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Horror In The East [Kindle Edition]

Laurence Rees
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

The brutal Japanese treatment of allied prisoners of war, as well as countless thousands of Chinese civilians, during World War 2 has been well documented. Here Laurence Rees, award-winning historian and author of Auschwitz: The Nazis & The 'Final Solution' and World War II: Behind Closed Doors, turns his attention to a crucial but less understood factor of one of the most dramatic and important historical events of the 20th century: why were these atrocities carried out?

More than 70 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this incisive but accessible study examines shocking acts performed by Japanese soldiers, and asks why seemingly ordinary people were driven to mass murder, rape, suicide and even cannibalisation of the enemy. Uncovering personal accounts of the events, Horror in the East traces the shift in the Japanese national psyche - from the civil and reasoned treatment of captured German prisoners in World War 1 to the rejection of Western values and brutalization of the armed forces in the years that followed. In this insightful analysis, Rees probes the Japanese belief in their own racial superiority, and analyses a military that believed suicide to be more honourable than surrender.

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Amazon Review

You wouldn't necessarily want to live inside the head of Laurence Rees, author of Horror in the East, but you could well argue that its should be compulsory for everyone to spend at least a few hours in his company. Beginning with the brutality of the conflict between Japan and China in the 1930s and ending with the nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Horror in the East is a compelling account of the atrocities of war and, as with his sister volume The Nazis: A Warning from History, Rees has searched long and hard to find vivid and, at times mind-numbing, eyewitness accounts of man's inhumanity to man--not least from the recruits who were forced to kill restrained Chinese prisoners in bayonet practice.

For many popular historians, incidents such as the Rape of Nanking are simply labelled evil, thereby relieving them of the responsibility of thinking about what happened and trying to understand what motivates people to behave in such a way. Rees is too intelligent and fair-minded an historian for this; instead he explores how the Japanese army changed from a culture where prisoners of war were treated with civility and respect during the First World War to one where cruelty and barbarism ruled. Rees lays the blame squarely on the conformity demanded by the Emperor Hirohito and stresses that the Japanese army were often as brutal to their own as they were to their enemies. He also makes the point that revisionists tend to airbrush history to suit their own ends. Far more people died in the firebombing of Tokyo than died in either of the nuclear attacks, but the stain of Tokyo has long since been submerged under the more emotive mushroom clouds.

At the time Rees wrote Horror in the East, these attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were among the most powerful images of war in the world's history; already they have been superseded by the footage of the September 11, 2001 strikes on the World Trade Center in New York City. At times like these, when the need for objectivity and fair mindedness is at a premium, historians, such as Rees, are like gold dust. --John Crace

Book Description

Laurence Rees' cutting insight into the reasons behind Japanese brutality in the Pacific during WW2.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2403 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Digital (31 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007W1BT8W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #74,348 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Laurence Rees has won the British Book Award for History Book of the Year 2006 for his international bestseller Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'. His career as a writer and filmmaker, focusing on the Nazis and World War II, stretches back nearly 20 years and includes the acclaimed television series Nazis: A Warning from History, War of the Century, Horror in the East and, most recently, Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution'. The body of work has won him a myriad of awards including a BAFTA. a Grierson Award and an international Documentary Award. He was educated at Solihull School and Oxford University and is Creative Director of BBC TV History programmes.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book 19 Jan. 2009
Laurence Rees has produced a number of books (as well as accompanying documentaries) covering the atrocities and brutalities of the Second World War. Horror in the East is the last in a trilogy of books (starting with 'The Nazis: A Warning from History) which covers the war crimes of the Axis Powers between 1931 and 1945.

I have yet to read Laurence Rees other books, so this works well as a stand alone. While Rees's other works cover the well known war crimes of the European fascists; in this book he turns his eye to the relativily little known acts of mass murder by the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Holocaust, and names such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen are rightfully well known to almost everyone, but if you were to mention the Rape of Nanking or Unit 731 to most Europeans, they would probably stare at you blankly.
As such, this book is an important work that brings to light the atrocities of the Japanese Army - atrocities every bit as disgracefully cruel as those committed by the Nazis.

