4.0 von 5 Sternen Better to say it is excellent coverage of Tokyo & Occupatio
As a company commander in far SW Honshu and Kyushu I would say Prof. Dower's scholarly work widely missed the mark when he attempted to discuss the life of the Army man in Japan. Occupation life in Tokyo and the rest of Japan were entirely different. Dower makes it sound very cushy. He has a photo of a Chief Petty Officer in Tokyo sitting down with his wife and...
Veröffentlicht am 21. Juni 1999 von HARL KOCH
3.0 von 5 Sternen A Great and Informative Read at Times
The beginning of this book is great. It provides a very readable and informative look at the state of Japan at the beginning of the US occupation at the end of WWII. However, later in the book I feel it drags too much and tries to present too much information. So, while I enjoyed the first 300 pages very much I did not like the 2nd half. The author I feel is also a...
Veröffentlicht am 23. Januar 2000 von Crossfit Len
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Better to say it is excellent coverage of Tokyo & Occupatio,
As a company commander in far SW Honshu and Kyushu I would say Prof. Dower's scholarly work widely missed the mark when he attempted to discuss the life of the Army man in Japan. Occupation life in Tokyo and the rest of Japan were entirely different. Dower makes it sound very cushy. He has a photo of a Chief Petty Officer in Tokyo sitting down with his wife and children at family dinner. The Chief has on his full uniform, the children are scrubbed and brushed, the boys wear neckties and behind them are two Japanese maids in kimono and obi. As an officer commanding 200 men, I had no maid, our messhall had no maids, meals were served cafeteria style. Our enlisted men were pampered by Japanese who served as KPs. Instead of peeling potatoes, my men and officers were entirely free to perform training and reconnaissance missions. In that part of Japan I never saw homeless people squatted on the sidewalks, I never saw people who looked starved or in rags, I never saw the labor unions demonstrating. My company lived in the country 40 miles from division headquarters. There were no bowling alleys, there were no movies. We did have an E.M. club with slot machines and on occasion we used those profits to hire a Japanese show, a magician, a very unsophisticated musical with dancers. In a small nearby town in Shimane Ken there was as best described, a Japanese beer joint; this place had no girls but it did have a Wurlitzer juke box and served very cold, excellent Japanese beer that we paid for. After I was in Japan almost a year I was allowed a vacation to Tokyo and to see friends in Sendai. Tokyo was like a different world. There was the Ernie Pyle Theater, there was traffic, the Ginza was exciting but it in no way compared to the little town with railroad station located 4 miles from our isolated camp. Sendai was 10 times larger than our town but with little to offer for entertainment. So, in my view, the professor's reporting of the Occupation Forces was clearly distorted unless you lived in Tokyo. His reporting on politics and personalities in Tokyo was well researched but Tokyo was NOT the occupation. Harlan G. Koch
4.0 von 5 Sternen The best years of our lives from the other side of the ocean,
Von Ein Kunde
"Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II" has been filling my all to few idle moments. The first 250 pages were compelling and overwhelming. In one book is revealed the Japan Sakai Saburo returned to and the depth of detail possible only in printed format. This book can be enjoyed for both its subject and the exquisite detail in which John Dower renders the portrait of post war Japan. Actually its a motion picture as he covers the full period of the occupation. The perspective is (so far) is purely Japanese and man in the street Japanese at that. This is social history done like it should be, must be if it is to be at all useful and enlightening.
No long discourses on the role of the occupation authorities, but lots of interesting revelations on how the Japanese decipher and responded to the demands and requirements of the victors. That aspect of Japanese character that seems to want to take its lead from outside cultures, almost a mimicry, is explored in the adoption of democracy from above and yet it's given the curiously Japanese twists that align the new with old traditions.
The failure to understand the amount of suffering is explored as well. Well that's not completely right. Apparently much of Japanese society understood the horrible things their army and navy did. Yet this understanding lacks an outlet in a culture without a tradition of helping others especially strangers. Submerged in a sense of their own victim hood they failed to respond to the pasts aggressions and are still marked by that today.
The Level of detail is at times too much, almost Lundstromesque. There is a lot to be learned about this culture in this book - literature, economics (black and otherwise), sociology, radio, culture in turmoil that ties the future to some parts of the past, even race relations it's all in here. If there is a blueprint for how the world would react to a benign alien occupation this is it.
Some of the points are developed very subtly. The failure (in western eyes) to respond positively to the suffering they caused in other countries and the development of their own victim hood is built up slowly over several sections. It may be treated more forcefuly in a chapter not yet read. The biggest disappointment is the next to last "What do you tell the dead when you lose?" but to be frank I'm not sure why. Perhaps I've hoped for one chapter that would delve into a detailed Japanese reconstruction of what went wrong with the war. Maybe they just never did that?
What I find myself longing for now is a companion volume that will bridge the gap from the Japan of 1950 to the Japan of today. That society has undergone some considerable change (more slowly this time) since the end of the occupation, it's dangerous to extrapolate from the end of this amazing book.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Solid treatment of a critical historical period,
This book is essential reading for those interested in the history of Japan as well as for those with an interest in how Japanese society came to be what it is today. While I am not qualified to comment on its historical scholarship, it certainly seemed very solid to me - the author's documentation is thorough and impressive and his treatment is painstaking and precise. It certainly rings true.
