Book Review: Violet Lightning: A Blueprint for Japanese Victory in the Pacific, 1941–1942, by John Eric Vining

Reviewed by Raymond Refoen, author, Micronesia’s Never-Forgotten Island


Wow!  What a book!  I finished reading Violet Lightning yesterday and have wondered about several of the same questions addressed in the book:

    • Why did the Japanese attack Midway instead of attacking Pearl Harbor again to destroy the oil depot and dry docks?
    • Why didn’t the Japanese try to destroy the Panama Canal?  I thought using commandos delivered by submarine to blow up the Culebra Cut had a reasonable chance of success.
    • Why did the Japanese persist in their attempts to retain Guadalcanal when the battle was costing them so much?
    • And why, after the success of the German U-boats in World War I, didn’t the Japanese use the interwar period to build up a much larger submarine force?

Violet Lightning is a book history enthusiasts like me will enjoy reading. It’s one of those books students of history living five hundred years from now will find interesting.