The Last High Ground

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( 17 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780517596944: The Last High Ground

A provocative story set in the near future revealing Japan's secret war to capture the last market dominated by America: aerospace. In Hiroshima, Japan, a powerful gangster makes a deathbed bequest to his son: billions in illegal earnings. His aim? The takeover of Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Japanese villains in a conspiracy novel are sometimes a pretext for gratuitous Japan-bashing; but in this crisp thriller by White, everything he has to say about Japan is an integral part of the premise. In October 1995, a high-stakes merger between the Boeing Aircraft Company and a Japanese consortium is in jeopardy because Boeing's new 777 jets are falling out of the sky. Independent investigator Brian MacHenry suspects something a lot more sinister than terrorist bombings, especially after receiving information from a discredited Boeing employee that the crashes are due to faulty parts. Meanwhile, Shig Onishi of Japan's national police force is also investigating the Boeing merger. The company heading the consortium, Nippon Aerospace, is run by the current head of a Japanese gangster family, and he, along with powerful forces on both sides of the merger, wants to make sure that MacHenry and Onishi fail to discover just exactly what is wrong with the Boeing 777. White (The Sword of Orion) keeps the plot complex without making it complicated, and he makes his points about the underlying U.S.-Japanese conflict subtly and dramatically. This hard-edged thriller is somewhat undermined however, by White's decision to use the name of an actual aircraft company and to make innuendos about poor control over software, testing and production. And a final ironic plot reversal involving a high-tech sabotage gimmick could frighten air travelers even more.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

The title refers to the aviation business, the last major industry in which the U.S. holds a competitive advantage over the rest of the world. In White's novel, this industry is under attack by Japanese organized crime, which is attempting to buy into the Boeing Corporation through a consortium of Asian component manufacturers using a Hiroshima survivors' foundation as a front. To help depress Boeing's stock price, they have introduced a fatal virus into the all-powerful computer system that controls the company's newest jet, the 777. Two unlikely allies, an ex-pilot who is also a former investigator for the FAA and a junior investigator for the Economic Crimes Section of Japan's National Police Agency, try to thwart the plot. After a slow start, the narrative quickens and never stops. With well-delineated characters possessing enough humanity to save them from the coldness so common to techno-thrillers, this exciting novel is marred only by the jingoistic undercurrent that runs throughout. George Needham

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White, Robin A.
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