What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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ijnfleetadmiral
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by ijnfleetadmiral » 20 Feb 2012 11:10

So many of my favorites have already been mentioned, but here's another essential:

"Battle of Surigao Strait" by Anthony Tully

-Matt
SFC, MS State Guard - Semper Avanti.

rocott
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by rocott » 13 Apr 2012 21:38

Returning after long absence to Forum -- born Shanghai 1928, interned Yangchow Camp 'C' 1943-1945 .
You must have had this before -- " Captives of Empire " Greg Leck.
Try " Walter Attwell Lynch Palmer Asiatic Petroleum Company employee Houses Shanghai "
Colin A.L.Palmer

philabos
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by philabos » 15 Sep 2012 21:18

For the war in Burma, highly recommend:

http://www.amazon.com/Defeat-Into-Victo ... roduct_top


Slim almost consistently takes the blame for failure on his own shoulders earlier in the war while praising his subordinates for the later victories. The book tells almost as much about leadership as history. After the Japanese impaled themselves on the defences of Kohima and Imphal, Slim was able to conduct what Weinberg called the
"British Jungle Blitzkrieg" through Burma.

donsor
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by donsor » 16 Sep 2012 01:58

I would like to have read books that described what happened to those Japanese military as well as civilians who were responsible for the terrible atrocities which occurred during the time of the Pacific War. There were many books as well as documentaries made relating to the Nazi atrocities but none about the Japanese except for one documentary which was made in Hongkong.

mariandavid
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by mariandavid » 04 Oct 2012 20:38

THE KOKODA CAMPAIGN 1942: By Peter Williams

A superb book - the only one I have read on the Japanese War that gives equal weighting to original Japanese and Allied accounts. In summary a detailed and utterly compelling refutation of the 'Kokoda Myth', proving (and I mean proving not suggesting!) that the accepted story of Kokoda as propagandized from 1980 on is just that. Specifically that:

- the Japanese were outnumbered for most of the time, not overwhelmingly strong
- that losses were equal (he cites one famous yarn of a Japanese patrol of 50 being ambushed and wiped out - in truth just two casualties, one of whom later died)
- that Allied air-power was deadly - it was certainly not against ground troops
- that the Japanese fought 'on a shoestring', when they were better supplied
- that local commanders were unfairly sacked - but instead Blamey and MacArthur were right
- etc

Note that this accound in no way demeans the Australian fighting soldier who greatly impressed the already experienced Japanese - it does condemn Australian staff and other elements on issues ranging from maps to medicine to supply to weapons.

Most highly recommended
- that

michael mills
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by michael mills » 25 Nov 2012 01:25

For those whose interest is in political rather than military history, two books by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa that seek to explain the sudden Japanese surrender in August 1945 and the absence of any internal opposition to it:

1. "Racing the Enemy: Stalin,Truman, and the Surrender of Japan" (Harvard University Press, 2005).

This book analyses the effect of the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and it role in bringing about the Japanese surrender.

2. "The End of the Pacific War: Reappraisals" (Stanford University Press, 2007).

This book edited by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa contains contributions from himself, Barton Bernstein, Richard Frank, Sumio Hatano and David Holloway, presenting different and sometimes opposed interpretations of the factors that caused the Japanese surrender.

Antiquus
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by Antiquus » 06 Mar 2013 04:21

I've read a lot of Pacific theater books, and Eric Bergeruds books are very good I think.

What I've been trying to understand is just what happened to the Imperial Navy, how did it go from the best navy on the planet to defeated in 2 years? Midway happened, but that wasn't the master stroke that ended the IJN. Rabaul kept getting hit, but really that was a tiny fraction of the IJN. Most histories either end at Guadalcanal or pick up at the Marianas invasion - Eric has given us the air war and ground war tales, still waiting for the naval installment. James Hornfischer wrote Neptune's Inferno - but sadly it like so many ends at Guadalcanal. What happens next has been a question I've always had trouble finding information about.

John Prados finally authored Islands Of Destiny which is about the rest of the Solomon Island's campaign, and a good read. It scratches my itch. There's enough IJN detail to figure out what was happening, how Yamamoto recognized too late what was happening, how the IJN destroyer force was getting slowly chewed up, and interestingly a few IJN admirals that took too long to replace. Great book.

redskinsmitty
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by redskinsmitty » 23 Jul 2013 06:30

"Goodbye, darkness" by William Manchester. One of the finest historians of the 20th century was a US Marine grunt in the Second World War. I also enjoy what some people would consider 'dry' stuff like Samuel Morrison's US Navy 'blue books' or the official US Army 'green books'.

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clifford13
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by clifford13 » 05 Oct 2013 22:10

3 Japanese works: I boat captain, destroyer captain and samuari..2 American studies At dawn we slept and miracle at midway [Prange]
for the early war period [US], the independance class light aircraft carriers, by Andrew Faltum, Tarawa, by Derrick Wright, mid-war US..Leyte Gulf by Bernard Ireland in the Osprey campaign series along with Osprey's Infantry tactics , squad and battalion books [ 1 and 2]..Afternoon of the rising sun is ok..

