For six months after Pearl Harbor the nimble Japanese Zero-sen plane dominated the Pacific air war. Then, on June 4, 1942 a Zero crashed on tiny Akutan Island in the Aleutians. It lay there for five weeks until spotted by an American plane. Hauled back to California, the Zero revealed its secrets in a series of tests and analyses. Fast, but lacking protection for the pilot as well as a self-sealing gas tank which all U.S. planes had, the Zero lost its predominance for the rest of the war. Rearden tells for the first time in detail the exciting events leading to this crucial intelligence breakthrough, as important as the breaking of the Japanese naval code. An appendix analyzes the vital statistics of the Zero versus U.S. planes.
Jim Rearden is a prolific writer with six books and more than 500 newspaper and magazine articles to his credit.
At age 17, he enlisted the destroyer escort Lovering in the Pacific during World War II. After the war he moved to Alaska to teach wildlife management at the University of Alaska. In 1968 he became outdoors editor for Alaska magazine, a position he held until retiring in 1988.
Cracking the Zero Mystery combines Rearden’s long-time interests in World War II history and in Alaska. The book is the product of arduous research, including extensive correspondence and probing interviews with veterans on both sides of the conflict. Rearden also made an expedition to the crash site of Koga’s Zero.