Book Review: Violet Lightning, by John Eric Vining

Reviewed by Helen Capan, editor, Micronesia’s Never-Forgotten Island


Many have argued that the attack on Pearl Harbor was the beginning of the end for Japan in 1941.  Yet had they taken full advantage of their technology, a very different modern world would exist today. 

That’s an extraordinary claim!  Is this just fiction or “alternative history”?  No.  This was a very real possibility, which is vital that we understand today.  Small countries have and may continue to win wars over our country if we don’t fully understand the mechanisms of war.

John Eric Vining fluidly and strikingly proves this assertion with his thoughtful presentation of facts and charts, which document exactly what Japan knew and when she knew it.  Had she simply shared information, divided responsibilities more wisely, and used her equipment for what it was designed to do, the outcome could have been stunning.

For a cherry on the sundae, Vining presents a compelling fictionalized version of the progression of Japan’s knowledge, coupled with a dedication to fully exploit the capabilities of her technology and a masterful understanding of the responsibilities of her branches of service.  He ends this foreboding example with a simple discourse of precedence for the fictionalized assertions.

If you have never read a history book before, this is the one you need to read because you will discover that history does not have to be boring.  You’ll find yourself mulling over the profound significance of Violet Lightning over and over.