Hell From the Heavens – The U.S.S. Laffey

Hell from the Heavens: The Epic Story of the USS Laffey and World War II’s Greatest Kamikaze Attack
by John F. Wukovits

Edmond Gagnon‘s review Sep 08, 2022  

An excellent read for any war buff or even those slightly interested in World War II and naval actions. Very few novels can evoke emotion from me as this book did, while the author describes the triumphs and horrors of war from the perspective of soldiers on the front lines.
Hell from the Heavens gives us a look at the every day life of sailors aboard the USS Laffey, a ship that saw action in all the major amphibious landings in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Not exactly knowing the difference between a destroyer, cruiser or battleship, I learned how powerful yet vulnerable ships like the Laffey were.
I learned just how destructive the Japanese Kamikaze pilots were on the navy and particularly to the Laffey when they were attacked by 22 of them in 80 minutes. Often wondering where I’d rather be in the military, whether in the air, sea, or on land, this story has me reconsidering my choices.
I had the pleasure of meeting the author at a local book show and he told me the book rights have been purchased and a movie is in the works with Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg. I can’t wait to see this story on the big screen.

Rants, Raves & Reviews – Midway

imagesBeing a lover of war movies, I had to see the new ‘Midway’ movie on the big screen. And since the genre’s not Cathryn’s favorite I brought a buddy. The previews looked amazing, especially with today’s CGI technology and special effects. I knew the battle scenes would be explosive, literally. I was also anxious to see how the new movie stacked up to the 1976 version.

Unlike many American-made war films this story is told and viewed from both sides, the United States and Japan. It’s about the battle of Midway, which turned the tide of war in the South Pacific during WWII. As in the earlier version, the movie starts with the attack on Pearl Harbour – the decisive blow that forced the U.S. into the war.

The story was a bit choppy. It covered a lot of material and tried to focus on the personal lives of certain soldiers, along with naval strategies behind the scenes. There was plenty of action and battle scenes to carry the movie past the two hour mark. It didn’t drag on but definitely outlasted my popcorn.

The acting was good but there were only a few recognizable faces in the cast – unlike the ’76 version with its star-studded ensemble. That version also used actual battle footage which brought a sense of realism to the movie. In this new installment viewers get a look at director John Ford on the island of Midway, while he films the 1942 publicity documentary of the same name.

Overall the movie was good, but it felt lacking and got a 7 out of 10 from both my bro-friend and I.