© 2021 Jeff Shaara
Lastly, The Eagle’s Claw, a novel of historical fiction about the Battle of Midway. Midway was one of the battles of WW2, the turning point of the Pacific War that, six months following Pearl Harbor, announced to Dai Nippon that its days in the sun were numbered. The Japanese planned to seize the Midway Atoll, both as a staging area for a later invasion of Hawaii, and as an opportunity to draw the US carrier fleet into open, so that it might be destroyed and complete the work begun at Pearl. Unfortunately for Yamamato, US cryptographers had were reading enough Japanese transmissions to know that something was being planned – allowing US forces to position themselves to ambush the ambushers. In The Eagle’s Claw, Jeff Shaara takes us through the weeks before Midway and then through the battle itself, using his and his father’s signature style to put us into the minds of various American and Japanese officers and men, from the code-cracking dungeon to the dogfights high above the Pacific. Although the novel rightly lauds Joseph Rochefort’s crypto team for their role in allowing the US Navy to deliver proper vengeance for Pearl Harbor (the Empire lost four of their carriers), Shaara does not omit the factor of glorious luck – of dive bombers arriving over the Japanese carrier fleet just as the Japanese were loading ordinance for a second bombing run on the Atoll, and their fighters running on fumes. Shaara also includes a little scene with John Ford, who had arrived on the Atoll on orders from the OSS. Definitely of interest to WW2 fiction readers.