The Knights of Bushido

  • by Lord Russell of Liverpool
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The war crimes trials at Nuremberg and Tokyo meted out the Allies' official justice; Lord Russell of Liverpool's sensational bestselling books on the Axis' war crimes decided the public's opinion. The Knights of Bushido, Russell's shocking account of Japanese brutality in the Pacific in World War II, describes how the noble founding principles of the Empire of Japan were perverted by the military into a systematic campaign of torture, murder, starvation, rape, and destruction. Notorious incidents like the Nanking Massacre and the Bataan Death March emerge as merely part of a pattern of human rights abuses. Undoubtedly formidable soldiers, the Japanese were terrible conquerors. Their conduct in the Pacific is a harrowing example of the doctrine of mutual destruction carried to the extreme, and begs the question of what is acceptable—and unacceptable—in total war.

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Audible Editor Reviews

A belief in Japan’s divinely mandated right to rule over Asia led to stunning atrocities during the Second World War. Lord Russell of Liverpool, a lawyer who worked with the British Army during the war, offers a vivid and detailed catalogue of these bloody and vicious war crimes in his 1958 volume The Knights of Bushido.
The cruelty of the Japanese military was seen in Nanking, where thousands of innocent Chinese were raped and murdered by Japanese soldiers and its prisoner of war camps, where international treaties were ignored and soldiers were starved and tortured.
With his British accent, narrator Simon Vance strikes a dispassionate tone that allows the gravity of Lord Russell’s careful research and unembellished prose to speak for itself.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not for the faint of heart

This was a great and terrible book at the same time. My grandma had told me about the hatred for the Japanese during WWII and how two of her high school friends were killed during the Bataan death march, but this book paints the full picture of the depths of depravity and horror that can be conjured up by the human mind.

Countless acts throughout the Sino-Japanese war to WWII are described here and broken into sections that describe how the Japanese dealt with situations (Pilots, Sea Battles, Prison Camps, Civilian Populations, Cannibalism). While it is not chronological, I feel it is a far better way of sorting through the information, as you can begin to see the Japanese mindset towards certain prisoners or situations.

The book does a good job of accurately portraying the horror experienced by the world during this time. The examples are brutal (babies thrown up and "caught" on a bayonet), but it helps show a whole side of World War II that is not talked about much, and gave me a new found admiration of the "Greatest Generation" who overcame such evil.
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- Amazon Customer

Grim but important to know

Would you listen to The Knights of Bushido again? Why?

Probably not, as much of it is ghastly: once one is familiar with the contents, it seems a bit pointless to go through the horrors a second time.


What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Excellent. However, Japanese names are often not pronounced correctly, but this is not a major problem.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, it distressed me to learn about so many men behaving so horribly.


Any additional comments?

One of the essential moral issues anyone living after 1945 has to face is how masses of people could behave so brutishly, and in in the name of some ideal. The barbarism shown by German, Japanese and Russian military during World War II was not the wayward behavior of a few psychopaths or deviants but a systematic descent into almost unthinkable evil on the part of huge numbers of people deliberately incited by a few, and this in the name of some ideology. In each of these three cases, it came about in a unique way, and it is important and interesting to understand the particular elements at play. And in each instance, it is the perpetrators that are themselves the primary victims — the Japanese even more directly than others, since Japanese recruits were deliberatly brutalized (beaten and humiliated) to take away their humanity and turn them into instruments of brutality.

I take this occasion to recommend the most enlightening book I know on the problem of evil : Barbara Oakley's 2007 book 'Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend'

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- Acteon "Acteon"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-13-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios