PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland


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  • The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45
  • John Toland
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  • 07 May 2020
  • 9780812968583

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  1. says: PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland John Toland Æ 0 READ

    CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland John Toland Æ 0 READ “Shigenori Togo had just arrived at the Palace grounds Stars shone brilliantly It was going to be a fine day The Foreign Minister was immediately ushered into the Emperor’s presence It was almost at the exact m

  2. says: CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 John Toland Æ 0 READ PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland

    PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland Looking for a relatively light read I picked this off the shelves where it had been sitting for years Having read a couple of his other books I was pretty sure that Toland would be interestingIndeed he was even

  3. says: PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland

    PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland John Toland Æ 0 READ CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 This book explores Japan’s involvement in World War II It focuses upon the Pacific theater and upon battles the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and finally it explains in detail why it took so long for the Japanese to surrender All related to the Japanese involvement is covered in detail It is not hard to follow because it written in a

  4. says: PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland John Toland Æ 0 READ READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland

    READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland 4 Stars This is probably one of the best one volume history of the Pacific war that I have read It doesn't make the mistake of beginning with Japan's war with the West but starts with the positioning before the Marco Polo bridge incident It mixes the military campaigns and battles with the politics at home This includes detailed accounts of the political and military manoeuvring of the Japanese leaders with t

  5. says: CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland

    PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 This is the third big book on the Pacific War I have read recently Ian Toll's first two books of a planned trilogy Pacific Crucible and The Conuering Tide were a magnificent historical account of the war from both sides So given that this book covers much the same ground though it was written much earlier I will do a lot of comparing with Toll's books though I think Toland's book is eually good and you will not find it at all repetitive to

  6. says: PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland John Toland Æ 0 READ CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45

    PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland John Toland Æ 0 READ READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland With a Nobel prize winning book John Toland accomplishes telling the Japanese side of WWII The 1930’s were an interesting time in

  7. says: John Toland Æ 0 READ READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45

    PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland John Toland Æ 0 READ Winner of the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for General Non Fiction this book covers the War in the Pacific from a Japanese perspective Extensive well researched and readable covering the timeframe from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and NagasakiAfter the Japanese invasion in Manch

  8. says: PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland

    PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland An epic account of the Japanese war Toland tells the story from many different perspectives – from the Emperor and his aides to the lowly so

  9. says: READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland

    PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 I generally avoid histories of WWII I enjoy history immensely but between Hollywood the History Channel and the vast array of fictions and histories this war has been done to death I would guess the reason for this is that it is still in our living memories it was the last war with a clear line between good and evil and because it w

  10. says: John Toland Æ 0 READ PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland

    John Toland Æ 0 READ PDF NEW The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ´ John Toland Mammoth history of Japan's involvement in the Second World War Toland seeks to emulate the sweep if not the editorial tone of Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich mixing high level cabinet deliberations and diplomacy with military strategy and the on the ground experience of Japanese soldiers and sailors Toland's portrait shows a Japanese leadership eager to exploit China but agonizing over their decision to attack America

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The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45

