‘A monumental achievement…compassionate but unsparing in its judgements.’ Sunday Times
‘An outstandingly gripping and authoritative account of the battle for Japan, and a monument to human bravery and savagery.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Absolutely excellent.’ John Simpson, Observer
‘Magisterial…it is truly cathartic to reach the end of the Second World War in Hastings’s company.’ The Times
‘Brilliantly though Hastings lays out the strategic context, his real talent lies in his account of the “terrible human experience” that it involved…This is a book for anyone who wants to understand what happened in half the world during one of the bloodiest periods of the blood-soaked 20th century.’ Spectator
‘Spectacular…Hastings makes important points about the war in the East that have been all too rarely heard…excellent…compelling…searingly powerful.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘As Hastings brilliantly describes, conditions for fighting men on both sides were appalling…the fire-bombing of Tokyo and the decision to drop the atomic bombs were influenced by the urge to 'get this business over with', but the argument, as Hastings explains so well with his usual exemplary judgement, is far more complex.’ Financial Times
From the Inside Flap
In 1944-45, the war against Japan embraced the most remarkable cast of statesmen and commanders the world has ever seen: Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin; Nimitz, MacArthur, Mountbatten, Slim, LeMay; Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong. The drama which ended in Japan's utter defeat was acted out across the vast stage of Asia. Battles by land, sea and air extended over millions of square miles: Imphal and Kohima, Leyte Gulf and Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the B-29 fire-bombing offensive against Japan's cities, the great Soviet assault on Manchuria.
Max Hastings has written Nemesis as a counterpart to Armageddon, his bestselling saga of the 1944-45 struggle for Germany. Once again, he matches the story of command decisions, rivalries and follies with the experiences of British, American, Russian, Chinese and Japanese soldiers, sailors and airmen, fighting some of the bloodiest campaigns of the war amid heat, disease, privation and against a merciless enemy. He has interviewed extensively in Asia to tell the story of China's war, which cost at least fifteen million lives yet is almost unknown in the West. Modern China's bitterness towards Japan is rooted in the horrors which Hirohito's armies inflicted on the Chinese people between 1931 and 1945.
With the aid of scores of eyewitness accounts, Hastings portrays the Russian onslaught of August 1945, in which Stalin launched 1.5 million men against the Japanese, to gain the territorial booty promised to him at Yalta. The book describes Slim's brilliant 1945 campaign in Burma, which Churchill never wanted to fight. The British and Indian armies achieved a sunset victory for the Empire - but one their commanders knew could contribute nothing to Japan's defeat.
Australia's soldiers earned much more glory in the early war years - yet almost vanished from the battlefield in 1944-45, because of their country's bitter internal dissensions, and MacArthur's refusal to concede them a real role in America's showdown with Japan. Hastings analyses the decision-making which precipitated the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and concludes that the dropping of the atomic bomb saved many lives.
Here are word-portraits of the ordeals of American sailors in the great sea battles which destroyed the Japanese Imperial Navy, alongside tales of communist Chinese guerrillas, Japanese fighter pilots, British soldiers sweating in the jungles of Burma, Tokyo families facing incineration by firestorm. Nemesis weaves together in brilliant fashion the complex strands of an epic which stretched across a continent and many nations, in three dimensions, embracing some of the most terrible human experiences of the twentieth century.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.