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A Curious Madness: An American Combat Psychiatrist, a Japanese War Crimes Suspect, and an Unsolved Mystery from World War II by [Jaffe, Eric]
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A Curious Madness: An American Combat Psychiatrist, a Japanese War Crimes Suspect, and an Unsolved Mystery from World War II Kindle Edition

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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"In Tokyo, just after World War Two, Eric Jaffe's grandfather played a small but remarkable role in what is sometimes remembered as Japan's Nuremberg Trials. In A Curious Madness, Jaffe tells the story. The book is a brave, meticulously researched and beautifully balanced account of an episode that by its very nature must always remain unaccountable."--Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time, 1995 Pulitzer Prize

"Eric Jaffe has given us an extraordinary book, at once intimate (a wrenching tale of family madness) and epic (two nations gathering themselves to fight a devastating war). While never slowing his narrative velocity, the author finds in the convergence of two very different lives an encapsulation of immense issues: When does patriotism become criminal? What does combat do to the human spirit? Can a victorious nation ever mete out just punishment to a vanquished enemy? Here is a work of the greatest significance that is as engrossing as a first-rate detective story--which, in a way, it is as well."--Richard Snow "author of A Measureless Peril: America in the Fight for the Atlantic, the Longest Battle of WWII "

"Travelling effortlessly between times and places, Eric Jaffe recounts the uneasy meeting of two curious minds. The story of the eccentric Japanese philosopher Okawa Shumei, a suspected war criminal and ideological mastermind behind Japan's war mobilization in World War II, and Daniel Jaffe, a young American combat psychiatrist and the author's grandfather who judged Okawa too mad to stand trial, provides a series of illumining, thoughtful, and at times funny insights on how we ourselves deal with our own minds and imaginations. A CURIOUS MADNESS is a powerful proof that true life is stranger, indeed more curious, than fiction."--Eri Hotta, author of Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

About the Author

Eric Jaffe is the author of The King's Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America, which won the U.S. Postal Service's 2012 Moroney Award for Scholarship in Postal History. He's a former web editor of Smithsonian magazine and now writes for The Atlantic Cities, a site devoted to urban life run by The Atlantic magazine.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 13024 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451612052
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (14 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C0W61M2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,428,299 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinaiting Multifaceted Book 6 Nov. 2014
By Patrick Mc Coy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Eric Jaffe's A Curious Madness (2014) is one of those books that is really several books in one. It is a historical mystery which focuses on the question of whether or not nationalist intellectual Shumei Okawa was faking insanity during the Tokyo tribunals, it is also a personal foray into the life of Jaffe's laconic grandfather Daniel Jaffe, the roots of Japanese nationalism, the development of combat psychiatry during World War II, and postwar justice. The chapters are as follows: 1. "The Slap Heard Round the World" 2. "A Young Philosopher-Patriot 3. "The House on Lyme Avenue" 4. "Heavenly Mission" 5. "Loose Ends" 6. "Showa Restoration" 7. "The Making of a Combat Psychiatrist" 8. "A War for Asian Liberation" 9. "Breakdown" 10. "Unconsciously Conscious" 11. "Judgement" 12. ""The Ghosts of East and West." Jaffe brought to light many interesting observations about both men, the rise of Asian nationalism in Japan, and psychiatry in general. It was interesting to see that Patton's public slapping of two combat fatigued soldier brought the idea of combat psychiatry to the attention of the powers that be. I was also interested to hear that his grandfather's unit, the 97th infantry was one of the most traveled in the war-covering 35,000 miles chasing the Germans toward Czechoslovakia and then raced across Europe to the U.S. to take part in the U.S. occupation of Japan. It is a well-researched and fascinating book for anyone who is interested in WWII.
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving great style of history 21 Sept. 2014
By L S Sam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have one chapter left to read but it is so good I can already rate it. Two great parallels going on. Balanced history of japan philosphily and entrance into war and mental issues (shell shock and mental and history of its treatment of that era). This is all wo psychobabble and moving storyline. Interesting characters.
I just read one other book where I stated this same enthusiasm . That is 2 books and it has been a decade since i've even read 1 whole book
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical non-fiction that reads like a novel. 2 Feb. 2014
By BHoro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am frequently looking for new additions to my favorite genre of books—gripping historical nonfiction that reads like a novel. Books like Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts, and Hillenbrand’s Unbroken are among my favorites. Now I have a new title to add to that list of favorites: Jaffe’s A Curious Madness.

I was hesitant to start the book because I have read so much about WWII and was hoping to branch out with my next read. A friend recommended it though, so I gave it a shot. I couldn’t put the book down.

A Curious Madness checks all the boxes. It’s a page-turner, a vast repository of historical information, and a story that you haven’t read before. And it does it all with a personal touch—at the heart of the story is the author’s grandfather. In short, it is a darn good read and I couldn’t recommend it more.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Page-Turner 31 Jan. 2014
By Doug - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Almost 70 years ago an American psychiatrist examined a Japanese nationalist/philosopher to determine his mental competency to stand trial for World War II war crimes. Like a pebble hitting water, that brief encounter resulted in ripples that not only immediately altered “Japan’s Nuremberg” but also, decades later, are still being felt today.

A Curious Madness joins author Eric Jaffe in the present day as he travels across three continents to investigate the mystery surrounding the philosopher’s conveniently timed insanity and the psychiatrist’s controversial diagnosis. To uncover the truth, Jaffe digs deep into the past and minds of these two men. What he discovers will at times shock and haunt you but will always keep you entertained. When you finish, you might be left wondering whose madness you were reading about: the philosopher’s, the psychiatrist’s, the author’s or even your own.
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 9 Oct. 2016
By B. Roth PhD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
not enough about the Japanese war criminal and too much about the authors " Father : Disappointing
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