John Toland Æ 0 READ READ ¿ The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 ?s words “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 paradox”In weaving together the historical facts and human drama leading up to and culminating in th. This is the third big book on the Pacific War I have read recently Ian Toll s first two books of a planned trilogy Pacific Crucible and The Conuering Tide were a magnificent historical account of the war from both sides So given that this book covers much the same ground though it was written much earlier I will do a lot of comparing with Toll s books though I think Toland s book is eually good and you will not find it at all repetitive to read both authorsAs thick as this book is it s only one volume whereas Ian Toll is writing three whole volumes on the entire war in the Pacific Thus while Toll devotes a great deal of attention to the politics and individual political and military leaders on both sides of the conflict The Rising Sun as its title indicates focuses mostly on Japan Naturally the planning and personalities on the American and British and later Chinese and Soviet sides are mentioned but mostly only inasmuch as they were pitted against their Japanese counterpartsOne of the things most striking about Toland s narrative is that he lays out all the blunders that were made by both Japan before during and after the war These margins where the errors occurred and where history could have been changed are one of the things I find most interesting in non fiction histories when competently examined Let s start with whether or not war was inevitableDid we have to go to war with JapanThe basic historical facts are well understood the Japanese wanted a colonial empire and Europe and the US didn t want them to have one When the Japanese invaded China the US put an oil embargo on them This would inevitably strangle the Japanese economy as for all its rising technical prowess Japan remained a tiny resource impoverished island So the Japanese pretty much had no choice but to give up their ambitions or go to war We know which one they choseThe uestion for historians is whether or not this could have been avertedIan Toll seems to think that war was inevitable the Japanese and the West simply had irreconcilable designs But John Toland seems to not exactly argue but present a great deal of evidence that miscommunication and misfortune had as much to do with Japan and the US being put on a collision course as intransigence Of course Japan was never going to give up their desire to be a world class power which means there was no way they would have accepted the restrictions imposed on them forbidding them fleets or territory on a par with the West Whether the West could have been persuaded to let Japan take what it saw as its rightful place at the grown ups table is debatable But in the first few chapters of The Rising Sun John Toland describes all the negotiating that went on between Japanese and American diplomats The Japanese were split into factions just as the Americans were Some wanted peace no matter what some were hankering to go to war and really believed their jingoistic propaganda that the spiritual essence of the Japanese people would overcome any enemy But most Japanese leaders from the Imperial Palace to the Army and Navy were realistic and knew that a war with the US would be at best a very difficult one So there were many frantic talks including backchannel negotiations among peacemakers on both sides when it became apparent that Secretary of State Henry Stimson and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo were not going to deescalateThere were a number of tragedies in this situation Sometimes the precise wording of some of the phrases used in Japanese or American proposals and counter proposals were mistranslated resulting in their being interpreted as inflexible or disingenuous than they were intended causing both sides to mistrust the other Sometimes communications arrived late There was also a lot of particularly labyrinthine political maneuvering on the Japanese side where political assassinations were commonplace at that time and the position of the Emperor was always ambiguous Toland apparently interviewed a very large number of people and read first hand accounts and so is able to reconstruct many individual talks even with the Emperor himself putting the reader in the Imperial throneroom as Hirohito consults with his ministers and then in telegraph offices where communiues are sent from embassies back to WashingtonToland doesn t definitively state that war could have been avoided because it s still not clear what mutually agreeable concessions might have been made by either side but what is clear is that both Japan and the US could see that war was looming and neither side really wanted it At least initially everyone except a few warmongers in the Japanese military did everything they could to avoid itUnfortunately diplomatic efforts were for naught and the Emperor was eventually persuaded to give his blessing to declare warAdmiral Yamamoto knew very well that Japan had no hope of winning a prolonged war which was why when war happened and he was put in charge of the Japanese fleet he planned what he hoped would be uick devastating knock out punches Pearl Harbor and Midway that would sink the US back on its heels and persuade the Americans to negotiate an honorable peace before things went too farThis was unlikely after Pearl Harbor Nobody on the Japanese side seemed to realize just how pissed off America would be by this surprise attack though the unintentionally late formal declaration of war delivered hours after the attack when it was supposed to have been delivered just prior certainly didn t help But it was a forlorn hope after the debacle at Midway in which aided by superior intelligence from broken Japanese codes the US fleet sank four Japanese carriers Many military historians grade Yamamoto poorly for this badly executed offensive which rather than delivering a knockout punch to the US fleet proved true his prophecy that The Americans can lose many battles we have to win every single oneThe bulk of the book covers the war itself including all the familiar names like Guam Guadalcanal Wake Island Corregidor Saipan Okinawa Iwo Jima Toland does not neglect the British defense of India the tragic fate of Force Z which blundered on ahead to its doom despite lack of air cover and thus heralded in the new reality that air power ruled above all and the multi sided war in China in which communists and nationalists were alternately fighting each other and the Japanese with both sides being courted by the Allies Any military history will cover the battles but Toland describes them vividly especially the first hand accounts from the men in them the misery and terror and also the atrocities like the Bataan Death March and the miserable conditions of POWs taken back to JapanOne of the things evident in many of these battles was just how much is a roll of the dice Human error weather malfunctioning euipment pure luck over and over snatched defeat from the jaws of victory or vice versa Inevitably the US had to win they simply had men euipment resources The Japanese began going hungry almost as soon as the war began while the Allies initially kicked all over the Pacific because they were caught off guard began pouring men and ships and often most importantly food well fed troops into the theater Still individual battles often turned on whether or not a particular ship was spotted or whether torpedoes hit Luck seemed to favor the Americans often than not but I found Toland s descriptions