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China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival
 
 

China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival [Kindle Edition]

Rana Mitter
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

A major contribution to the one aspect of the Second World War of which we know far too little, and should know much more if we are to understand the new superpower today ... a model of clarity and good writing (Antony Beevor The Times)

Essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about the sacrifices made by the Chinese and the Poles as a contribution to victory (Richard Overy New Statesman BOOKS OF THE YEAR)

A riveting account of a seldom-studied theatre of the Second World War, that has profound significance for international diplomacy today (Dan Jones Telegraph BOOKS OF THE YEAR)

Restores a vital part of the wartime narrative to its rightful place ... a remarkable story, told with humanity and intelligence; all historians of the second world war will be in Mitter's debt ... [he] explores this complex politics with remarkable clarity and economy ... No one could ask for a better guide than Mitter to how [the rise of modern China] began in the cauldron of the Chinese war (Richard Overy Guardian)

The best study of China's war with Japan written in any language ... comprehensive, thoroughly based on research, and totally non-partisan. Above all, the book presents a moving account of the Chinese people's incredible suffering ... A must read for anyone interested in the origins of China's contribution to the making of today's world (Akira Iriye)

Brilliant ... makes an important and moving contribution to the historical record by illuminating the largely forgotten war that took the lives of millions of Chinese, yet ultimately facilitated the rise of modern China (Dr Henry A. Kissinger)

To understand East Asia's present and future, you have to understand its experiences in the Second World War. Mitter's elegant, rigorous and balanced account is an ideal guide to traumas that continue to cast a long shadow over the region (Julia Lovell Telegraph)

Illuminating and meticulously researched ... [China's War with Japan] is about the Chinese experience of war, the origins of the modern Chinese identity and the roots of a relationship that will shape Asia in the 21st century. It is about China's existential crisis as it tried to regain its centrality in Asia. It is also a story, pure and simple, of heroic resistance against massive odds (Economist)

Mitter deftly sketches the plight of Chinese intellectuals ... This is a many-stranded story and the author keeps his focus on the big picture while including many convincing, often horrific, details ... [this] is the best narrative of that long-ago war, whose effects still linger in China today, with Japan the major hate figure (Jonathan Mirsky Spectator)

Deserves to be read by anyone interested in China, World War II and the future of China's relations with the rest of the world ... Mitter masterfully constructs these interlocking stories of battles, famines, massacres, diplomacy and intrigue. He sprinkles his narrative with foot soldiers, missionaries, journalists and teachers, showing how the war affected all levels of society throughout China ... excellent ... groundbreaking (John Pomfret Washington Post)

This is a story told mainly from the Chinese perspective, in all its horror. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Mitter pulls together a rich and complex narrative without losing the drama of China's fight for survival and the individuals who played a part in it ... lively [and] comprehensive (Prospect)

Lucid prose, forceful argument ... Mitter's strength lies in telling a compelling, comprehensive story that helps us understand China better, particularly at a time when it looms large on the global stage ... [he] reminds us of the 'tragic, titanic struggle' that the country waged ... For those willing to understand China better, this is a book that should not be ignored (Outlook, New Delhi)

Mitter deftly sketches the plight of Chinese intellectuals, who wondered where to place their loyalties, and were persecuted if they chose the Communist side ... This is a many-stranded story and the author keeps his focus on the big picture while including many convincing, often horrific, details ... his is the best narrative of that long-ago war, whose effects still linger in China today (Jonathan Mirsky The Asian Age)

A splendid account (Business Standard)

Mitter's stress on the contingent nature of China's path to modernization is significant (International Affairs)

The Chinese part of the Second World War is too often forgotten in the West - this fine book goes far towards remedying that amnesia (Nigel Jones Sunday Telegraph)

Product Description

In Rana Mitter's tense, moving and hugely important book, the war between China and Japan - one of the most important struggles of the Second World War - at last gets the masterly history it deserves



Different countries give different opening dates for the period of the Second World War, but perhaps the most compelling is 1937, when the 'Marco Polo Bridge Incident' plunged China and Japan into a conflict of extraordinary duration and ferocity - a war which would result in many millions of deaths and completely reshape East Asia in ways which we continue to confront today.



With great vividness and narrative drive Rana Mitter's new book draws on a huge range of new sources to recreate this terrible conflict. He writes both about the major leaders (Chiang Kaishek, Mao Zedong and Wang Jingwei) and about the ordinary people swept up by terrible times. Mitter puts at the heart of our understanding of the Second World War that it was Japan's failure to defeat China which was the key dynamic for what happened in Asia.



Reviews:



'A remarkable story, told with humanity and intelligence; all historians of the second world war will be in Mitter's debt ... [he] explores this complex politics with remarkable clarity and economy ... No one could ask for a better guide than Mitter to how [the rise of modern China] began in the cauldron of the Chinese war' Richard Overy, Guardian



'Rana Mitter's history of the Sino-Japanese War is not only a very important book, it also has a wonderful clarity of thought and prose which make it a pleasure to read' Antony Beevor



'The best study of China's war with Japan written in any language ... comprehensive, thoroughly based on research, and totally non-partisan. Above all, the book presents a moving account of the Chinese people's incredible suffering ... A must read for anyone interested in the origins of China's contribution to the making of today's world' Akira Iriye



About the author:



Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College. He is the author of A Bitter Revolution: China's Struggle with the Modern World. He is a regular presenter of Night Waves on Radio 3.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 17481 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (27 Jun 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AZRDP32
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,974 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars China's War 27 Jun 2013
By Withnail67 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This fine and important book is a vital corrective to the Eurocentric view that the Second World War began on the 1st September 1939; the global clash with totalitarianism was already well under way, and was centred in China.

