After recently reading Requiem for Battleship Yamato by Yoshida Mitsuru, a recounting of the sad career of one of the two super battleships of the Imperial Japanese navy in World War II, and Tin Can Sailor: Life Aboard the USS Sterett, 1939-1945 by C. Raymond Calhoun, which can be viewed as an American counterpart to the book under review, I certainly did not expect this to be such a fine book! From his days in the Naval Academy, through the first astounding successes of the Japanese navy against the allied navies (Captain Hara was engaged in the Philippines and Indonesia, where the Japanese successes were every bit as thorough if not quite as spectacular as they were at Pearl Harbor), through the initial setbacks in the Coral Sea and Midway, through the tough and lengthy slug fest in the Solomons, to the one-sided, hopeless defeats in the final year or so of the war, Hara gives a fascinating, balanced, well expressed view of the events and circumstances. He also gives detailed accounts of all the engagements he took part in, complete with extremely clear diagrams. I was left with the impression that I had a very solid grasp of a wide range of issues, from the technical advantages and disadvantages of the American and Japanese weaponry and ships (and how they changed over the course of the war) to the tactics and strategy of the Japanese navy, as well as a good sense of the nature of a number of the principal players on the Japanese side. Of particular note, Hara is extremely critical of the Japanese navy's high command, including even the still legendary Admiral Yamamoto, the operational commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet until his death. His criticisms certainly appeared valid to me... The book appeared originally in 1967, and the text implies that it contained the first published criticism of Yamamoto. I also found it of some side interest that Hara faced the Sterett in two engagements: the (for the American navy disastrous) third battle of Savo Island (shortly after which, Captain Calhoun was seriously wounded and subsequently transferred from the Sterett) and the (for the Japanese navy disastrous) battle of Vella Gulf. Some of the credit for this fine book must also go to the translator, Fred Saito, who did some serious editing and re-writing of the original text in order to incorporate more than 800 hours (!!!) of interviews he made with Captain Hara. This book is entering my permanent library.