The Battle for Japan, 1944-45Book - 2008
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This book casts an unflinching eye upon the endgame played out in the late stages of the Pacific theater in World War II between Japan and the Allies. Hastings issues a well-balanced examination of the struggle between the faltering Japanese infrastructure and the relentless Allied progress across the Pacific including the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Burma, and Okinawa. Going beyond the opaque descriptions of battles and strategies, Hastings uses the letters and personal accounts of people involved in these catastrophic and world-altering events. Through these perspectives, it is possible to see the impact of American firebombing campaign had on Japanese civilians, the ordeals encountered by Allied prisoners of war in Japanese internment camps, the plight of the Marines pinned down on Okinawa, and the sadness faced by a commanding officer of a squadron of kamikazes, among many others. This was listed as a Notable Book of 2008 by the New York Times, and I certainly agree that it is a worthwhile read for both those who are new to the history of World War II as well as for hardened veterans of the genre.
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