AUTHORSmith, Jim / McConnell, Malcolm
TITLEThe Last Mission: The Secret History of World War II's Final Battle
PUBLISHERBroadway Books
CITYNew York, NY

In a unique combination of memoir, investigative research, and imagination, this book investigates how two seemingly unrelated events could have altered the end of World War II. The first event is the attempted coup by elements of the Japanese military, with the goals of destroying the Emperor’s recording of the acceptance of the Allies' surrender terms, and of issuing orders under the Emperor’s seal commanding the Japanese military to continue the war. The second event is the August 14, 1945, B-29 raid on an oil refinery north of Tokyo. As the planes approached Tokyo en route to their target, a total blackout of the city was ordered. The premise of the book is that the blackout was foremost in the chain of events that foiled the coup. A final chapter presents a number of scenarios based on a successful coup by the rebel military units. The authors, a B-29 crewman who flew one of the last combat missions over Japan, and a military historian, weave an interesting story based on personal experience and historical documents. The extensive endnotes and bibliography indicate thorough research.

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