particularly informative in recounting how little details about euipment and the human factor decisions made by individual commanders and how the willingness to take risks or an unwillingness to change one s mind often determined the outcome of a fightWho were the war criminalsTwo of the other big uestions I find most interesting about World War II are the ones that will probably never be answered satisfactorilyFirst was Emperor Hirohito a war criminalI was in college in 1989 when Emperor Hirohito properly known as the Showa Emperor died I had a friend who was a Japanese exchange student She was grief stricken All of Japan mournedThere is a particular narrative I heard growing up It is one that was pushed heavily by the Japanese from approximately the moment the decision was made to surrender until about the time Hirohito died According to this version of history Hirohito was a figurehead a puppet of Japanese military leaders He had no real decision making power and any active resistance on his part would have led to his being killed Thus he was not responsible for the war or any of Japan s war crimes he was an innocent born to assume a hereditary throne and assume a position of purely symbolic importanceI was a little shocked when I read an article in some British tabloid denouncing Hirohito upon his death and cheering that the war criminal was now in hellYet while neither view is strictly accurate it is certainly complicated than the sanitized version that was accepted for so long This sanitized version was in fact produced in part by the US particularly Douglas MacArthur from the moment the war ended as a deliberate strategy to secure faster Japanese cooperation and reconciliation It was predicted that trying Hirohito as a war criminal as about one third of the American public wanted to do at the time would have resulted in widespread guerrilla warfare and the need for a much longer and active occupation of the Japanese homeland When the Japanese finally began negotiating terms of surrender one of the sticking points the one thing they tried to carve out of the demand for an unconditional surrender was that the Emperor would retain his status and by implication not be charged with war crimesSo how active was Hirohito in the war planning According to Toland he was very much involved from the beginning and had far than symbolic influence over his cabinet ministers and military Could he have simply forestalled a war by telling them not to go to war Maybe While political assassination was common it seems unlikely that anyone would have dared laying a hand on His Majesty himself And according to the cabinet meetings and private conferences Toland describes even the most zealous Japanese leaders felt unable to proceed without getting a final say so from the Emperor So if Hirohito had been resolutely against a war it seems likely that the militarists would have had a much harder time getting oneAt the same time Hirohito was in many ways bound by his position Traditionally the Emperor did not make policy he simply approved it He wasn t supposed to veto anything or offer his opinion he was just supposed to bless the decisions that had already been made Hirohito especially later in the war departed from this tradition than once shocking his advisors by taking an active role or asking uestions during ceremonies that were supposed to be mere formalitiesPersonally he seemed to be a rather uiet studious man who would have been much happier as a scholarly sovereign and not the Emperor of an expansionist empire He possessed a genuine if abstract concern for the Japanese people and this motivated him later to accept surrender and even put himself in the hands of the Allies whatever they might decide to do with himAlmost certainly he also had no direct knowledge of Japanese atrocities So Hirohito was no Hitler Still neither was he the uninvolved innocent that it became politically expedient to portray him as after the warHideki Tojo on the other hand the Minister of War and Prime Minister who was tried and executed as a war criminal probably deserved it Initially lukewarm about going to war with the US he became a zealous prosecutor of the war as well as an increasingly megalomaniacal one who seized and authority for himself uashed all dissent and most damningly towards the end when most Japanese leaders were seeing reality and talking about terms of surrender was one of the hold outs who insisted Japan should fight to the end Along with a few other generals who were willing to see Japanese civilians take up bamboo spears and die by the millions fighting off an Allied invasion Tojo deliberately prolonged the fighting well after it was obvious to all that Japan was finished I think it is not unfair to say that he caused hundreds of thousands of needless deaths on both sidesDid we have to drop the bombToland spends only a little time in the last few chapters talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the decision leading up to the use of the atomic bomb on Japan This is another very loaded historical uestion in which there are people with strong opinions on both sides Some have argued that the US didn t need to use the bomb Japan was already negotiating surrender and that we did for reasons ranging from racism to a desire to demonstrate them as a deterrent to the Soviet Union Others claim that Japan was fully willing to fight to the last spear carrying civilian and that the atomic bombs saved millions of lives on both sides by preventing the need for an invasionEntire books have been written about this subject and Toland as I said does not try to dig into it too deeply but he does represent much of what the Americans and Japanese were thinking and saying at the time The case he presents would suggest that the truth unsurprisingly is somewhere in betweenYes the Japanese knew they were going to have to surrender and were already trying to negotiate an honorable peace But it s not at all clear that it was the dropping of atomic bombs I was surprised to learn the Japanese actually knew what they were and indeed Japan had already started its own nuclear program though it hadn t gotten very far that convinced the holdouts to agree to an unconditional surrender At the time the atomic bombs did not seem all that impressive to them they were already willing to endure horrific casualties and the firebombing of Tokyo had killed many people than died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki It was likely the declaration of war by the Soviet Union when Japan had been hoping the Russians would help them negotiate peace that was the deciding factor The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki just drove home their inevitable defeatCould we have gotten an unconditional surrender when we did without the atomic bombs We will probably never know But only a few people at the time really appreciated what new era had been ushered in Harry Truman interestingly said afterwards and continued to say that he gave very little thought to the decision to use the bombs and felt no moral angst about it Indeed two bombs were being prepared for use when the Japanese finally did surrenderIf you want one volume that covers the entire span of the war against Japan I think this monumental work by John Toland leaves very little out and I highly recommend it to WWII historians However I also encourage interested readers to then seek out the recent works by Ian Toll who devotes pages to the American commanders as well and talks about some of the political issues among the Allies that Toland treats briefly as well as going into even detail about individual battles

