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Japan at war : an oral history / Haruko Taya Cook, Theodore F. Cook

Main Author Cook, Haruko Taya Coauthor Cook, Theodore F. Country Estados Unidos. Edition 1st ed Publication New York : The New Press, cop. 1992 Description XIII, 479 p. ; 21 cm ISBN 1-56584-039-9 CDU 940.53 355.48(520)
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Monografia Biblioteca Fernão Mendes Pinto
BFMP-LCO 940.53 - C Perdido | Lost Indisponível | Not available 349714
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A "deeply moving book" (Studs Terkel) and the first ever oral history to document the experience of ordinary Japanese people during World War II

"Hereafter no one will be able to think, write, or teach about the Pacific War without reference to [the Cooks'] work." --Marius B. Jansen, Emeritus Professor of Japanese History, Princeton University

This pathbreaking work of oral history by Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook was the first book ever to capture the experience of ordinary Japanese people during the war and remains the classic work on the subject.

In a sweeping panorama, Japan at War takes us from the Japanese attacks on China in the 1930s to the Japanese home front during the inhuman raids on Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, offering glimpses of how the twentieth century's most deadly conflict affected the lives of the Japanese population. The book "seeks out the true feelings of the wartime generation [and] illuminates the contradictions between the official views of the war and living testimony" (Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan).

For decades, American and Japanese readers have turned to Japan at War for a candid portrait of the Japanese experience during World War II in all its complexity. Featuring essays that contextualize the oral histories of each tumultuous period covered, Japan at War is appropriate both as an introduction to those war-ravaged decades and as a riveting reference for those studying the war in the Pacific.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Recently US publishers have furnished the reading public with a wealth of oral histories that recount the experiences of America's WW-II veterans. However, with the notable exception of John Hersey's Hiroshima (1946), relatively few oral histories have appeared in English that relate the enemy's experiences during the war. Japan at War is a major step toward removing this inadequacy. From the interviews they conducted, the Cooks learned that the Japanese view the war differently from Americans. First, the Japanese were the losers. Second, many still deny their country's responsibility for starting the war. Third, some Japanese even believe the defeat was good for the nation, and finally, very few of those interviewed expressed hatred for the victors. The interviews are arranged chronologically, beginning with the 1937 China Incident and ending with the War Crimes Trials. A number of the accounts are very graphic. General; undergraduate; graduate; faculty. R. H. Detrick; University of North Texas

Kirkus Book Review

Haunting voices from a dark, disgraceful past, which afford a stunning and revelatory panorama of Japan's WW II experience. Counting its aggressions in Manchuria and China, Japan (whose death toll exceeded three million) was in constant battle from 1931 through V-J Day. Cook and her husband (History/William Paterson College) spent nearly four years gathering reminiscences from dozens of ostensibly ordinary people who survived the lengthy conflict variously called the Pacific, Greater East Asia, or 15- Year War. Adding just enough background and big-picture perspectives to give coherence to first-person narratives, the authors largely allow their sources to speak for themselves. Among those willing to tell their typically grim stories are combat veterans of campaigns from Nanking to Okinawa; builders of the infamous Burma railway; unrepentant officers; technicians who participated in barbarous medical experiments on POWs; journalists whose dispatches extolling ``victories of the spirit'' owed more to the military regime's police powers than to reality; cabaret dancers; diplomats; and home-front victims of America's incendiary as well as atom-bomb assaults. Also represented are troops who served with brutal occupation forces; the widow of a kamikaze pilot; conscripts trained as human torpedoes; Koreans dragooned into rear-area labor battalions; and those convicted of war crimes. About the only significant groups not included in the wide-ranging canvas are the industrialists who supplied an overmatched imperial war machine and members of resistance groups. Like its Axis partner, Japan tolerated no dissent and was able to command consensus support from an unquestioningly obedient populace that, notwithstanding the disclosures at hand, still appears capable of collective denial when it comes to assuming even regional responsibility for the horrors of a global conflagration. Oral history of a compellingly high order.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Haruko Taya Cook is Fordham Marymount Professor Emerita in history at Marymount College of Fordham University. She lives in New York City.

Theodore F. Cook is a professor of Japanese history at William Paterson University. He lives in New York City.

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