Steven Bailey has done an admirable job with Target Hong Kong. On page one, we meet Commander John Lamade, squeezing into the cockpit of a Grumann Hellcat fighter while "burdened with chartboard, oxygen mask, goggles, flight helmet, flashlight, Mae West, revolver, spare rounds, radio lead, parachute harness and pack, life raft, jungle kit, and the knowledge that he had survived when so many of his former crewmates ... had not." Right away, we know that more men will be lost today. Hong Kong is a hellacious target, and American planning leaves a lot to be desired, with the result that eleven aviators are lost for very little gain, and the neutral colony of Macaou is bombed and strafed in error. The combat scenes are a five-star effort, but I'd subtract one star for the detours we must take along the way. Before the fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes even reach Japanese-occupied Hong Kong, we are sent back to December 1941 to meet an English expat named Ray Jones, whose role in the book will be to witness that air strike from the ground as a prisoner of war. Then it's forward again, through more than a hundred pages of Pacific naval warfare before the targeting of Hong Kong actually begins. Still, it's an exciting ride, leavened from time to time with glimpses of the war as seen by the Japanese and by P-51 Mustang pilots of General Chennault's 14th Air Force.
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