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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book provides a very readable account by an author who now merits the title of historian. His account of the war in the East is highly readable but detailed enough to satisfy the more demanding enquirer. His pithy perforations and analyses command attention and validate what is more than a mere recital of events. It may be perverse to describe such an history as enjoyable, documenting suffering on such a scale by so many, but enjoyable it is. It is particularly good on the fire bombing of Japan, contrasting this with the undoubted effects of naval blockade. His final comments on the effect of the eastern war on American perceptions of their own capabilities is thought provoking.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 May 2017
If you enjoyed this author's Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45, you'll want this impressive book as a companion volume. Max Hastings writes with his usual accessible yet erudite style, not afraid to ask awkward questions about the cost of the strategies pursued, while never losing sight of the harrowing experiences undergone by individual combatants (and non-combatants).

Highly recommended for all who are interested in how the 20th Century's most devastating and bloody conflict finally came to an end.
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on 3 June 2015
An absolutely brilliant book, offering stunning insight into this period of the Second World War. It is very well written and deals with each topic in a clear and concise manner, great use of sources as well. My only one criticism would be that in the electronic copy of the book there are no maps or photos, otherwise it would be a well deserved 5 stars.
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on 13 March 2017
Excellent account - another good read from Max H
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on 15 June 2017
Again a very good account - a good read.
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on 25 May 2017
Excellent. Thank you.
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on 15 May 2017
Max Hastings while being very detailed, makes the writing so easy to follow and understand.
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on 9 June 2014
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 direction.

The chapters of Nemesis seem to vary between general information about the war in the Pacific - such as a chapter on carriers or one on submarines. Then every now and then you get a chapter on the conduct of the war - such as a detailed description of The Battle of Leyte Gulf. One chapter does not necessarily lead to another but just seems to be tagged on as and when Max Hastings thought of a new subject. Even within the individual chapters the author wanders from topic to topic, throwing random quotations in about tactics, the environment or the living conditions. It's almost a stream of conciousness style of writing that is hard to follow and little use as a reference.

If you are prepared to put up with this little trip through Max Hastings brain Nemesis does have a lot of information about the last years of the Pacific War. If he actually understood anything about editing he could have covered the whole Pacific War here but it is a weighty tome as it stands. This is not an easy read but if you are familiar with the subject matter you might find some value in Max Hastings discussion of the war against Japan.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 November 2007
Wow, yet another superb book from the talented pen of Mr Hastings. Nemesis certainly goes someway to confirming Max Hastings as the authority on World War Two. The scope, political analysis and expert strategy are mixed with personal stories that illuminate the suffering of all - be they Allied POWs, Japanese bombed out civilians or disease ridden squaddies. Truly, this is an outstanding book - full of Mr Hastings trademark humanity and appreciation of the sacrifice that people made in the 1940s.
An author at the top of his powers.
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on 4 October 2007
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 pointless, in terms of the final destruction of Japan, campaign, to Borneo where the Australians where relegated to fighting in a backwater, losing much of their stature gained in the Western Desert 3 years before, and being hampered by in-fighting. Macarthur's arrogance - megalomania even - in the Philippines is described with the savage battle for Manila. The necessity for the battle for Iwo is seriously questioned with the normal answer "it saved allied aircrews" being doubted. Some of what he describes is well-known - the fire bombing of Japan's cities, the battle for Okinawa are covered well but less-known aspects are handled well: the China war (which had been going on for far longer that WW2), the Soviet invasion of Manchuria (Stalin's race to grab land before the war ended - the battles there continued for some days after the "official" surrender) and the choking of Japan's logistical supplies by the relatively small (compared with the U-Boats a couple of years earlier) US submarine force. Hastings makes the point that the sinking of Japan's merchant navy dwindled back in late '44 and early 45 for the very simple reason: there was pretty well nothing more to sink. He criticises the USAAF (a la Bomber Command) for not diverting more resources into the mining of the Inland Sea. When this did happen, the results almost crippled Japan's inter-island traffic. The actual nuclear attacks are briefly covered - I suspect that Hastings realised that they are just too well known - but the political build up, in Washington, Tokyo and Moscow, is covered is some detail.

For those used to Hastings's earlier work dealing with the end of WW2 in Europe - Armageddon and Overlord - will be familiar with his technique of mixing personal memories and reflections with the broader picture - both military and political. In Nemesis he succeeds again admirably and this book thoroughly deserves five stars.
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