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Wow. You come away from this book feeling like you actually understand what would posses the Japanese to launch into a war they knew that they would lose if it went on very long and why they fought so hard right to the end. If all history books were this good why would you ever read fiction?
27 of 28 people found this review helpful
I'm a military history buff with a focus on Vietnam and World War II, so when I finished Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, I was horrified, conflicted, and drawn back to revisit books on Japan, the Pacific War, the major players of the Pacific theater. Naturally that led me back to The Rising Sun.
It's a work that's awesome in its scope, painstaking in military, political, even social detail. And as it went on, I became more and more, exasperated is a kind word for it.
It fully explains the Japanese rationale for entering the war, but after the good, there's the tragic. The endlessly tragic. There's the defeat after defeat, and that just made the Japanese entrench themselves more in their dogma and in their drive to take ten Americans for everyone one man sacrificed. Even after horrific and atrocious bombings of Japanese cities (which are a tad rationalized by the fact that Japanese industry wasn't centered around a military complex as in Germany but was instead centered in home-factories), even after the destruction and devastation of two, TWO! atomic bombs, what did they do? They had a failed coup to continue the war, they offered up Twenty Million Suicides to take out as many Americans on the way out as possible, and after surrender, they had the executions of many POWs.
It was so aggravating to re listen to, but if you're in the mood for a truly brilliantly researched work, dive right in. Just don't expect to come out smelling like a rose...
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Slightly hard to follow the characters with a lot of similar but different names but I enjoyed catching a chunk of history I never studied . Well narrated book and a gripping story with more humanity than i had expected. After some time it moves from the character of the Japanese to be a catalogue of the various military engements and that was its only disappointment , I dint really get to know more about what was hapeining or being said by the average man in japan in this period . Not sure ill ever understand the Japanese culture for the glorification of death at the time and I hope the people of modern Japan don't understand it either . General Macarther doesn't come out to favourably either . Good book though and would recommend if you want a broad sweep of this period of Japanese military history
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Where does The Rising Sun rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
As a historic piece of work it has plenty of detail. It opens up the political system that shows there was no democracy and the military were the real power and not the Emperor. It shows a different perspective than what we were led to believe.
What did you like best about this story?
The poor quality of leadership. It exposes the fundamental failures of the willingness to waste life for no gain other than that of saving face. The pre Pearl Harbour events especially that took place in the parliament were a real eye opener. It appears no one wanted war with the USA and the European powers but didn't know how to stop it happening.
Which character – as performed by Tom Weiner – was your favourite?
Admirable Yamamoto is an obvious choice as he was the man who took them to war but did warn that he could not give them victory - Tom put Yamamoto into the character of not just the tactician but also the political military man
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
The Sun that rises, also sets
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
I have taken an interest in te Pacific War and have read a few scholarly tomes on the subject. I find most of them when it comes to the Japanese side of the war are still locked in the propaganda of the time and the Japanese are widely seen through a one dimensional stereotype of a "fanatic" and bushido is used way too often to explain their character . This work has changed all that as now for the first time I get a sense of hoe the Japanese viewed themselves, viewed the war, viewed the world. It treats the Japanese as humans while not being "revisionist" or apologetic history. Love this!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I would like to say how interesting & engaging I found this book . There were numerous anecdotes and details that brought the history alive . I particularly found the pre war political intrigues in Japan very informative . My main criticism would be the very brief almost off handed way that he dealt with the fighting in New Guinea . There are also some errors of fact .Tolland stated that Australian troops in New Guinea were under the command of US general Eichelberger , this is incorrect . Australian forces were always under Australian command & were the majority of troops who fought in New Guinea .The fighting on Guadalcanal is shown in great detail but the far deadlier fighting in New Guinea (were your chances of death in battle was far greater ) ,is skipped over or virtually ignored . Take for instance the treatment of the battle of Tenaru River . This is given in great detail , but the far greater battle of Isurava does not even get a mention .I feel that this is a very good book about the American war in the Pacific . It however continues the habit of side lining or ignoring the contribution of the Australian forces who are often referred to as “allies , or MacArthur’s” troops rather as AIF or Australian forces . All in all this is a good read but is weak on the land war for the first 6-8 months of 1942 .
6 of 8 people found this review helpful