Nemesis

  • by Max Hastings
  • Narrated by Stewart Cameron
  • 29 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With an introduction read by Max Hastings. A companion volume to his best-selling Armageddon, Max Hastings' account of the battle for Japan is a masterful military history.
Featuring the most remarkable cast of commanders the world has ever seen, the dramatic battle for Japan of 1944-45 was acted out across the vast stage of Asia: Imphal and Kohima, Leyte Gulf and Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Soviet assault on Manchuria.
In this gripping narrative, Max Hastings weaves together the complex strands of an epic war, exploring the military tactics behind some of the most triumphant and most horrific scenes of the 20th century. The result is a masterpiece that balances the story of command decisions, rivalries, and follies with the experiences of soldiers, sailors, and airmen of all sides as only Max Hastings can.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Brilliant as usual

Nemesis follows Hastings' usual approach of bringing together first-hand accounts by combatants with highly informed analysis of why the politicians and generals chose the strategic options they did. Having listened to this I felt a little ashamed of quite how little I knew about the Pacific campaign despite having relatives who fought in it but of course all of those surprising details only serve to make this a more interesting listen.

In brief, Nemesis offers a large canvas picture which begins by showing how the Japanese military became dominant in domestic policy and the extent to which it fostered a culture of pitiless brutality to those it conquered. We then move on to a slightly revisionist take on the military significance of Pearl Harbour and the Allied response which went from shambolic to under-powered on the part of the British while the Americans did the majority of the heavy lifting through the mobilisation of awesome naval forces and the bravery of infantry who had to battle insanely committed Japanese soldiers across a sequence of inhospitable pacific islands. Finally of course the USAF settled things by dropping the atomic bomb.

Hastings manages to cram in first hand details of ground fighting; thoughtful analyses of the planning and execution of the dropping of the atomic bomb; a fascinating picture of the way Chinese resistance fighters under leaders like Mao played off allied and Japanese forces as they sought the best position for post-war dominance in China and an interesting summary of the way in which victory distorted the US military's view of how it should fight wars in the future. That's a lot of ground to cover but Hastings is such a talented writer that Nemesis rattles along.

Highly recommended.
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- Jim

Epic In Its Scope & Detail

Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 is my first book I've read by Max Hastings. I was immediately attracted to this work because it seemed much rarer to find books written about the Pacific war in contrast to the numerous volumes available on the European theatre of the second world war.

This is a truly tremendous piece of detailed and painstakingly researched work and the scope and sheer levels of detail are amazing. The narrative is often viscerally illustrated with many personal accounts of those that fought, won and lost this epic conflict and paints a vivid picture of what life was like for those embroiled in the events that shaped the Pacific war. There is just so much in this book that it merits reading a second time and probably even a third.

The harsh and extremely brutal and cruel nature of war is often described in the words of those that were there with Hastings providing the connective narrative that weaves all this together in a giant tapestry. What appealed to me was that this book gave much needed attention to the Japanese perspective that is so often lacking in many books covering war and so it is fascinating to read so much from the enemy as it was back then. Such balance is rare when most works like this focus heavily on the plight and stories of the victors and tend to forget or give very little over to the vanquished.

A word on the narration; This book was also my first experience of Cameron Stewart and I must say that his delivery and competence is second to none. He also has just the right voice to narrate such a work and really makes an excellent job of this epic work.

Further, "Nemesis" describes in detail the almost forgotten Russian campaign against the Japanese toward the end of the war and really adds a lot of detail that many readers like myself may have known very little about.

A superb work with massive scope and detail that anyone interested in the war in the Pacific must read.

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- S. Morris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 17-06-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios