Japan 1941

  • by Eri Hotta
  • Narrated by Laural Merlington
  • 13 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Japan attacked the United States in 1941, argues Eri Hotta, its leaders, in large part, understood they were entering a conflict they were bound to lose. Availing herself of rarely consulted material, Hotta poses essential questions overlooked by historians in the seventy years since: Why did these men - military men, civilian politicians, diplomats, the emperor - put their country and its citizens in harm's way? Why did they make a decision that was doomed from the start?
Introducing us to the doubters, bluffers, and schemers who led their nation into this conflagration, Hotta brilliantly shows us a Japan never before glimpsed - eager to avoid war but fraught with tensions with the West, blinded by traditional notions of pride and honor, nearly escaping disaster before it finally proved inevitable.


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Japanese viewpoint

Eri Hotta is an independent scholar specializing in Japan international relations. Hotta was born in Tokyo. She received her BA in history from Princeton University, master and Ph.D. from Oxford. She taught at Oxford from 2001-2005. What led me to read this book was it offered the view point of Japan leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. Hotta makes two central points, 1). Japan’s leaders and its people were influenced by a belief that Japan was destined for international greatness---going to war was a gamble. 2). Japan’s policy making process by 1940 was not open and parliamentary but Japan was not a dictatorship. Decision involved preliminary bargaining interaction with a complex administrative structure. The Japanese constitution allowed the military to advise the Emperor independently of the rest of the government. The author pain staking guides the reader through a convoluted mesh of personalities and principles. Hotta provides a brief history of Japan so the reader can understand what is happening in the eight months leading up to Pearl Harbor. Reading the book led me to learn something about Japanese politics and how Japan’s admiration for the United States began to turn sour in the first part of the twentieth century. A Hotta point out the Japanese language tends to be vague which led to problems with negotiation with the U.S. Secretary of State. Even though Hotta explains about Japanese history, government and politics she lays the blame for the war directly on Japan. Laurel Merlington did a good job narrating the book. If you are interested WWII history this book would interest you.

Read full review

- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Very riveting

What made the experience of listening to Japan 1941 the most enjoyable?

The narration was first rate. The writer showed the complex politics of Japan leading up to the war. One of my few complaints was, I believe that the writer tried to show that no one in Japan wanted war and it was a massive misunderstanding and that Japan was trying to be a peaceful nation. That went in direct contrast of what really happen; example, the rape of Nanking, the blatant attack on the Gunboat Panay. The force occupation on indochina, the horrible treatment of the Chinese civilians that was only exceed by Nazis Germany and Stalin's Soviet Russia. But the biggest complaint that I found hard to swallow was that up to August 12, 1941, Japan was trying to do everything to stop the upcoming war. Fact, the Pearl Harbor attack plan was started in 1940. Fact, they Japanese Navy was gathering their combined fleet to attack Pearl Harbor and Singapore and the Phillippines. To say that Japan was only trying to keep world peace is like saying that Hilter had a bad hair day.

That being said, I did find the inter workings of the Japanese government very interesting and also showing that Emperor Hirohito knew or at least was informed of what was happening and did nothing to try to stop it. The public has been told that the Emperor was only a figure head but in reality, he was commander in chief of the military and at anytime he could have stopped it.

Read full review

- Tom

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-29-2013
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio