WARRIORS OF THE RISING SUN by Robert B. Edgerton

WARRIORS OF THE RISING SUN

A History of the Japanese Military
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An anthropologist's clear-eyed appreciation of how Japan's military--justly famed as a chivalrous ally and adversary in the Asiatic conflicts of the late 19th and early 20th centuries--became a bestial rabble-in-arms that committed unspeakable atrocities during WW II. Drawing largely on secondary sources, Edgerton (UCLA School of Medicine; The Fall of the Asante Empire, 1995, etc.) produces an engrossing narrative that traces the development of the island nation's armed forces from the Meiji Restoration to the present day. Having provided a brief rundown on the country's bushido/samurai tradition, he documents the accomplishments of Japan's modern army and navy in belligerencies ranging from the Sino-Japanese War of 189495 through the Boxer Rebellion, the savage Russo-Japanese War, and WW I (in which Japan was allied with western Europe). Along the way, the author provides vivid examples of the knightly way in which the emperor's warriors went about their grim business. Edgerton goes on to document the corrosive effect on Japan's military of America's racist immigration policies, the emergence of ultranationalist fanatics within the ruling class, and the economic pressures endured by an insular industrial power almost entirely lacking in natural resources. These and other factors, he argues, help explain the horrific barbarities Japan's brutal, fanatic soldiery committed against helpless civilians, POWs, and wounded foes throughout East Asia from the early 1930s through the harsh reckoning of V-J day. In the author's mind, however, the issue of whether the nation's self- defense force will evolve into a guarantor of the peace in its volatile region or revert to the unholy practices that resulted in WW II's unconditional surrender remains a very open question. An incisive account of a consequential state's use and abuse of military power. (photos and maps, not seen)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-393-04085-2
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1997




MORE BY ROBERT B. EDGERTON

NonfictionHIDDEN HEROISM by Robert B. Edgerton
by Robert B. Edgerton
NonfictionDEATH OR GLORY by Robert B. Edgerton
by Robert B. Edgerton
NonfictionTHE FALL OF THE ASANTE EMPIRE by Robert B. Edgerton
by Robert B. Edgerton

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