" . . . be resolved that duty is heavier than a mountain, while death is lighter than a feather."—First Precept of the Imperial Rescript to Japanese Soldiers and Sailors
On May 25, 1945, while American and Japanese forces on Okinawa were locked in bitter struggle, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff sent out plans for an amphibious invasion which would subjugate Japan. "Operation Olympic" was to seize Kyushu, while "Operation Coronet" was to strike directly against the Tokyo area.
Westheimer's meticulously researched novel about this plan startled readers in the 1970s. Reviews and comments about the original:
" . . . one begins to understand the Japanese and to feel nearly the same relief when the wish to die for the emperor is fully satisfied . . . They appear in the same variety as the Americans, as sensitive or obtuse, as rustics or academics . . . Westheimer has admirably fulfilled his intention, dramatizing Sherman's utterance that war is hell."—Paul Theroux, Book World
"The author presents in masterly detail . . . the points of both attackers and defenders . . . The author of My Sweet Charlie and Von Ryan's Express has reached a new high point in his career."—Publishers Weekly
"Westheimer is a craftsman who seems to outdo himself each time he constructs a novel . . . a splendid . . . example of the suspense, war and anti-war novel."—Christian Science Monitor
"This is a poignant and incredibly interesting fictional rendering of the Allied invasion of Japan which might have occurred had the U.S. not dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki . . . The strategy and tactics employed by both sides make fascinating reading."—Air Force Times