By midsummer 1945, Japan had long since lost the war in the Pacific. The people were not told the truth, and neither was the emperor. Japanese generals, admirals, and statesmen knew, but only a handful of leaders were willing to accept defeat. Most were bent on fighting the Allies until the last Japanese soldier died and the last city burned to the ground.
Exhaustively researched and vividly told, The Fall of Japan masterfully chronicles the dramatic events that brought an end to the Pacific War and forced a once-mighty military nation to surrender unconditionally. From the ferocious fighting on Okinawa to the all-but-impossible mission to drop the second atom bomb, and from Franklin D. Roosevelt's White House to the Tokyo bunker where tearful Japanese leaders first told the emperor the truth, William Craig captures the pivotal events of the war with spellbinding authority. The Fall of Japan brings to life both celebrated and lesser-known historical figures, including Admiral Takijiro Onishi, the brash commander who drew up the Yamamoto plan for the attack on Pearl Harbor and inspired the death cult of kamikaze pilots. This astonishing account ranks alongside Cornelius Ryan's The Longest Day and John Toland's The Rising Sun as a masterpiece of World War II history.
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By Saman on 22-01-16
Superbly written history
I have seen a number of movies on the demise of the Japanese Empire and specifically its last days in August of 1945. One that was well received was ‘Japan’s Longest Day’ made in 1967. It was mesmerizing! Eventually, this led to me acquiring William Craig’s book written and published around the same time.
I feared that this would be a victor’s account of the crushed Empire but I was proven wrong. This is an amazing piece of writing that is well balanced and thoroughly accurate in its presentation. Many of the internal military and civil workings of the Japanese Empire, its high level meetings, decision processes and subsequent actions are thoroughly explained. The major players in the drama are introduced in humane terms whether they be Japanese adversaries or Allied commanders. The thoughts and actions of key players such as Prime Mister Suziki, War Minister Anami as well as many low-key subordinates are well observed and recorded. The book goes even further than I presumed by explaining the actual occupation and surrender terms of Japan. It also highlights key individuals who saw and participated in these momentous events.
The actual events leading to Emperor Hirohito’s final radio transmission admitting total capitulation is fascinating. We also glimpse the horrors of Okinawa, bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and their effect on the Emperor and the dovish cabinet wishing to end the war at all cost. But as we learn, the final broadcast itself was almost undone by junior military officers in a last minute coup attempt. There is Hollywood tension in this book.
If you are interested in WWII history as I am, this is must read/listen book. I also recommend ‘Japan 1942: Count Down to Infamy’ by Eri Hotta.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Thomas on 04-01-16
One of the most chilling descriptions of the bombing of Japan
Though it makes up only about half the book Craig's detailing of first the fire and then atomic bombing of Japan paints a vivid and horrific picture.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful