OCCUPATION by John Toland

OCCUPATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The McGlynn and Toda families, first seen in Gods of War (1985), reappear in Toland's fictional treatment of the years following the surrender of the Japanese. Such action as there is in this heavily researched effort shifts from the battleground to the courtroom where the victorious Americans are trying the Japanese political and military leadership for war crimes and atrocities. Professor Frank McGlynn is prevailed upon by the Truman Administration to return to Japan to advise General Douglas MacArthur on how best to handle the rebuilding of Japanese society. McGlynn's the right man for the job. He's a historian who has taught in Japan; his older daughter even married a Japanese; and his three other children are either in Japan or on the way. Older son Will, a lawyer and onetime prisoner of the Japanese, has been enlisted as a prosecutor. Son Mark, still in Marine uniform, is a Military Policeman Daughter Maggie is a war correspondent assigned to Japan, and daughter Floss, now a widow, never left the islands. So the McGlynns are very much in the thick of things. Prof. Frank gets MacArthur's ear early on, since he talks good plain sense. And after hours he gets to frolic with the lovely Mariko Tajima, a widow whose son is flirting heavily with the communists. The cast is rounded out by Chancy Snow, a spunky and attractive lawyer hired by the Americans to defend the Japanese criminals, including former Prime Minister Tojo. Occupation sees the McGlynns all the way from the end of the war to the end of the trials, a period covering several years. Historical figures from Hirohito to George Marshall pop up throughout. Fiction is not Toland's forte. The McGlynns and their friends are stereotypes, and their romances and thoughts tend to be tiresome. But, fortunately, there is enough fascinating fact most of the time to overcome the pallid storyline, and anyone the least bit interested in modern Japan should find this novel bearable.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1987
Publisher: Doubleday