It’s often said, “history is written by the victors,” and this only half true. While the narrative of World War II is definitely constructed from the Allied lens, this does not mean that the vanquished were unable to tell their stories. German officers and soldiers pumped out volumes of memoirs during the postwar years, many of which were consumed voraciously by readers in America and Britain. Japanese memoirs were more sparse, at least regarding translations that made it to the West. One notable exception was Masanobu Tsuji’s memoir Japan’s Greatest Victory, Britain’s Worst Defeat.
Japanese Destroyer Captain is the postwar memoir of Tameichi Hara, a Japanese Navy officer who earned the nickname the “Miracle Captain.” He is one of the only Japanese captains to have survived the entire Pacific War from its beginning in 1941 to its end in 1945. Of the 175 destroyers the Imperial Navy possessed during World War II, 129 were sunk.
World War II has been cemented of the national consciousness as a “good war” in the Allied nations – America, Britain, Russia – for decades now. However, the fourth major partner of the Allies – China – has only recently embraced this narrative and until fairly recently, even downplayed its importance. This shift is the crux of Rana Mitter’s new book China Good War. [Read more…] about China’s Good War by Rana Mitter Review
In 1943, Paris groans under the heel of the German occupier. After an intense chase, several French Resistance agents are captured by the SS, two of whom are the wife and daughter of Harry Mitchell, a British cryptographer. So begins Night Flight to Paris, a World War II thriller by David Gilman.
The years of 1931-32 were a turning point in Japanese history, typified by military coups, invasions, and political assassinations. Although this era only gets a few sentences in English language history books, the specific details of three events – the October Incident, the Blood Brotherhood Incident, and the 5-15 Incident – are fascinating in their own right and read like a thriller novel. I’ve taken information from various sources to create a thoroughly researched and detailed account of these events that changed the course of Japan.
Eye of the Red Tsar by Sam Eastland is a historical mystery set in 1929, during the early days of Stalinist Russia. The first of the Inspector Pekkala series, it shines a light on an often-overlooked period, when the USSR was a strange international pariah, rather than the Red Menace of the Cold War.
Japanese cinema has never gained widespread acceptance in the West, save for Godzilla and Kurosawa films. But those are only a tiny pinprick of Japanese films, which cover all genres, including war. Aside from Tora Tora Tora and Letter From Iwo Jima, there haven’t been many movies that show war from a Japanese perspective that have gained traction in the West. I’d like to change that with 5 Japanese war movie recommendations.
Weimar Germany has always held a special place in my imagination, as it has so many elements I find interesting in history and fiction. A weak moderate government, torn between the extreme Left and Right, the constant threat of a military coup, and a seedy underbelly where vice, crime, and corruption scurry, all the byproducts of a failing society. [Read more…] about Babylon Berlin & Weimar Republic Fiction