This book is by no means a scholarly academic work. Instead it's meant to appeal to the layperson, and as a result it's written simply, (but eruditely and with a lot of compassion) and is rather short at 155 pages.
The book is divided into five chapters that cover the rise of Japanese Militarism under Emperor Hirohito in 1931, to the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Along the way, Rees covers such topics as the mass murder and rape committed against Chinese civilians, the Rape of Nanking (the most brutal act of the war), the human experimentation and biological warfare carried out by Unit 731, the cruel treatment of Allied POWs, the forced rape of 'comfort women', and even acts of cannibalism.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Rees succeeds brilliantly in analysing and explaining why Japanese soldiers behaved as they did from the very beginning when they occupied China and committed war crimes on a scale that rivals those of the Nazis or, more recently for example those committed in Rwanda. He gives the reader a detailed insight into Japanese mentality, the social structure (to some extent still unchanged) and tries to get behind who was really in command in Japan at that time: the Japanese Officers or Hirohito. If you read "The Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang (which I also recommend), by reading this book, you will know why it could happen. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars River of Blood 17 Feb. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't begin to explain just what an emotional rollercoaster this book took me on, from the very first page to the last I could not put it down. I admit to having been very naive about the Pacific Theatre of War, I used to merely think it was just the Americans easily beating the Japanese. This book has truly opened my eyes to the full horror both sides faced.

Starting with the build up of the Imperial Japanese army and their turning against the West due to their perceived hypocrisy of western nations then moving into their war against China, believing them to be sub-human. Reading about the Rape of Nanking was one of the hardest things I've ever read, I had little idea just how brutal the Japanese were towards the Chinese.

Then moving on we see the Japanese enter world war 2 on the side of the axis powers after the bombing of pearl harbour. It's the ferocity of how they fought which caught me off guard, being prepared to fight to the death due to their training and being led to believe that Emperor Hirohito was a living god. As a result of this their soldiers followed a path called 'death before surrender', which in turn led to the infamous kamikaze.

The Japanese were searching for one victory which would allow them some bargaining power at the negotiating table. Even though all was seemingly lost their stubborn refusal to surrender led to many more deaths than there ever needed to be. The firebombing of Tokyo in particular I found very distressing to read. And then of course is the use of two Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Only then did the Japanese finally see sense.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential read regarding the Japanese War 21 Mar. 2009
This book is a must for anybody interested in Japan or Japans part in the second world war.

Like The Rape of Nanking by Iris chang it delves into what horrible acts the japanese took part it, but unlike Iris Changs book it takes more time to explain why. And to me this was the important factor that allowed this book to stand out so well.
It takes a refreshing non biased look at why the japanese war happened as well as how the Japanese committed the acts that they did. Taking into account all parties involved. The West, China and Japan.

This book is written in a very simplistic manner while at the same time delivering all the needed points in detail. This made it an extreamly good read, allowing the reader to not just read about but feel as though they are standing with the soldiers and people involved in the war.
Due to the ease of reading it also makes this book last a very short time and a quick read, though at the same time is definately a book you will want to read again.

Reading this has pushed me into buy more work by Laurence Rees.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars well written, informative and well presented
Compelling account of the mind-set and motivations behind some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century in the far east, predominately in China and Korea. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lee09
5.0 out of 5 stars The book is in very good condition. No damage at all
The book is in very good condition. No damage at all. Delivery was within the date limit. I'm very satisfied!
Published 1 month ago by Eduard R. Baaij
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking read.
Man's inhumanity to man! A brave attempt to explain what leads seemingly normal citizens to commit atrocities to their 'enemies'! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gartmorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrowing account of the tragedy of the British and other ...
Arrowing account of the tragedy of the British and other prisoners of war that lost their lifes due to the cruelty inflictedby the Japanese
Published 2 months ago by Nello Mauri
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading on Japanese Brutality and Cruelty in World War 2 and...
This is an important and well written account of the brutality of Japanese soldiers towards allied prisoners of war and civilians in World War 2 and China. Read more
Published 4 months ago by clive stocks
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Book in excellent condition
Published 5 months ago by s harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars A very important book
Really quite an excellent book, I am surprised it is not more well known. The book documents the way the Japanese were behaving at the height of the WWII in the Far East, an often... Read more
Published 7 months ago by gadgetguy
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very strong read
Published 9 months ago by John welsh
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Sorry - can't review - book was a present for a relative
Published 9 months ago by Mr. Michael Bennett
4.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful look into what happened in the far east during world...
Would recommend to anybody who wanted to know why these countries acted the way they did,history is a lesson learned
Published 10 months ago by nick forrest
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