Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New additions to the library

Clash of the Carriers: The True Story of the Marianas Turkey Shoot of World War II, by Barrett Tillman.

The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers (2nd ed.): A Study of the Chilling Criminal Phenomenon, from the "Angels of Death" to the "Zodiac" Killer, by Michael Newton.

The "Marianas Turkey Shoot" is another name for the Battle of the Philippine Sea, in which the US 5th Fleet was responsible for defending US landing sites in the Marianas from Japanese attack.  The Japanese launched a series of air attacks on our carriers, but their pilots were so deficient in training that the vast majority of them were easily shot down, just like on a turkey shoot, from where its nickname comes. 

A rather odd battle, which attracts my interest because of the odd, somewhat mysterious circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Japanese aircraft carriers.  The US Navy did not launch a carrier air attack until very late in the battle, claiming the Japanese not-quite-fleet carrier Hiyo

By that time, the vast majority of the damage done to the Japanese had already been done by US submarines.  The Cavalla plunked four torpedoes into the fleet carrier Shokaku, a US nemesis that had taken part on the Pearl Harbor attack.  The Shokaku's sinking was so murky that Anthony Tully, Jon Parshall and Richard Wolff at the Imperial Japanese Navy Page had to do a special analysis of the historical record to show how many torpedoes hit and where.  Meanwhile, the Albacore hit the brand new fleet carrier Taiho with a single torpedo.  When combined with slapstick damage control, that was enough to doom the flagship.  How precisely is not entirely clear.  Not to be outdone, the Hiyo has questions surrounding her sinking as well.  It is known that all three sinkings were due in part to explosions induced by leaking fuel vapors from the volatile Tarakan oil used by the Japanese.

The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers is a good starter book on serial killers, going into most of the major ones from history, albeit not very deeply for obvious reasons.  For more in-depth coverage of individual cases, check out TruTV's Crime Library, where you can check out Indiana's little-known contribution to serial killer lore: Belle Gunness.

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