Empires on the Pacific smashes the standard narrative of World War II in the Pacific theater, showing America's aim to replace Britain as East Asia's New Imperial Power. Robert Smith Thompson offers a long overdue explanation of what America's war against Japan was really aboutin a word: China. The over-reaching British Empire was waning yet unwilling to relinquish its foothold in China, while an increasingly ambitious Japan was determined to dominate the region by conquering China. Enter the young upstart, America. For Franklin Delano Roosevelt and for the United States, the war with Japan had little to do with revenge for Pearl Harbor. Japan would have to be vanquished so that it would never again be an imperial rival.Thompson's recasting of the Asian conflict profoundly alters our understanding of World War II in the Pacific and of what followed in Korea and in Vietnam. Revisionist history at its best, Empires on the Pacific is a far-reaching book that requires us to re-evaluate what we thought we knew about twentieth-century American history and what many still consider our last "good war."
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Robert Smith Thompson teaches at the University of South Carolina. His book A Time for War: FDR and the Path to Pearl Harbor was the first serious work to argue that FDR provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor as a way of justifying America's entry into war. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina.
Table of Contents
|Prologue: Washington, December 8, 1941||xi|
|Part I||The Road to War|
|1||The Fall of Imperial China||3|
|2||Japan's Response to the West||21|
|3||The Open Door||41|
|4||New Order in East Asia||57|
|5||The Road to Pearl Harbor||75|
|Part II||Japan's Far-Flung Battle Line|
|7||The Singapore Debacle||123|
|8||Warriors of the Rising Sun||141|
|9||But Not in Shame||159|
|Part III||The Receding of the Tide|
|12||The Hammer and the Anvil||221|
|Part IV||Recasting the Imperial Far East|
|17||Return to the Colonies||313|
|18||The New Taipans||327|
|20||They Call It Peace||363|
|Epilogue: World War II and the Road to Vietnam||377|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Japanese attack on a U.S. Naval Base in Hawaii was unprovoked and unexpected. The U.S. was 'minding its own business' when it was 'brutally' attacked by Japan. The U.S. had 'no choice' but to firebomb major cities in Japan and Germany, killing thousands of civilians. The U.S. had 'no choice' but to drop Atomic and Hydrogen bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing and maiming several hundred thousand civilians. If you accept these historical 'facts' then don't bother reading this book because it will ruin your day. Books like this are dismissed as 'revisionist' because the questions they raise are too unpleasant to deal with. For those who are familiar with geopolitical realities however, the assertions the author makes are not hard to come to terms with. It is a fairly enjoyable read for a history book and I recommend it to those who still aren't afraid to question what they have been 'taught' in school.
When I read the publisher's synopsis and the reviews by other authors, I was looking forward to reading a thought provoking book. Now that I am finished, I wonder if they read the same book. At best, the book is a mediocre general history of World War II in the Pacific. The author fails to soundly argue his case or draw hard conclusions for the reader. He relies upon the selective inclusion and omission of facts to force the reader to draw his own conclusions. For example, when discussing the use of the atomic bombs, he mentions that the invasion of Japan was scheduled for April, 1946, implying that the United States had ample time to blockade Japan into submission. He does not mention that the invasion of Kyushu was scheduled for November 1945. The Battle for Okinawa would have paled in comparison. He also states that Okinawa remains a U.S. zone of extraterritoriality. He does not mention that U.S. occupation formally ended in 1973 and that the U.S. military has significantly reformed its cooperation with Okinawan civil authorities to include giving Japanese courts jurisdiction over cases involving U.S. servicemembers. His representations are likely to be believed by people with a shallow knowledge of the region, especially during World War II, with an inclination to blame America first for all the world's ills. Unfortunately, his implications are not firmly based in fact or presented in a coherent manner which seriously impacts the scholarly usefulness of the entire book.
The title promises much. However the majority (95%) of the book could be written on the computer by an amateur historian in 5 days. And that's without much research. With regard to wartime China there is little beyond Tuchman's book about Stilwell. There seems to be sparse insight about American imperialism. World War II books are popular now but they should present scholarly research or new syntheses. There are also annoying editing errors.