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Battleship Yamato : Of War, Beauty and Irony
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Battleship Yamato : Of War, Beauty and Irony

The battleship Yamato, of the Imperial Japanese Navy, wasthe most powerful warship of World War II and representedthe climax, as it were, of the Japanese warrior traditions of thesamurai - the ideals of honour, discipline, and self-sacrificethat had immemorially ennobled the Japanese nationalconsciousness. Stoically poised for battle in the spring of1945 - when even Japan's last desperate technique of arms,the kamikaze, was running short - Yamato arose as thelast magnificent arrow in the imperial quiver of EmperorHirohito.Here, Jan Morris not only tells the dramatic story of themagnificent ship itself - from secret wartime launch to futilesacrifice at Okinawa - but, more fundamentally, interprets theship as an allegorical figure of war itself, in its splendour andits squalor, its heroism and its waste. Drawing on rich navalhistory and rhapsodic metaphors from international musicand art, Battleship Yamato is a work of grand ironic elegy.

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