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187 of 201 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive view of the collapse of Japan
Most accounts of the fall of Japan follow, understandably, the progress of the US across the Pacific, culminating in the invasions of the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and finally the cataclysmic events of August 1945. Hastings paints a much broader picture, following events in Burma, where the British Empire forces were engaged in a stunningly successful but ultimately...
Published on 4 Oct. 2007 by Pyers Symon

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3.0 out of 5 stars Nemesis By Max Hastings
Max Hastings clearly knows his stuff. Anyone who has read any of his books can tell this from the wealth of detail that he reels off and the confidence of his writing. However he has absolutely no idea how to organise and structure a book. Nemesis reads like a rambling conversation with some old professor, he wanders from subject to subject with no sense of purpose or...
Published 11 months ago by Neil Lennon


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4.0 out of 5 stars this is a well researched book providing a good read., 10 Aug. 2014
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As usual with Max Hastings, this is a well researched book providing a good read.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A broad study, 12 Aug. 2009
By 
A. J. Waters "AW" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the first work of History I have read by Max Hastings although I was aware of his good reputation.

'Nemesis' is a broad ranging study of the fall of Japan at the end of WW2. Hastings provides interesting and in depth analysis of major events and some overlooked ones.

He also devotes sections to specific facets of the conflict - submarine warfare (I found the submarine crew member describing the chains of mines scraping against the boat's hull particularly chilling), prisoners of war, US bombing campaign etc which are interesting. Many parts of this book make for difficult reading however due to the horrific nature of the subject matter.

This is a long and dense book but nonetheless a fascinating one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of the pacific theatre near its end, 1 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45 (Paperback)
If you like the other works of Hastings you'll like this. Its well written, with dramatic pacing and the author lays out his analysis and opinions clearly as well as fact the facts were. While its not detailed enough to be research materila - thats not its purpose. Its an analysis and overview of a historical time - not a record. As such it doesn't detail so much teh sources of info but focuses on the analysis of it in teh authors viewpoint. Dramatically this is quite satisfying and makes for a good meaty read.
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80 of 120 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not history, but rather slapdash journalism, 26 Feb. 2008
If you like your history personalised and trivialised, enjoy 'knocking copy' but are not much interested in facts nor concerned with accuracy, this is your book. Do not be bluffed by its bulk and the plethora of end-notes; it lacks a bibliography, making it impossible to decide which howlers stem from ignorance of sources and which from misusing them.
I bought 'Nemesis' because I learned that Hastings quotes from my uncle's book 'War Bush: 81 (West African) Division in Burma 1943-1945' by J.A.L.Hamilton (Norwich: Michael Russell, 2001) in his first chapter on the war in Burma. He quotes from it with acknowledgement four times, each time with one or more errors, and uses it in six more without acknowledgement. My uncle's book closes with the opinion of the Japanese Arakan army, that of the troops opposed to them for more than a year the Africans were 'undoubtedly (the Allies') best jungle fighters'. Hastings, who was not there, knows better: 'The War Office was seized by a belief that jungle warfare would suit Africans; this though most had never seen such terrain.' He backs this up by quoting a British general's views that 'The African has not a fighting history' and 'The African....cannot react quickly....due to an inherent....lack of intelligence', and considers it relevant to cite a Gurkha officer's report of his men gazing with awe, when snooping on Africans bathing, at the 'extravagant proportion of their black comrades' private parts', as if this titbit of schoolboy smut affected their performance as soldiers. It is typical that they are said to be West Africans, though in the Kabaw Valley, where 11 (East African) Division campaigned. He thinks there were only two African divisions, and only one from West Africa, which sent two, making three. He tries to belittle the share of British troops in the Burma fighting - 'only a fraction....two divisions....one in thirteen of the ground troops'. There were three, one broken up to form Chindit brigades, and in addition one-third of the infantry and half or more of the artillery in an 'Indian' division were British units. On numbers the British were 100,000 out of 605,000, almost one in six. He quotes figures without a source, and overestimates the Japanese killed in Burma after the invasion by subtracting the number killed then from the total of all Japanese casualties (KIA, wounded and missing).
The narrative is bulked out by personal reminiscences and anecdotes, many used as a basis for sweeping, often dubious, generalisations; there is an evident relish for horror stories. Hard facts are scanty, and many incorrect even though well-known - wrong dates for the start of Operation Thursday and the death of Wingate, the wrong division landing at Rangoon, on the wrong day. Sources are mis-quoted, not acknowledged, their evidence distorted. How can one trust the rest of the book? This is not history, but rather slapdash journalism; as Kipling wrote, 'Once a journalist, always and forever a journalist'.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avoiding the easy cliches, 29 Dec. 2008
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This review is from: Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45 (Paperback)
This account of the 1944-45 World War II battles against Japan is something of a tour de force by Max Hastings. Drawn from interviews and the papers of those who participated, it presents both sides of the story, but without falling in to moral ambivalence. Even more importantly, it does not look at the decisions made at the time solely from hind sight - it looks at them within the context in which they were made.

