• The Rising Sun

  • The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945
  • By: John Toland
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 41 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 27-06-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.3 (94 ratings)


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.
©1970 John Toland (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Regular price: £42.69

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By paul on 12-05-15

Long but worthy bit of military history

Slightly hard to follow the characters with a lot of similar but different names but I enjoyed catching a chunk of history I never studied . Well narrated book and a gripping story with more humanity than i had expected. After some time it moves from the character of the Japanese to be a catalogue of the various military engements and that was its only disappointment , I dint really get to know more about what was hapeining or being said by the average man in japan in this period . Not sure ill ever understand the Japanese culture for the glorification of death at the time and I hope the people of modern Japan don't understand it either . General Macarther doesn't come out to favourably either . Good book though and would recommend if you want a broad sweep of this period of Japanese military history

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By R on 26-06-15

The stupidity of war

Where does The Rising Sun rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

As a historic piece of work it has plenty of detail. It opens up the political system that shows there was no democracy and the military were the real power and not the Emperor. It shows a different perspective than what we were led to believe.

What did you like best about this story?

The poor quality of leadership. It exposes the fundamental failures of the willingness to waste life for no gain other than that of saving face. The pre Pearl Harbour events especially that took place in the parliament were a real eye opener. It appears no one wanted war with the USA and the European powers but didn't know how to stop it happening.

Which character – as performed by Tom Weiner – was your favourite?

Admirable Yamamoto is an obvious choice as he was the man who took them to war but did warn that he could not give them victory - Tom put Yamamoto into the character of not just the tactician but also the political military man

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The Sun that rises, also sets

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Philip on 24-09-14

First rate history

Wow. You come away from this book feeling like you actually understand what would posses the Japanese to launch into a war they knew that they would lose if it went on very long and why they fought so hard right to the end. If all history books were this good why would you ever read fiction?

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29 of 30 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mike From Mesa on 30-07-15

A political as well as military history

I have read a great many books concerning World War II involving both the European as well as Pacific theaters of war and was not very interested in reading another book centered on the Pacific theater. What drew me to the decision to buy this book is that it offered what was rare in the other books I read, the political background of the Japanese involvement in the war.

The Pacific Theater of the war is a sort of neglected step-child of the history books. While there are many very fine books concerning the war in the Pacific, the number is much smaller than those books on the European Theater and those books that do exist mostly concentrate on the battles and the difficulty in fighting a war on such a broad front. What has almost always been missing is the political background explaining how Japan found itself being inexorably drawn into a war with the US when many of its political and military leaders believed Japan could not win such a war, Yamamoto perhaps foremost among them.

I have always believed that the reason for the lack of extensive material covering the Japanese decisions leading to the war was the general lack of familiarity among most readers, myself included, concerning how the Japanese political system worked and the daunting task facing a writer in explaining the intricate and unfamiliar process to the general reader. However Mr Toland, who has written much about World War II, has successfully provided the political background very well in this book. This was not a new task as this book is quite old (first published in 1970) but nonetheless feels fresh and new. While some of the material may have been superseded by more recent scholarship this book is still very worthwhile for anyone interested not only in how the war progressed, but in why the Japanese government took the decisions it did.

The only problem I found with this book is that some of the Japanese names are very similar and it is easy in the Audible version of this book to mistake one for another. One example is mistaking Tojo for Togo and thus failing to grasp the competing war and peace factions in the government.

Tom Weiner does an excellent job in narrating this book and I found it to be both easy to listen to and well worth the time. I recommend this book for those interested in knowing the background of the war, but for those interested only in the tactical and strategic decisions and the battles, there are probably better books about the war in the Pacific.

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21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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