However, my sense was that the book started off as an excellent read and then began to drag somewhere after the first 200 pages. While I have no doubt that the latter half of the book is as accurate and important a history as the first half, it seemed to make for less compelling reading. The first third or so of the book concentrated primarily on the societal impact of the Japanese surrender and its immediate aftermath - and I found it absolutely fascinating. The latter portions of the book dealt more with political issues, including a very thorough treatment of how the occupying forces (i.e. the US under MacArthur) drafted and pushed through the new Japanese Constitution. Very interesting, but in my opinion not as compelling as the early material in the book.
In summary, if you are interested in the history of Japan and/or World War II this book has to be on your reading list. A very impressive piece of work.
5.0 von 5 Sternen A bold and authoritative view of the U.S. occupation.,
Embracing Defeat is an authoritatively researched and beautifully written account of the U.S. occupation of Japan by a leading specialist on World War II, Japan and the U.S.-Japan relationship. This is a work that pulls no punches. Like no earlier study, it brings to the fore the ironies and contradictions of the era and casts fresh light on several of the great political issues of the era: the making of Japan's postwar constitution, U.S.-Japan relations, the reconstruction of economy and society, the role of Japan in the making of the U.S. order in Asia, and the role of MacArthur. It also offers the first cultural history of the occupation.It is particularly valuable in bringing out Japanese contributions to shaping occupation outcomes. Embracing Defeat is a pleasure to read.Dower takes the reader on a tour that reveals ambiguity, irony, fallibility, vitality, dynamism, messianic fervor, theatre of the absurd, the world turned upside down, fall and redemption, flotsam and jetsam on a sea of self-indugence, cynical opportunism, top-to-bottom corruption, delicacy and degeneration, despondency and dreams, tragedy and farce, boggling fatuity, and carnival, to mention a few of the polarities that run through this beautifully written and astute volume.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Finally, a book of scholarly merit wins National Book Award,
I was so happy to find a book with actual scholarly merit win a national award. Usually the books picked out by these bodies are pathetic journalistic accounts without any structure ... with selections reflecting somebody's idea of what will "sell" to the masses rather than what will cast new light on historical events. This book casts a wonderful new light on postwar Japan. It dispels the stereotypical view Americans typically have today about the Japanese, and the superficial historical accounts about the McArthur reign in the late-1940s. This is a cultural history, rather than a straight political history, so it is unusual. It isn't the best read in every spot, but it is worth reading through to the end. I agree with some of the other reviewers that a few authors seem to be missing from the text, or possibly misinterpreted. But that's a very minor blemish on an otherwise excellently written & fascinating volume.
3.0 von 5 Sternen A Great and Informative Read at Times,
The beginning of this book is great. It provides a very readable and informative look at the state of Japan at the beginning of the US occupation at the end of WWII. However, later in the book I feel it drags too much and tries to present too much information. So, while I enjoyed the first 300 pages very much I did not like the 2nd half. The author I feel is also a little to sympathetic to the Japanese. Yes, Its reasonable to feel bad for all the displaced Japanese soldiers in Korea, China etc....but i the author i feel overlooks why those soldiers were there and what they did. Again, the book is well researched and at times brilliant. But I feel it is too long and at times just a bit too Pro-Japanese. I recommend after reading this book that you read the novel "The Emperors General."
4.0 von 5 Sternen Taught me much about Japanese culture,
I learned more about Japanese culture from "Embracing Defeat" than from any other book on Japan, and I've read many. Before, I thought the Japanese were very mysterious. Now I'm beginning to feel that they are pretty much like westerners. The "inscrutible Oriental" is a misconception dating to pre-WWII.
My only criticism of "Embracing Defeat" is that the author is strongly pro-Japanese and anti-American. Is it true that the American occupation forces were arrogant, power-hungry, and stupid? Was McArthur inept? I would like to think that the author exaggerated.
5.0 von 5 Sternen If you are interested in Japan, read this book,
The official reviews are right: this is a fabulous book about the American occupation of Japan. Dower's approach is thematic, not chronological, and he "slices through" the subject in many different ways, political, social, cultural, anecdotal. The pictures alone, starting with the cover photo of a Japanese village listening to the Emperor's surrender speech, are an education.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Hard to read through at once but very informative,
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (Taschenbuch)
Written very scholarly, may seem difficult to set a regular reading tempo for an average reader, yet perfect for the ones who are going to give the book a chance for academic purposes. On the other hand the book has a good deal of illustrations and photographs, content-wise very detailed and wisely compartmentalized and captures almost every single aspect of the after war Japan. Heavily recommended for everyone who is willing to catch a view of the land directly after WW2 and while governed by US occupation forces led by Gen. MacArthur.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Solid Historical Analysis,
Mr. Dower's discussions of the Japanese economy, culture and constitution are incredibly well done, easy to read, and educational. Parts of his discussions of censorship by occupation forces and the war crimes trials seem to drag and take on a strident tone. In all, it is an exceptional book.
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Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II von John W. Dower (Taschenbuch - 5. Juli 2000)
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