Many of the things that happened then become more explicable - not necessarily condonable, but certainly explicable, include Japanese actrocities against those they conquered, and the much debated decision to drop the atom bomb.

Two things which I hadn't previously understood became clear from a reading of this book. The first was that all of the people involved at a high level with the dropping of the bomb failed to understand the qualitative difference between conventional and nuclear explosive. They all thought it was just a biggesr and better version of what the B-29 bombers were already doing to Japanese cities. The second was the extent to which high ranking Japanese military and civilians privately knew the war was lost, but were, because of the warrior cult of bushido, were unable to express unable to express this publically.

Hasting's conclusion, is that, in spite of the fact that the bombing and the submarine blockade having already massively reduced the ability of the Japanese to produce war materiel, the Russian invasion of Japanese occupied China and Korea, and the dropping of the atom bomb were bnecessary to force the Japanese surrender. The atom bomb was necessary to convince the civilians in government that they should surrender, the Russian invasion to force the army to face the fact that it had lost.

Not everyone will agree with this idea, but it is well argued, and cannot be ignored.

Recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 16 April 2015
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This review is from: Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45 (Paperback)
Does what it says on the box -- it GLIDES.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb counterpart to Armegeddon, 5 Jan. 2008
By 
A. J. Sudworth "tonysudworth" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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For those of you who thought the Pacific War was largely limited to the island hopping campaign then dropping two atomic bombs to finish the war - this book explodes the myths in a superbly readable style.

I;m not sure I can justice to a 700 page volume in a short review but there are some highlights

Japanese brutality in China and Manchuria
The mindset that permitted kamakasi attacks
The explanation of what McArthur was like - but how he came into his own after the war ended
The huge destruction wrought by the US air force on Japan - made Bomber Harris look a bit ineffectual (and thats not the atomic bombs either..)
The Germans U-boats may have tried to blockade the UK - the US boats did it for Japan
The inter ally rivalries - Stalin in particular and how the US were determined that they would be pereived to have finished off Japan
The refusal of the Japanese to acknowledge what they had done to the civilan populations
The credit given to General Slim for the campaign to recapture Burma

emminently readable and well worth it
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long but keeps the attention very well for a non expert reader, 2 Jan. 2008
I am not a fan of military histories really but this one kept my full attention. It interweaves brilliantly the political context of the Far East War with first hand accounts from those on the front line. The whole thing is cleverly brought to life. The big strategic picture is built up little by little, so that, by the end, I felt I really understood this. It's a long read but worth getting through.

Max Hastings is quick to give some pretty forthright opinions (e.g. about General MacArthur, the morals of the Japanese, and whether it was right to drop the atom bomb) but they seem well evidenced and argued. Even so, it leaves me wanting to find other opinions to compare.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very balanced account, 3 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45 (Paperback)
I read this book while on holiday in Australasia this year and found it a very balanced account of the last year of the war. As well as covering such well known campaigns of those in Burma, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the bomb; it also covers the less known aspects of the war such as the US submarine campaign, the Nationalist and Communist war in China and the Red Army campaign right at the end of the war.

I was in particular impressed by Hastings handling of the impact of the A-bombs, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and other factors such as the submarine blockade on Japan and the fire bombing on Japan's decision to surrender.

Before writing this review, I read the few very negative reviews and I was singularly unimpressed by them. While reading this book in Sydney I met up with an Australian who holds such a negative view of the book seemingly because of the chapter on the Australian armed forces which is, it has to be admitted, very negative towrds those forces during the latter stages of the war.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential history that all should know., 26 Nov. 2008
By 
Woofit "Barksandbytes." (Northamptonshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45 (Paperback)
An extremely good read, the battle for Japan has not received the same level of historical coverage given to the European Western and Eastern fronts, but this book certainly rectifies that. A compelling, informative and justifiably horrific book, it pulls no punches and serves no political or historical masters. For truth and honesty about the events and the figures that drove them you'll have to go a long way to better this book. Cannot praise highly enough. You should bookend your WWII historical collection with this and it's older brother 'Armageddon-Max Hastings' about the battle for Europe.Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45
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Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45
Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45 by Max Hastings (Paperback - 1 Oct. 2008)
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