Retribution

Retribution

The Battle for Japan, 1944-45

Book - 2009
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By the summer of 1944 it was clear that Japan's defeat was inevitable, but how the drive to victory would be achieved remained to be seen. The ensuing drama--that ended in Japan's utter devastation--was acted out across the vast stage of Asia. In recounting the saga of this time and place, Max Hastings gives us incisive portraits of the theater's key figures--MacArthur, Nimitz, Mountbatten, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. But he is equally adept in his portrayals of the ordinary soldiers and sailors--American, British, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese--caught in some of the war's bloodiest campaigns. With unprecedented insight, Hastings discusses Japan's war against China, now all but forgotten in the West, MacArthur's follies in the Philippines, the Marines at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and the Soviet blitzkrieg in Manchuria. He analyzes the decision-making process that led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki--which, he convincingly argues, ultimately saved lives. Finally, he delves into the Japanese wartime mind-set, which caused an otherwise civilized society to carry out atrocities that haunt the nation to this day.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2009, c2007.
Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed.
ISBN: 9780307275363
0307275361
Characteristics: xxv, 615 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Hastings, Max Nemesis.
Alternative Title: Battle for Japan, 1944-45

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notTom Dec 16, 2010

This book casts an unflinching eye upon the endgame played out in the late stages of the Pacific theater in World War II between Japan and the Allies. Hastings issues a well-balanced examination of the struggle between the faltering Japanese infrastructure and the relentless Allied progress across the Pacific including the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Burma, and Okinawa. Going beyond the opaque descriptions of battles and strategies, Hastings uses the letters and personal accounts of people involved in these catastrophic and world-altering events. Through these perspectives, it is possible to see the impact of American firebombing campaign had on Japanese civilians, the ordeals encountered by Allied prisoners of war in Japanese internment camps, the plight of the Marines pinned down on Okinawa, and the sadness faced by a commanding officer of a squadron of kamikazes, among many others. This was listed as a Notable Book of 2008 by the New York Times, and I certainly agree that it is a worthwhile read for both those who are new to the history of World War II as well as for hardened veterans of the genre.

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