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Ten good books about Japan at war

All these books are currently available on Amazon.com in the U.S., either new from Amazon or second-hand from a Marketplace seller. Click on the cover or title for more information.


Hirohito & Modern Japan
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (Herbert Bix)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, 2001, Bix puts the Showa emperor back at the center of World War II in the Pacific. [MORE]

Samurai!
Samurai! (Saburo Sakai and those other guys)

A compelling memoir by a veteran of the Japanese Navy Air Force, the one-eyed enlisted pilot who became everyone's favorite Japanese ace [MORE]

Rape of Nanking
The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (Iris Chang)

A blood-curdling account by a young scholar, who perhaps didn't notice that not all of us have forgotten the Rape. [MORE]

Prisoners of the Japanese
Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific (Gavan Daws)

The Anglo-American prisoners of the Japanese didn't fare much better! Like Chang's book, this is a difficult but necessary one. [MORE]

Downfall
Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (Richard B. Frank)

Was Hiroshima necessary? What about Nagasaki? Would the invasion of Japan really have cost the lives of a million American soldiers, or were the Japanese eager to give up? And hey, what about those Russians? A splendid study of these much-argued topics. [MORE]

Pacific War
The Pacific War, 1931-1945: A Critical Perspective on Japan's Role in World War II (Saburo Ienaga)

Ienaga was a teacher who got himself into trouble by telling the truth (as he saw it) about Japan's conduct of the war. When he found himself out of a job, he wrote this book and got even deeper into trouble. Especially convincing because written by a Japanese. [MORE]

Nomonhan
Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939 (Alvin Cook)

A detailed study of one of the least-known campaigns of the 20th century, the border war Japan launched to its cost against the Soviet Union. The pasting it received at Nomonhan was a factor in deciding Japan to move against Britain, Dutch, and American interests in Southeast Asia rather than into Siberia. [MORE]

Japan at War
Japan at War: An Oral History (Haruko & Theodore Cook)

Fascinating memories of the people who fought the war and suffered in it.

Kaigun
Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 (David Evans & Mark Peattie)

The briefing book that the U.S. Navy should have had in December 1941. [MORE]

Sunburst
Sunburst: The Rise of the Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941 (Mark Peattie)

A follow-on to Kaigun, but differing from it by covering the outcome of Japan's short-sighted war doctrine, which depended upon far-ranging, highly maneuverable aircraft, piloted by an elite corps of superbly trained fighters, for neither of whom did Japan have any adequate replacements.