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The Rising Sun: Tthe Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire (Modern Library War) Paperback – 26 Jun 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library Inc; Modern Library Pbk. Ed edition (26 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812968581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812968583
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 4.6 x 25.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"[It] is quite possibly the most readable, yet informative account of the Pacific war." --"Chicago Sun-Times"
"Unbelievably rich . . . readable and exciting . . . The best parts of [Toland's] book are not the battle scenes but the intimate view he gives of the highest reaches of Tokyo politics." --"Newsweek
"
"Similar in scope to William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." Toland's book is fresh and dramatic throughout. The Rising Sun is not only a blood-and-guts action story, it also presents for the first time a great deal of fresh information." --"Chicago Sun-Times"

[It] is quite possibly the most readable, yet informative account of the Pacific war. "Chicago Sun-Times"
Unbelievably rich . . . readable and exciting . . . The best parts of [Toland s] book are not the battle scenes but the intimate view he gives of the highest reaches of Tokyo politics. "Newsweek
"
Similar in scope to William Shirer s "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." Toland s book is fresh and dramatic throughout. The Rising Sun is not only a blood-and-guts action story, it also presents for the first time a great deal of fresh information. "Chicago Sun-Times""

From the Inside Flap

This Pulitzer Prize-winning history of World War II chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Told from the Japanese perspective, "The Rising Sun is, in the author's words, "a factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened--muddled, ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of paradox."
In weaving together the historical facts and human drama leading up to and culminating in the war in the Pacific, Toland crafts a riveting and unbiased narrative history. In his Foreword, Toland says that if we are to draw any conclusion from "The Rising Sun, it is "that there are no simple lessons in history, that it is human nature that repeats itself, not history."

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely fascinating book, full of wonderful detail and eyewitness accounts. It's particularly interesting to read so much that is written from the Japanese side, which really levels things out and makes you question what you thought you knew. I love a book that does that!
I take one star off, because this was written by an American historian, (originally published in 1970) and, as is so often the case, for non-Americans the title and blurb are slightly misleading. This is primarily about the war between Japan and the US, so if you're expecting something more all-encompassing, you'll be disappointed. It does however acknowledge the fact that the US wasn't on its own, and occasionally goes into some detail about what was going on outside the US zone. Very occasionally. And briefly.
For British readers (and the author can't make up his mind if we're British or English, like so many of his compatriots), be prepared to suffer some steam coming out of your ears at times. Most of the ideas about the British are purely American, and thus somewhat warped.. When the Empire is referred to it is from the standard US viewpoint, that Western imperialism was 100% appalling, particularly the British version (the author shows general ignorance about other European empires and credits the British with being the worst about everything).
And, of course, the US doesn't have it's own empire in this! Everyone wherever they are (ie in their co!onies, which naturally they don't call colonies) loves them (unlike the Brits where everyone hates them).
But these moments pass quickly (they don't take up much text) and I can honestly say that I very nearly completely enjoyed this book.
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Really enjoyed this read.
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great
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By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a third of the way through this, and it's already clear that this is one of those historical works that manages to tell its epic story with an electrifying intensity and vividness. I cannot put this book down. It paints a vast panorama out of an intricate web of tiny details, giving the reader the illusion of a God's eye view, that simultaneously embraces all levels of scale, from the global down to the individual. The depth of research is hugely impressive. At times you are inclined to suspect that Toland must know the name and background of everyone that was in the Pacific theatre at the time. Strategic, political, economic, and convincingly, cultural aspects, are all woven together in a format that is almost cinematic. Diplomacy, espionage, intrigues and major military encounters, by land, air and sea, all give the narrative a terrific pace.

As history, I think it needs to be taken rather cautiously as it is clearly pro-Japanese. It does however also try to convey the mindset of the ordinary Japanese and their justifications for their part in these events. It depicts the very curious relationship between the Emperor and his household and the cabal of militant warlords who governed on his apparent behalf. Issues of taboo, honour and obligation, having no parallel in Western political structures led to a complex situation whereby the militarist elite could claim to be operating in the service of the Emperor's divine will and with his blessing. Meanwhile the same conventions rendered the Emperor and the moderates around him impotent to materially influence the course of affairs.
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Format: Paperback
This is a mammoth undertaking of a book, but even then can hardly scratch the surface of a very complicated subject. It's main value lies in explaining the decisions and actions that led up to Japanese involvement in WW2, but there is the feeling that a lot has been left out. Once Pearl Harbor is attacked then the book becomes less about the rise and fall of Japan and more about how Japan lost the war to the USA. If it doesn't involve the US then it's not worth more than a couple of lines; the conquest of Malaya, Burma and the Dutch East Indies? Pfft, nothing to see here, move along. Yet the loss of the Phillipines is there in every last detail. The battle for Guadalcanal goes on for ever too.
No, I'm afraid that this book isn't even pro-Japanese as some reviewers have said. Yes, it's ten years of Japanese history with a lot of the nasty bits left out, hardly a mention of the massacres of POWs and civilians for example, but this book is really about how the Japanese were inferior to the might of the Americans. The point of the book seems to be to tell them that they should have stayed at home.
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Rising Sun by John Toland is a very good account of the Pacific War (from the mid 1930s onwards) told mainly from the Japanese viewpoint. It is increadibly in-depth but at the same time immensely readable. If it does have any major flaws it is that it is perhaps too symapathetic towards the Japanese (for example it is the only book on this subject I have ever read that suggests the Japanese were at least partly motivated to fight to emancipate their fellow Asians) and although it states it is about the rise and fall of the Japanese Empire in World War II it should really just claim to be about the Pacific War with the USA because the conflicts in China and Burma/India are only briefly mentioned. All in all a very good book and well worth the time it takes to read.
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