READ ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Æ John Toland

John Toland Æ 0 READ READ ¿ The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 E war in the Pacific Toland crafts a riveting and unbiased narrative history In his Foreword Toland says that if we are to draw any conclusion from The Rising Sun it is “that there are no simple lessons in history that it is human nature that repeats itself not history?. An epic account of the Japanese war Toland tells the story from many different perspectives from the Emperor and his aides to the lowly soldier trapped in Guadalcanal It is all here the prelude to Pearl Harbour to the finale of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Many aspects are of interest the Japanese were continually obsessed with striking the fatal knock out blow At Pearl Harbour they believed they had accomplished that They tried again at Midway Tarawa to be held for one thousand years Saipan and on and on They even believed they could destroy the enemy on the Japanese mainland Another aspect is the ferociousness of the combatants who refused to surrender and viewed suicide as the honourable way to leave life There were always substantially Japanese deaths than American ones in most of the conflictsJohn Toland s varying montages of the agony of battles of prisoners of war of the victims of fire bombing are all very poignant The build up to the attack on Pearl Harbour and the frustration and miscues on both sides is very well told The end with the Potsdam Proclamation that was completely rejected by the Japanese government followed by the dropping of the atomic bombs well documents the legacy of the wars ending I feel at times that Mr Toland is too lenient with Hirohito s performance he could have prevented Pearl Harbour and the subseuent Japanese onslaught in Asia The Japanese had signed the Tri partite Pact with Hitler and Mussolini and this was ill received by the Anglo American democracies This was somewhat overlooked by Mr Toland Nevertheless this book is a great accomplishment and presents the war with all its detailed planning from the Japanese viewpoint

