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Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy: Eri Hotta: 9780307594013 Reviews and Coupon

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Most Recent Customer Reviews

Japanese should read.

Translation to Japanese is highly recommended. No one takes responsibility even in the present Japanese government. Who is responsible for Fukushima nuclear accident?

Published 2 days ago by Atsushi Numa

a must read for anyone trying to understand Japan and human nature in...

Japan offers an example of how a disciplined people can succeed in advancing their welfare. Unfortunately there was a fatal flaw in their political system that caused hundreds of... Read more

Published 4 days ago by T. A. Weisshaar

Well packaged and shipped on time. An excellent book.

This book explored an important and under-studied part of history. I wish it came in *.wma format rather than *mp3, so I could listen in the car, my problem -- an older car.

Published 9 days ago by C. Collins

New insights

Hotta's book shows that war is preventable if only men or women of conscience stand up. Her work on the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor offers a clear understanding of... Read more

Published 9 days ago by jo a. olson

The blame game

In Japan the evidence was clear in 1941. The country was facing economic disaster; Japan was a third rate even fourth rate. The Japanese were facing a long and prolong war. Read more

Published 13 days ago by Onlygameintown

Good read full of facts worth learning about

Was impressed with the fact that this book was put together from the Japanese point of view. The depth that the author goes to explain what the Japanese were thinking before 1941. Read more

Published 15 days ago by Buck Rogers

1941 from theJapanese side.

1941 from the Japanese side.First time that I know of wen the Japanese side of that fateful year is revealed!A MUST READ!Highly recommended. Read more

Published 15 days ago by rh

Japan's Stumbles into WW2

An easy to read history of Japan's steps and missteps leading to the ill fated decisions to expand beyond China into SE Asia and to attack Pearl Harbour. Read more

Published 18 days ago by Paul Robey

Infamy on Trial

This is an excellent account of the lead-up to Pearl Harbor from the perspective of Japan's military and political leaders. By Hotta's account, a war with the U.S. Read more

Published 21 days ago by Doginfollow

Why Japan Went to War with the United States Knowing that it Would...

This book answers a lot of questions that most anyone with an interest in WWII probably have had. The reasons were certainly a lot more complex than the generally simplistic views... Read more

Published 23 days ago by Lael Prock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 81 people found the following review helpful

An important and interesting new book

By bdallmann on October 29, 2013

Format: Hardcover

I often wondered during history class in middle and high school, “What did the other side think of this war?” Americans frequently are restricted to being taught only about their own side of a war, which puts us at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to understanding our world. It is for this reason that I truly appreciated reading Eri Hotta’s Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy.

The book puts into perspective Japanese culture and politics in the years and months leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In particular, it investigates the question of why Japan’s leaders entered into a conflict they knew they had no chance of winning. Through reading the book I was able to learn something about Japanese politics and how Japan’s admiration for the United States began to turn sour in the first part of the twentieth century.

Hotta is not forgiving toward her country for its actions before or after the bombing. She recognizes the mistakes that were made by Japan’s leaders due to arrogance or ignorance (or often both), and reveals how the Japanese people were fooled by their leaders into believing their country was more powerful and capable than it really was. She refers often to Japan’s “self-delusion” and “face-saving” tactics, which only exacerbated the country’s political problems.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have trouble sometimes staying focused on a book about history that includes so many names, dates, and places. However, in the front of the book you’ll find a map of the Asia-Pacific Region in 1941, as well as a list and description of major characters and a timeline of events in Japanese history from 1853 through April 1941. These references made the book much easier to comprehend.

Hotta’s book is a valuable new perspective in the history of World War II, and is a great read for anyone interested in the war, Japanese politics, or Asian culture and history.

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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful

Japan's Long Plunge Into War

By Jeffrey T. Munson on November 13, 2013

Format: Hardcover Amazon Verified Purchase

Everyone knows that, on December 7th, 1941, the Japanese Navy attacked the American base at Pearl Harbor. Numerous ships were sunk or damaged, scores of planes destroyed, and over 2,000 people were killed. But what led Japan to take such a drastic step to start a war that they had no hope of winning? Eri Hotta attempts to answer this question in "Japan 1941".

One could argue that World War II began when Japan invaded China in 1931. From that point forward, Japan was under scrutiny from the rest of the world, including the United States. By 1941, Japan was suffering from sanctions, including an embargo on oil and scrap metal from the United States. War with the United States was a distinct possibility.

