, New Guinea, Guadalcanal and finally home defense.
The research of the book spans both known WWII history, as well as new discoveries made by the author's research, and photographs of Saburo Sakai's trips after WWII to meet some of the former enemies he once flew against. This part of the story is just as fascinating as the wartime events described.
For those that have read Sakai's autobiography, Samurai! this book is still relevant and enhance its reading experience with its contribution of more photographs, research and updates on related parts of the story and other pilots from the Tainan Kokutai.
With little history published in English, the book is also an invaluable resource for those interested in the history of the Tainan Kokutai, its history, pilots, losses and exploits.
Interview with author Henry Sakaida
Review by Justin Taylan
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