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clifford13
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by clifford13 » 05 Oct 2013 22:14

The old 1970's Ballentine history series has a lot of rare pix, if you can find any of them at second hand shops..there was a series of pix on L.G. showing the cve's under fire, some 18 in all, I'd never seen anywhere else. 1 appears in the Osprey book, but not the one with a Mogami class in the same frame...apparently, some got cropped.

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clifford13
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by clifford13 » 05 Oct 2013 22:22

This photo appears to have been cropped,
the origonal in the Ballentine series shows the entire FM-2 Wildcat, and a cruiser in sillouette about where the caption is here, demonstrating how close in this fight was..
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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clifford13
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by clifford13 » 05 Oct 2013 22:29

Getting some great Christmas ideas here....Thanks, everybody !
<--- bookhund 1 st. class..[lol]

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williamjpellas
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by williamjpellas » 05 Dec 2013 18:36

kgbudge wrote:William J. Pellas,

I have some background in nuclear physics, and my feeling is that Wilcox' book is deserving of all the scorn that has been heaped upon it. He simply doesn't understand the science, he gets crucial dates wildly wrong, and he is far too believing of sources that lack all credibility. For example, the Spanish Fascist who claimed he set up a spy network against Los Alamos also claimed he transported Martin Bormann to South American by U-Boat as Germany collapsed. The other participants of this forum can elaborate on why that claim is ludicrous.

Bix's book actually steps back a bit from Bergamin's claims, which have been resoundingly rejected by the great majority of historians knowledgeable about Imperial Japan. Bix has his own flaws but is at least to be taken seriously, which is more than can be said of Bergamini.

The Spanish spy in question was Angel Alcazar de Velasco. If he claimed to have transported Bormann to South America, that claim does not appear in either edition of Secret War as far as I recall. I will double check to be sure, but I believe you are confusing Secret War with Carter Hydrick's book Critical Mass. Hydrick's book is to my eyes closer to the conspiracy theory end of the spectrum, but still worth a look.


I have gone over Wilcox's book with a fine-toothed comb and have yet to find anything in it that is not carefully researched, documented, and written. Where he is speculating, he is careful to label it as such. But there is not much in his book that is speculation. Nor did Wilcox write in a vacuum or make things up out of whole cloth. He was first tipped off about the WWII Japanese atomic bomb programs by the Ivy League professor Derek de Solla Price. Price, with his Japanese graduate student Eri Yagi, was researching the history of Japanese science and technology when he found a whole lot more than he thought he would find when it came to their atomic energy R&D during the war itself. Price's credentials were impeccable, but he was another one who made a lot of enemies because he dared to speak things that were not politically correct (such as his famous dictum "Price's Law"). I submit that it goes without saying that the idea that Japan (like every other major power in WWII) was also trying to build nuclear weapons during the war, and would have gladly used them against the United States had she been able to, is also politically incorrect in some circles. Upsets the ol' "Japan as nuclear victim of American / Western imperialism" applecart. Destroys the narrative, you see. That doesn't mean it wasn't true.


I would be curious to know what "crucial dates" Wilcox "gets wildly wrong", as well as any other specific points that you believe are factually in error. Rather than hijack this thread for that kind of discussion, however, I would like to invite you to PM me through this site, if you are willing. I will say again that the vast majority of research into the Japanese WWII atomic bomb projects that has been done since Secret War first appeared in 1985 has definitely tended strongly to confirm most of what Wilcox wrote (if not all of it).

Strngdiver44
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by Strngdiver44 » 06 Feb 2014 08:32

Hafa a'dai from Guam!
This is my first post and I made a typo in my board name when I registered.

In November 2014 I published my Kickstarter-funded book, "Witness To War: Truk Lagoon's Master Diver Kimiuo Aisek." On 17 February in Truk (now called Chuuuk) we will observe the 70 anniversary of Operation Hailstone, the 2-day aerial American attack on Japan's "Gibraltar of the Pacific." Because there was no amphibious attack and therefore few American casualties, Truk is often overlooked in history -- in museums, and on maps -- but it is not overlooked by scuba divers. 8-)

I found many great books while researching this biography, and I see many of them already listed. Here's one of my "essential" books from my writing experience that I am not sure has been named already: Nan'yo: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese in Micronesia, 1885-1945. by Professor Mark R. Peattie (Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1988)
Thank you for this forum!
Dianne M. Strong, EdD, a wreck diver for 45 years
Guam, USA, 80 minutes by jet from Truk
Wreck diver Dianne Strong on Guam

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williamjpellas
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Re: What Books do you Think are Essential About WWII Japan?

Post by williamjpellas » 06 Feb 2014 19:19

Great to have you on board, Dianne! Welcome! And, thank you for the information about an important US operation during the Pacific War.

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