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Japan at War: An Oral History

This work of oral history captures the remarkable story of ordinary Japanese people during World War II. Haruko Taya and Theodore Cook take readers from the Japanese attacks on China in the 1930s to the Japanese homefront during the inhuman raids on Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, offering glimpses of how this century's most violent conflict affected the lives of the Japanese population. "Japan at War" documents a huge range of experiences. In constructing this oral history, the authors encountered every form of human response: those who held to their principles, and those who gave in to opportunism, those who controlled events, and the majority who were powerless. Soldiers and sailors caught in the jungles of New Guinea and on the seas around the Philippines; unrepentent generals, as well as conscripts whose political or intellectual training made them unwilling participants in the horrors wrought by their country; Japanese newspapermen, film-makers, artists, cabaret dancers and diplomats: all speak candidly about their wartime experiences, adding a whole new dimension to our understanding of what the war actually meant to the Japanese people and transcending all the stereotypes of kamikaze pilots and human torpedoes.
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About the Author

Haruko Taya Cook is Fordham Marymount Professor Emerita in history at Marymount College of Fordham University. She lives in New York City. Theodore F. Cook is a professor of Japanese history at William Paterson University. He lives in New York City.


"One of the essential books about World War II." -The Philadelphia Inquirer "The stories recorded in Japan at War provide insight into the confounding complexity of extreme human behavior during the war." -San Francisco Chronicle "Hereafter no one will be able to think, write, or teach about the Pacific War without reference to [the Cooks'] work." —Marius B. Jansen, Princeton University "Oral history of a compellingly high order." -Kirkus Reviews "Informed, nuanced, manysided, vivid--an impressive achievement." —Ezra F. Vogel, Harvard University

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