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by Michael J. Goodwin
Stackpole Books 1995
Cover Price: $14.95
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A Forgotten War Crime in the Pacific
The author's father, William Goodwin, the copilot of a PBY Catalina flying boat, was shot down off the Celebes coast during a night attack in October 1944. Goodwin and eight other survivors were picked up by the Japanese, interrogated, subjected to the customary beatings, and then ceremonially beheaded. As wartime atrocities went, this one was relatively commonplace, save that it was the result of a deliberate policy by Lt. Gen. Sanji Okido, who had ordered "severe disposition" (shobun) of the captured Allied airmen.
In this book, Goodwin describes his longtime search for the circumstances of his father's fate and the justice ultimately meted out to his executioners. It also provides fascinating insight into the nocturnal war fought by the "Black Cat" raiders. The narrative is nonaccusatory in tone, is at times almost clinically dispassionate, and provides a clear and chilling insight into the combat mentality found in many of the backwaters of the Pacific war.
Review Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Edwards AFB
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