News and Reviews
"Riveting and broadly researched... Scott is a formidable historian of the Pacific War... [and] talented as both reporter and storyteller... This book is required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in World War II and the Pacific Theater."
— Bob Carden, Boston Globe
"Compelling and ambitious... Through the strength of his archival research and interviews with Japanese survivors, Scott puts readers in the hell that was Tokyo that day as the payloads from 279 B-29s set off ferocious fire storms that swept through a city where homes became fuel for the inferno."
— Hal Bernton, Seattle Times
"Tells us with great insight and detail what went into America's thinking more than 75 years ago when it decided to target Japan's citizens in World War II... Today, the issues Scott has so skillfully raised in Black Snow are most visible in the war of aggression Russia is waging against Ukraine."
— Nicolaus Mills, Daily Beast
"What's truly excellent about this book is the arc of it, the well-plotted background behind the method and the madness of the decision to firebomb civilians... While there are certainly more aspects of World War II which would benefit from Scott's gifts, this feels like a well-earned culmination."
— Jonathan Sanchez, Charleston Post & Courier
"A top-shelf World War II history told with meticulous research and considerable heart."
— Kirkus, starred review
"Immersive, meticulously researched... Full of vivid action scenes and sharp character observations, this riveting WWII history reveals the staggering cost of obtaining peace."
— Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Meticulously researched and finely written... Anyone who wants to understand the last year of the air war in the Pacific and the bomber commander's role should read this excellent book."
— Library Journal, starred review
"Black Snow brilliantly vivifies the horrific reality of the most destructive air attack in history, against Tokyo on the night of March 9-10, 1945. James Scott deftly employs sharply etched portraits of individuals of all stations and nationalities to survey the global, technological, and moral backdrop of the cataclysm, including the searing experiences of Japanese trapped in a gigantic firestorm. This riveting account illuminates an historical moment of profound contemporary relevance."
— Richard B. Frank, author of Tower of Skulls and Downfall
"James M. Scott brings to life in painstaking detail and humanity the terror and plight and hopes of Japanese citizens in their cities, and US pilots in the air — their duties, their misgivings, their conflicted reactions, their sense of victory, and their moral survival off that victory. You realize you've never read this story before in this way, with these long views of history and such collar-grabbing intensity. Black Snow raises profound questions about how peace is made during one of America's most turbulent periods on the world stage, and it speaks clearly to us today. You won't put it down."
— Doug Stanton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of In Harm's Way and Horse Soldiers
"James Scott's fine new book concerns itself with many incendiary things, but fundamentally it addresses perhaps the most incendiary question to be found within the ethics (if there are any) of warfare: Should civilians be considered legitimate targets? Scott explores this tricky topic with an appropriate sense of gravitas, with a storytelling verve, with a mastery of the subject matter, and, most important of all, with a searching heart."
— Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and On Desperate Ground
"A book as valuable as it is engrossing... An account filled with sharp detail that never slows the headlong narrative pace. Black Snow is at once an adventure story, a technological thriller, and a harrowing reminder of the human cost of total war in our modern age."
— Richard Snow, author of A Measureless Peril
"Without sparing the suffering of its Japanese victims, James M. Scott narrates in Black Snow the real and remorseless saga... Scott's prodigious research... as well as his mastery of the telling detail, will make this a classic history of war: a tale of fantastic military hubris and its ultimate, catastrophic cost to a people who had litterally sown the whirlwind. Unputdownable."
— Nigel Hamilton, author of the FDR at War trilogy