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Leonard Mosley, who recently drew an admiring portrait of Hailie Selassie (p. 1190, 1965) here presents a sympathetic one of Hirohito, ""a gentle, introvert, scholarly and civilized man of peace who found himself emperor of a nation bent on war and conquest."" A great deal of his book is devoted to the internal politics of Japan as they affected the role of the emperor and the fate of the nation, and the focus often shifts from the story of Hirohito in person to that of the warring figures and the factors they represented. In so doing, Leonard Mosley traces the path Japan has taken in the past sixty years. Hirohito was dedicated to his nation by training and task from birth, but the actual power commanded by him appears to have been minimal. He countered war moves with a poem on peace and elsewhere proved less than effectual in making his will felt; he also appears to have had a proclivity for placing in positions of trust men who would not pursue his aims (whether by intention or inertia). However, the sympathetic Mosley does credit him with efforts to bring the war to a close in July 1945 before the U.S. resorted to the atomic bomb and the U.S.S.R. came into the war. He has demonstrated since surrender that ""to lose everything is not necessarily to lose face."" To tell this story, the author has interviewed associates of the Imperial Family and had recourse to the National Archives in Washington... Mosely has been faulted in earlier books for his loose use of source materials and he is not always conclusive here. The book raises as many questions as it answers and is more of a presentation of the political scene than the man.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1966
Publisher: Prentice-Hall