Told from both Japanese and American perspectives, this thrilling account of the final weeks of World War II in the Pacific has been heralded by the New York Times Book Review as "virtually faultless".
By midsummer 1945, Japan had long since lost the war in the Pacific. The people were not told the truth, and neither was the emperor. Japanese generals, admirals, and statesmen knew, but only a handful of leaders were willing to accept defeat. Most were bent on fighting the Allies until the last Japanese soldier died and the last city burned to the ground.
Exhaustively researched and vividly told, The Fall of Japan masterfully chronicles the dramatic events that brought an end to the Pacific War and forced a once-mighty military nation to surrender unconditionally. From the ferocious fighting on Okinawa to the all-but-impossible mission to drop the second atom bomb, and from Franklin D. Roosevelt's White House to the Tokyo bunker where tearful Japanese leaders first told the emperor the truth, William Craig captures the pivotal events of the war with spellbinding authority. The Fall of Japan brings to life both celebrated and lesser-known historical figures, including Admiral Takijiro Onishi, the brash commander who drew up the Yamamoto plan for the attack on Pearl Harbor and inspired the death cult of kamikaze pilots. This astonishing account ranks alongside Cornelius Ryan's The Longest Day and John Toland's The Rising Sun as a masterpiece of World War II history.
©1967 William Craig; This edition published in 2015 by Open Road Integrated Media, Inc. (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
"Superbly written history"
I have seen a number of movies on the demise of the Japanese Empire and specifically its last days in August of 1945. One that was well received was ‘Japan’s Longest Day’ made in 1967. It was mesmerizing! Eventually, this led to me acquiring William Craig’s book written and published around the same time.
I feared that this would be a victor’s account of the crushed Empire but I was proven wrong. This is an amazing piece of writing that is well balanced and thoroughly accurate in its presentation. Many of the internal military and civil workings of the Japanese Empire, its high level meetings, decision processes and subsequent actions are thoroughly explained. The major players in the drama are introduced in humane terms whether they be Japanese adversaries or Allied commanders. The thoughts and actions of key players such as Prime Mister Suziki, War Minister Anami as well as many low-key subordinates are well observed and recorded. The book goes even further than I presumed by explaining the actual occupation and surrender terms of Japan. It also highlights key individuals who saw and participated in these momentous events.
The actual events leading to Emperor Hirohito’s final radio transmission admitting total capitulation is fascinating. We also glimpse the horrors of Okinawa, bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and their effect on the Emperor and the dovish cabinet wishing to end the war at all cost. But as we learn, the final broadcast itself was almost undone by junior military officers in a last minute coup attempt. There is Hollywood tension in this book.
If you are interested in WWII history as I am, this is must read/listen book. I also recommend ‘Japan 1942: Count Down to Infamy’ by Eri Hotta.
"One of the most chilling descriptions of the bombing of Japan"
Though it makes up only about half the book Craig's detailing of first the fire and then atomic bombing of Japan paints a vivid and horrific picture.
"The Definitive Story"
This is the most comprehensive book I've heard. The narration is great, he emphasizes what needs emphasis and delivers a fluid rendition. It is too bad the author did not write more than the two books I've heard on Audible. He lived early enough in history to interview participants and observers and his writing is artful. I'll listen again to these two books for sure.
"Great story; rather pro-Japanese slant"
Reads like a gripping novel. Well paced.
Anything by Corneluis Ryan.
When the American advance team stumble/crashes into Japan.
Even a rising sun must set.
I believe this book was written in the 1960s, and reflects some of the biases of the time. It downplays the extent of Japanese atrocities, and almost venerates Hirohito, All in all, a magnificent read though.
"Comprehensive overview of the Japanese end of war"
excellent use of Japanese information about the last days of. WWII. Excellent listen, Riveting listen. Great reader
"Learned a lot"
I consider myself reasonably knowledge about World War II but this book a detailed a lot of stuff that I didn't realize. for example, I generally thought that after the second atomic bomb dropped nearly everybody was in favor of surrendering, which was not the case. I also never really considered how the transition to surrender took place, unlike Germany they didn't go all the way to the capital; there were still Japanese troops, there was still POW camps. How did they get liberated, etc.
"Very good and well written"
This work is very relevant for today. I gives us insight into the psychology of war and the pitfall of ending conflicts.
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