CHARACTERS The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45

John Toland Æ 0 READ READ ¿ The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 45 This Pulitzer Prize–winning history of World War II chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Told from the Japanese perspective The Rising Sun is in the author?. Shigenori Togo had just arrived at the Palace grounds Stars shone brilliantly It was going to be a fine day The Foreign Minister was immediately ushered into the Emperor s presence It was almost at the exact moment that Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomurawas supposed to see Secretary of State Cordell Hull Togo read President Roosevelt s message and the proposed draft of the Emperor s reply The Emperor approved the reply and his countenance Togo thought reflected a noble feeling of brotherhood with all peoples The spacious plaza outside the Sakashita Gate was deserted and as Togo drove away the sole noise in the city was the crunching of gravel under the car tires His mind was far away in a few minute one of the most momentous days in the history of the world would begin John Toland The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936 1945 By my last count there were one gazillion books on World War II with coming out every week And it will never stop World War II will continue to be refought between the covers and on Kindles long after human memory of the event is gone It will be told for as long as there are people to tell stories The uestion then is which of those books to read You can spend your entire life reading World War II books and not even scratch the surface Besides there are other things to do in life Like drinking or reading about the American Civil War or doing both at the same time Thankfully there are a few landmark books the ones that everyone can name the ones that are certified as classic that stand out from the pack like a guy wearing an Armani suit at a clown college or a clown at an Armani store if you prefer In the European Theater of Operations one of those classics is William Shirer s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Shirer was a journalist who spent time in prewar Nazi Germany and even followed the Nazis into France Concerned that the Gestapo was going to arrest him Shirer fled Germany in 1940 and later wrote his seminal account a history of the Second World War as seen through the eyes of Hitler and his henchmen The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich has its shortcomings among them an archaic and heavily belabored distaste for homosexuality but there is no denying its place in the firmament All books coming after had to deal with its shadow John Toland s The Rising Sun The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire is a Pacific Theater counterpoint to Shirer s masterwork It tells the tale of the other side of World War II and does so mainly from the point of view of the Japanese Upon publication it won the Pulitzer Prize and can be found in the endnotes and bibliography of just about every subseuent book written about the Pacific War More than anything though it is a book that finds that perfect balance between macro and micro between general and private and civilian It always strives to hold the big picture clear but never fails to remind you of the individuals who collectively made that big picture As such this is a rare history one that is scholarly and massively researched yet also shot through with empathy compassion and humanism It is one of the best books I ve read on World War II Toland begins in 1936 with young Japanese radicals bent on assassinating several of the Emperor s advisers These men were practicing gekokujo or insubordination a semi legitimate form of rebellion In this opening chapter Toland briskly sometimes too briskly outlines the background that fomented gekokujo the fall of monarchies after World War I the competition between democracy socialism and Communism that came in its wake the rapid westernization of Japan and the resulting scandals and corruption Japan s population explosion and the inevitable blowback by conservatives and nationalists During Japan s rise as a Pacific power it invaded Manchuria which it saw as a buffer against the Soviet Union with whom they d warred at the beginning of the century and as a source of raw materials and in 1932 established the puppet state of Manchukuo The creation of Manchukuo obviously heightened tensions between China and Japan Those tensions came to a head in 1937 at the Marco Polo Bridge in an incident that better marks the actual beginning of World War II as opposed to the September 1 1939 invasion of Poland by Hitler The clash at the Marco Polo Bridge led to full scale war including the infamous Nanking Massacre The only real criticism I have with The Rising Sun is in Toland s handling of the Second Sino Japanese War Part of the reason I bought this book was to learn about this forgotten theater Unfortunately however Toland deals with China in a cursory fashion He does not take the time to develop the strategy of the war or explain in great detail how it unfolded The fall of Nanking merits barely a page This stands in stark contrast to the space devoted to the American Japanese conflict beginning in 1942 For instance Toland devotes an entire and yes brilliant chapter to the battle of Guadalcanal In other words despite the broad claims of its cover The Rising Sun is mainly focused on the war between American and Japan This means less attention though it s not entirely ignored paid to China s dual struggle against Japan and themselves Britain s collapse in Singapore the Burma Campaign and the massive battles of Kohima and Imphal in IndiaEven though Toland decides to place his heaviest emphasis on familiar territory it nevertheless manages to be revelatory After the earlier chapters which felt compressed The Rising Sun hits its stride in the run up to