To many general Western readers, the war to resist Japanese aggression in China has shrunk to a backdrop for films and novels such as Empire of the Sun and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. This superficial view belies the enormous scale of clash between China and Imperial Japan which is the focus of this book. War caused 14 million deaths between 1937 - 1945, and set stage for the Civil War and eventual Communist takeover of 1949. Current tensions between the two former combatants track back to this period, still a powerful source of on-going tension and polarisation.

Despite a limitless capacity for retelling and reappraising WW2, the clash between these two gigantic Asian powers is poorly understood in the West, but was seen at the time by figures as diverse as WH Auden and Robert Capa as a central battleground in the opposition to fascism, and as important as the parallel conflict in Spain.

Mitter tells a vast story with deceptive ease and control. He is surefooted on the central role of three key men: Chiang Kaishek, Mao Zedong, and Wang Jingwei, the latter a complex figure tainted by collaboration. While the range of personalities in the book is richly portrayed, the reader is drawn back to this key trio who embody the three way struggle between Communist, Nationalist and collaborationist engagement with the Japanese invader. The book is effective, lucid and fluent, providing a balanced account of controversial events such as the chilling fall of Nanjing.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The neglected China-Japan War 1937-1945 7 Aug 2013
By Brian R. Martin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The war between China and Japan started two years before the war in Europe, and at its close in 1945 the number of Chinese losses were similar to those of Russia, dwarfing the losses of the western allies. But although there are numerous books at all levels on the war in Europe, the China-Japan war has been largely neglected. This book is an attempt to partially redress the balance and tells the story of the war from the Chinese perspective.

It starts with a brief history of China, concentrating on the role of the western powers and their exploitation of China for commercial purposes. Japan already had a military presence on the Chinese mainland in 1937, and the main narrative starts with a minor clash between Chinese and Japanese soldiers at the Marco Polo Bridge in the small village of Wanping. Chiang Kai-shek chose this incident to declare war on Japan, but it was an ill-judged decision, because his nationalist army was no match for the experienced Japanese troops. The result was a series of retreats and the loss of much territory, including the cities of Shanghai and Nanjing. The behavior of the Japanese troops in taking the latter city was the atrocity known in the West as the `Rape of Nanking', which even now is a source of friction between the two countries. Chiang Kai-shek's failings were not helped by the behaviour of the numerous warlords with their personal armies and the treachery of some of his colleagues, principally Wang Lingwei, who eventually defected and set up a rival government collaborating with the Japanese.

There followed a long drawn-out conventional war between Chiang Kai-shek forces, based in Chongqing, and the Japanese, where many mistakes were made, both militarily and socially.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars China's war with Japan 22 Jan 2014
By Clem Fandango VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Author,Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Cross College. As the author of A Bitter Revolution: China's Struggle with the Modern World, he is more than well qualified to write a compelling updated history of a bloody chapter in Sino/Japan relations. The war with Japan which preceded Mao's Communist forces taking control of the country,was a brutal war,the history of which has essentially been buried beneath the overwhelming WW2 narrative. However,the incredible suffering that Chinese people experienced at the hands of the Japanese goes a long way to explaining their isolationist stance within the modern world.
Author Mitter offers a highly readable and objective account of the campaign which will be enjoyed by those wishing to learn more about, what is in the West,a largely hidden war.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tears From History 25 Dec 2013
By Old Timer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Before starting this book I already knew that WWII really started in 1937, but the sheer scale of the tragic three-way struggle between Nationalist Chinese, Communist Chinese, and Japanese forces was not really apparent to me.

Author Rana Mitter recounts the story, and I warn you it's a horror story, in a very readable way. He is a heavy-duty academic, an Oxford professor of history and politics, but his writing flows with the ease of an accomplished novelist, not with the dusty dryness that might be associated with such a learned figure. I can say with certainty that unless the Sino-Japanese war has been a specialist subject of yours you will learn much from China's War With Japan, and also that you will be shocked and disturbed. History in detail always is shocking and disturbing, which is precisely why it is worth engaging with.

You are the type of person who would appreciate this book, that's why you're considering it. Take it from me that you'll find it very worthwhile indeed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great review of this poorly recognized part of history fraught with emotional warping on both sides of the conflict
Published 2 months ago by Pete
2.0 out of 5 stars Could be better - but worth considering due to the dearth of good...
Basically sound - but it feels more like a polemic against the west's unwarranted interference in Chinese affairs than a real examination of the War of Resistance (Sino Japanese... Read more
Published 3 months ago by John M. Bannerman
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Very informative.
Published 3 months ago by j m mchugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
Only about 25% through the book, but easy to read and follow and has opened up a whole new perspective on China for me.
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book
This is a story that needs to be known and is rarely dealt with in books on World War II. The author has managed to tell the story in a way that relates the Chinese history of war... Read more
Published 7 months ago by GIEL
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read but not all in a big rush
Already know a fair amount about this topic, but Rana Mitter focuses in equal measure on military events and internal Chinese politics, so plenty of new material on offer. Read more
Published 7 months ago by the definitive reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars A war (almost) written out of Western history
In this book Professor Rana Mitter gives a detailed, incisive and extremely readable account of the events that shaped the global superpower that is today's China. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Terry D
4.0 out of 5 stars In depth history
Very incisive . Must be the definitive history of a little known war ( to europeans ). Not an easy read but engrossing history.
Published 9 months ago by Lisa Drage
5.0 out of 5 stars Lasting memories.
Well presented, and also informative about a relationship we in the west find intriguing but sad with its present day consequences.
Published 9 months ago by Alan Gowland
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
A fascinating and thorough background into a topic that is often talked about but is rarely presented in such detail. Well worth getting this.
Published 10 months ago by Kris
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