Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Monday, June 22, 2009

Red Rain

Red Rain
by Tim Wendel

As the B-29 bombers began to pound Tokyo and most of the other major Japanese cities to rubble, the Japanese military became desperate to find a way to once again instill fear in its enemies. Out of such efforts was born the greatest secret of WWII the fire balloon. One woman, Yoshi, camouflaging her identity, is sent to uncover these delicate but deadly creations.

Assembled from paper by schoolchildren and women in the waning years of the war, the Japanese fire balloons were launched from fields near Tokyo and Kyoto. They often reached the U.S. mainland in just three days and two nights. Armed with incendiary bombs, the balloons original goal was to ignite forest fires throughout the western states, which they did at an alarming rate. Wendel s research at the National Archives and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., reveals that the balloons touched down in the U.S. more than 300 times from 1944 to 1945.

The balloons proved to be a better weapon than the Imperial Army ever knew. One sailed as far east as Michigan. At one point, the Japanese high command considered replacing the incendiary bombs with nerve and gas warfare. But it never came to that largely because of the U.S. military's ability to keep a secret.
I've had Red Rain on my desk/shelf/bed for about 9 months now. It is not a bad book, but it isn't a great book either. When I put it down the characters disappear from my mind and I'm not in a hurry to pick it up again. I really wanted to finish this book because it was sent to me by the publisher, the author is local (he teaches at Johns Hopkins University), the subject matter interests me, and it would count for the WWII Challenge ... but it just isn't happening. I'm giving myself permission to put this back on the shelf and not worry about it any more.

If you have a minute, check out this promo for the book. It includes actual footage from WWII of the fire balloons landing in the US. Honestly the topic is FASCINATING to me, but I just couldn't get into the book.

REMINDER: I'm currently in Disney World (yea!!!) and I won't be responding to your comments until after my return. Don't you just love the ability to schedule posts in advance?!


Amanda said...

I read a book about the Japanese balloons too called Cloud Atlas. My review is here:

It's such a weird fact in history that I never knew before.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I've never even heard of these balloons before. How interesting!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin