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The Rising Sun: the Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945. Volume 1

by John Toland

Series: The Rising Sun (book 1)

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This monumental narrative history, told primarily from the Japanese viewpoint, traces the dramatic fortunes of modern Japan from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atom bomb. In his Foreword to The Rising Sun, John Toland calls it a "factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened - muddled, ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of contradiction and paradox." It was total war involving all Japanese, and their final slogan, taken literally, was "One Hundred Million Die Together." Here for the first time is the full, far-ranging story of the war in the Pacific-military, political and diplomatic. The Rising Sun not only reveals an enigmatic and aggressive people fighting for survival as a modern nation, but refutes many basic assumptions and misconceptions about the motivations of those in power as well as their conduct of the war. Why did Pearl Harbor occur and was it even inevitable? Must Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull share the blame for starting the war? What happened to the Japanese at Midway, on Guadalcanal, the Philippines, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa - or during the controversial Battle for Leyte Gulf? What were Japan's leaders - men such as Tojo, Yamamota and Prince Konoye - really like? Was the Emperor a puppet, warmonger or neither? How was Truman's decision to use the atom bomb made and how extensive was the horror at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What transpired at the secret debates which raged over the beginning of the war - and during the palace revolt in August 1945, which attempted to thwart surrender? And finally, what inspired the violent actions of those who actually fought the war - from generals to privates - and who here have been willing to describe their mistakes, and speak of the unspeakable: cowardice, murder. cannibalism, surrender, and even desertion? The product of years of research - hundreds of interviews as well as the author's access to recently assembled official records and private memoirs and diaries - The Rising Sun recaptures a catastrophic conflict which not only revolutionized the Japanese way of life but marked the beginning of an ideological and racial contest for all of Asia. To research this book, John Toland and his wife, who is Japanese, spent fifteen months traveling through the Far East - Japan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, Saipan, Singapore, Malaya and Thailand. Included among the almost five hundred people interviewed were the Emperor's chief adviser, the Privy Seal Marquis Koichi Kido, top military leaders, members of Tojo's cabinet, hundreds of military personnel of every rank, as well as more than fifty survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The author also interviewed numerous Americans, from President Truman and Admiral Nimitz to scores of prisoners of war.… (more)
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An excellent narrative account of the Pacific War. The narrative uses a lot of primary source interviews to give gripping personal detail and inside insights. Toland has a tendency to provide an apologia to Emperor Hirohito and some of his inner circle, because he sometimes takes their accounts at face value, but overall, his conclusions and contentions are pretty good. His Infamy suppositions, blaming FDR for letting Pearl Harbor happen, are missing from this volume (Infamy was published in 1982). ( )
  tuckerresearch | Nov 24, 2020 |
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This monumental narrative history, told primarily from the Japanese viewpoint, traces the dramatic fortunes of modern Japan from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atom bomb. In his Foreword to The Rising Sun, John Toland calls it a "factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened - muddled, ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of contradiction and paradox." It was total war involving all Japanese, and their final slogan, taken literally, was "One Hundred Million Die Together." Here for the first time is the full, far-ranging story of the war in the Pacific-military, political and diplomatic. The Rising Sun not only reveals an enigmatic and aggressive people fighting for survival as a modern nation, but refutes many basic assumptions and misconceptions about the motivations of those in power as well as their conduct of the war. Why did Pearl Harbor occur and was it even inevitable? Must Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull share the blame for starting the war? What happened to the Japanese at Midway, on Guadalcanal, the Philippines, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa - or during the controversial Battle for Leyte Gulf? What were Japan's leaders - men such as Tojo, Yamamota and Prince Konoye - really like? Was the Emperor a puppet, warmonger or neither? How was Truman's decision to use the atom bomb made and how extensive was the horror at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What transpired at the secret debates which raged over the beginning of the war - and during the palace revolt in August 1945, which attempted to thwart surrender? And finally, what inspired the violent actions of those who actually fought the war - from generals to privates - and who here have been willing to describe their mistakes, and speak of the unspeakable: cowardice, murder. cannibalism, surrender, and even desertion? The product of years of research - hundreds of interviews as well as the author's access to recently assembled official records and private memoirs and diaries - The Rising Sun recaptures a catastrophic conflict which not only revolutionized the Japanese way of life but marked the beginning of an ideological and racial contest for all of Asia. To research this book, John Toland and his wife, who is Japanese, spent fifteen months traveling through the Far East - Japan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, Saipan, Singapore, Malaya and Thailand. Included among the almost five hundred people interviewed were the Emperor's chief adviser, the Privy Seal Marquis Koichi Kido, top military leaders, members of Tojo's cabinet, hundreds of military personnel of every rank, as well as more than fifty survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The author also interviewed numerous Americans, from President Truman and Admiral Nimitz to scores of prisoners of war.

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