War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War

War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War

4.6 5
by John Dower
     
 

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WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
 
AN AMERICAN BOOK AWARD FINALIST
 
Now in paperback, War Without Mercy has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most original and important books to be written about the war between Japan and the United States.” In this monumental history, Professor John

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Overview

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
 
AN AMERICAN BOOK AWARD FINALIST
 
Now in paperback, War Without Mercy has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most original and important books to be written about the war between Japan and the United States.” In this monumental history, Professor John Dower reveals a hidden, explosive dimension of the Pacific War—race—while writing what John Toland has called “a landmark book . . . a powerful, moving, and evenhanded history that is sorely needed in both America and Japan.”
 
Drawing on American and Japanese songs, slogans, cartoons, propaganda films, secret reports, and a wealth of other documents of the time, Dower opens up a whole new way of looking at that bitter struggle of four and a half decades ago and its ramifications in our lives today. As Edwin O. Reischauer, former ambassador to Japan, has pointed out, this book offers “a lesson that the postwar generations need most . . . with eloquence, crushing detail, and power.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
War Without Mercy has been widely praised in the press:
 
“May well be the most important study of the Pacific War ever published.”
The New Republic
 
“One of the handful of truly important books on the Pacific War . . . a cautionary tale for all peoples, now and in the future.”
Foreign Affairs
 
“An exceptionally important book.”
Newsweek
 
“Belongs in every general library . . . should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the trade wars that have mercifully replaced the killing fields in the Pacific.”
The Boston Globe

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One of the most disturbing examples of racism in the Pacific War was the execution of Allied POWs by the Japanese while American planes were dropping bombs on Tokyothis on the final day of the war, a year after Japan's defeat was assured. Dower, professor of Japanese history at UC San Diego, traces in rich detail the development of racism on both sides of the Pacific, including an analysis of wartime propaganda comparing Frank Capra's ``Why We Fight'' films with their Japanese counterparts. The book leaves no room for doubt about the intensity of racial loathing among all, and shows that its effects were virtually identical. This startling work of scholarship has a larger theme, however, than racially inspired atrocities in the Pacific theater. Dower examines the abrupt transition from what he describes as ``a bloody racist war'' to an amicable postwar relationship between the two countries, and notes that the stereotypes that fed superpatriotism and racial hatred were surprisingly adaptable to cooperation in peacetime. This phase of the relationship was followedin an instance of considerable historical ironyby an ``economic Pearl Harbor,'' as Japan won victory after victory in the global trade wars and an entrepreneurial superpower was perceived as looming on the Pacific horizon. Japan's postwar accomplishments having shattered the teacher-pupil model that defined the countries' postwar relationship, pejorative stereotypes have been resurrected and applied to the battlefields of commerce. To cite one of the mildest of Dower's examples: 89% of Australian executives polled in 1984 considered the Japanese untrustworthy and devious. Those concerned with the seductive power and universal influence of racism in the 20th century will find this landmark study absorbing and essential. Photos. (May 19)
Library Journal
War Without Mercy offers a fresh and challenging insight into the Pacific phase of World War II by examining the racist stereotypes that dominated the way Americans and Japanese thought about each other. Dower (History, Univ. of California, San Diego) has mined an extraordinary array of both U.S. and Japanese sourceseverything from comic books to secret government documentsto buttress the notion that images influenced the policy and wartime behavior of both powers. ``Harsh words are seen to be inseparable from the harshest of all acts: war and killing,'' he writes. The book should enjoy the widest of audiences, from the general reader to the most demanding specialist. John H. Boyle, History Dept., California State Univ., Chico

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394751726
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/1987
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
265,980
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.17(h) x 1.02(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

War Without Mercy has been widely praised in the press:
 
“May well be the most important study of the Pacific War ever published.”
The New Republic
 
“One of the handful of truly important books on the Pacific War . . . a cautionary tale for all peoples, now and in the future.”
Foreign Affairs
 
“An exceptionally important book.”
Newsweek
 
“Belongs in every general library . . . should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the trade wars that have mercifully replaced the killing fields in the Pacific.”
The Boston Globe

Meet the Author

John W. Dower, born in 1938, is the Henry Luce Professor of International Cooperation and Global Stability at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Empire and Aftermath: Yoshida Shigeru and the Japanese Experience, 1878–1954 and The Elements of Japanese Design, and is the editor of The Origins of the Japanese State: Selected Writings of E. H. Norman and coeditor of The Hiroshima Murals: The Art of Iri Maruki and Toshi Maruki.

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War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Vanlh More than 1 year ago
This is a book that tells how the war was fought on the ground, and why. It is not the world of diplomats and generals but the soldiers, sailors and pilots and both sides, and the racist propaganda and viewpoints that affected both sides.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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