Pearl Harbor You get to see the rationale behind Japan s decisions its attempts to negotiate with America especially through Prince Konoye and the different factions within the Japanese ministry When we think of Japan in World War II we think of Nanking and Pearl Harbor of the Bataan Death March and kamikazes Prime Minister Tojo has become a caricature of evil divorced from any of the human traits that even Hitler has posthumously been granted These conceptions do little to broaden our understanding of what actually happened By taking us into the backrooms of Japanese policymaking we get to see the world and its perils as they did They faced many difficulties as a small overcrowded island nation a net importer of just about everything When President Roosevelt decided to turn of the oil spigot it was as grave a threat to Japan as Khrushchev s October missiles were to the United States in 1962To be sure Japan s colonial impulses were brutal but they had learned from the best that is from Europe It is also interesting as Toland notes how Japan s pan Asian ambitions did not fall entirely on deaf ears There were many people for whom an Asian power in the Pacific was preferable to the white powers that had dominated for a hundred years or using their human capital and removing their resources for exploitation elsewhere After the war of course that pan Asian spark was enough to incite anti colonial movements all over Asia including Indochina and India The difficulty in writing this type of history is that you are taking the side of the conuered And history of course is written by the winners That means that Allied atrocities are subordinated to the carnage perpetrated by the bad guys In other words the casual reader familiar with the winner s take might feel that Toland is soft peddling Japan s crimes I don t think he does Anything that smacks of such is a function of the point of view he has chosen for his narrative Nobody does evil thinking it is evil there is always a rationalization followed by a rationalization until you re in too deep A good example of this is the Bataan Death March Toland does not skimp on the horrors suffered by MacArthur s captured troops but does place it in a milieu divorced from contemporary propaganda He shows how the overarching cause of the Death March was Japan s poor planning and its utter surprise at America s collapse in the Philippines They were simply not prepared for the influx of tens of thousands of starving disease ridden soldiers General Homma s execution at the end of the war can only be seen as MacArthur s crass punishment of the man who kicked his ass off Corregidor Though General Homma did not set out to massacre his prisoners there were certainly men under his command who intended just that This filtered down to the rank and file Japanese soldier who was created within a framework of unending violence beaten by his superiors taught to fight to the death imbued with the belief that capture was dishonor and that the way of the warrior was death Toland was an author especially suited as far as a white American could be to tell this story as he was married to a Japanese woman named Toshiko who assisted as his interpreter By giving an account of the Pacific War from the Japanese perspective he gave them a humanity denied by wartime hyperbole of unthinking unfeeling murderous fanatics Toland gives them a voice uotes their letters and diaries stands with them in their pillboxes or on the street the day a bomb exploded with the light of a thousand suns My greatest surprise in reading The Rising Sun was its emotional impact It begins as a straightforward chronological history marked by tremendous research but structurally run of the mill As the book progresses though you recognize the elegance of Toland s construction how he weaves the stories of heretofore unknown participants into the grander narrative Part of the reason The Rising Sun is so effective so powerful is the way Toland threads the mini arcs of participants into the larger story During the Battle of Saipan for instance Toland follows the travails of a young Japanese nurse and shows you the war through her eyes in all its terrible limited scope In Garapan a young volunteer nurse by the name of Shizuko Miura a tomboy with a round merry face flinched as the first shells landed She peered out the window of the first air station into the dim light The Americans were bombarding the town again As the explosions moved closer she helped transfer those wounded in the earlier shelling to a dugout With daylight came enemy planes and an even violent barrage from the ships It is June 14 Shizuko thought calmly I have lived for eighteen years and my time to die has come A shell shook the dugout like an earthuake and knocked her to the ground She staggered outside The first aid station was obliterated She saw a piece of red metal it was shrapnel and curious touched it with her finger It burned her Planes droned overhead but no one was firing at them Garapan was aflame The heat was so intense that she could hardly breathe She started to make her way through the rubbled streets strewn with bodiesToland was able to tell stories like this because of his diligent primary research In the source section you will find ten pages filled with names noting all the people with whom he d conducted interviews The names include prime ministers admirals and also Shizuko Miura For this reason alone The Rising Sun is a touchstone of World War II writing The firsthand information gathered from these participants many of whom might have been forgotten has proven invaluable to historians and writers who have followed in Toland s footprints But this is not the only reason to read The Rising Sun or even the best Rather it is a testament to humanity in the midst of the most inhuman period of human existence In Toland s own words it is a story that is muddled ennobling disgraceful frustrating full of paradox