The Last Kamikaze

M. E. Morrie, Author, M. E. Morris, Author Random House (NY) $19.95 (350p) ISBN 978-0-394-57634-3
In 1991, Japan and the U.S. prepare to mark the 50th anniversary of WW II with a treaty reestablishing Japan as a Pacific military power, but retired navy captain Saburo Genda, thwarted of a glorious death as a kamikaze in 1945, plans one final blow against his old enemies. A restored Zero will figure in the ceremonies held at Pearl Harbor--and Genda is an expert Zero pilot. As the story moves smoothly from Japan to Guam to the Arizona memorial, the technical material is accurate and unobtrusive; Genda and his American foil, antiterrorist expert George Sakai, are supported by a well-drawn cast of secondary characters. Yet the novel lacks perspective in a crucial area. In Morris's hands, Genda's refusal to acknowledge the resolution of WW II becomes a praiseworthy affirmation of his Japanese identity. The author's empathy for Genda's samurai code of honor slides into tacit acceptance of his series of cold-blooded murders, which leads to the terrorist destruction of a civilian airliner. The argument that principle legitimates behavior is as dangerous to fiction as it can be disastrous in the real world--and this thriller by the author of The Icemen leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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