But what of the preparations for this war? Hotta argues, rightly so, that the Japanese were unprepared to fight a successful war against the United States. The industrial might of the United States would overwhelm Japan. Japan, in the words of Winston Churchill, would be ground into dust.

Despite the vast difference in industrial might, many Japanese felt that war was the only answer. Others believed that success could be achieved through negotiation. It was this constant bickering and interservice rivalry that ultimately doomed Japan. Hotta states that none of Japan's top leaders had sufficient will, desire, or courage to stop the momentum for war. The attack on Pearl Harbor can be viewed loosely as a tactical success for the Japanese. But the result was a strategic nightmare, for only 6 months later, the Japanese advance was stopped at Midway.

I found this book to be an informative narrative about Japan's preparations for war in 1941.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful

The politics of 1941 Japan

By EdM on November 14, 2013

Format: Hardcover Amazon Verified Purchase

This new look at the reasons why Japan took the path to war in 1941 offers new insights as well as previous treaded ground. The author was born in Tokyo and educated in Japan and researched Japanese archives to present a Japanese perspective on the events leading to war. The majority of the population were jubilant at the onset as the prevailing view was that America had been waging economic warfare against Japan for some time. Prince Konoe, prime minister from July 1940- October 1941, and Matsuoka Yosuke, foreign minister July 1940-July 1941 are portrayed as the ones most responsible for leading Japan onto the path of war. This alters previous readings of Konoe being a moderate influence in the imperial government. However, the author nearly exonerates Tojo Hideki as the former general had to make the best of an already complex situation and the military was set for war. The events of this time period is open for interpretations and there are numerous authors that can take widely different viewpoints. This author presents her findings and explains them in a good format. The Roosevelt administration was waging economic warfare against Japan. This fact has been written about before but this book actually details that it was waged in a manner that FDR knew could lead to retaliation. If a nation today tried to cut the US off from its oil supply or any other resource they would attack that country. Japan was mired in a conflict with China, taking over administration of Indochina from France, and was tied by treaty to countries that the west didn't like. The political method of the imperial government is explained and it really was a complex way of running a modern nation.Read more ›

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This is an interesting, sometimes admirable, but frustratingly flawed effort to examine the lead up to the attack on Pearl Harbor from a Japanese perspective. Hotta, born in Tokyo and educated in Japan and the U.S., portrays the dilemma faced by the Japanese government and military in 1941. The war with China had no end in sight and drained Japan of men and limited resources. The political class was divided over the wisdom of territorial expansion, and even the military had its share of doubters, including some who feared the Soviet Union more than the U.S. Even among the military “hawks” there was concern that war with the U.S. was doomed to fail. Unfortunately, Hotta comes close to blaming the victim when she indicts American policy makers for their failure to understand Japan’s views. For example, she condemns U.S. demands that Japan withdraw from China as “high-handed,” as if Japan’s wanton, savage behavior there was acceptable. This is a useful look at the other side of the story, but the fact remains that Japan bears the full responsibility for launching a self-destructive war. --Jay Freeman


“Hotta illuminates the extraordinary ideological and military predicament in which Japan found itself  in the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor…[She] brings to life the key figures of a deeply divided Japanese leadership…[and] scrupulously details [their] negotiations and squabbles…against a backdrop of dauntingly complex domestic and international maneuverings.”
            —The New Yorker

“Hotta’s groundbreaking work is both a fascinating history and a cautionary tale for those who wield power today.”
            —The Dallas Morning News

“[Hotta’s] account is a warning to any country that would talk itself into a foolish war.”
            —The Seattle Times

“In this focused, informed and persuasive book…Hotta effortlessly returns us to the moment just before the dice were so disastrously rolled. From a perspective little known to Americans, a masterful account of how and why World War II began.”
            —Kirkus Reviews
“A fascinating read for anyone interested in Japan’s involvement in World War II…While scholarly and thoroughly researched, it’s also a highly enjoyable read…A real page turner.”
            —Library Journal

“In this fast-moving, persuasive account of Japan's road to Pearl Harbor, Eri Hotta describes the pathetic leadership of a country who argue among themselves endlessly when the crisis across the Pacific requires decisive action to preserve the peace. It is a story of self-delusion, irresponsibility, and ignorance from which Japan is not entirely free even today.”
    —Akira Iriye, author of Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War

“This ambitious, groundbreaking history builds new layers atop a story that we thought we knew.”
    —Everyday eBook

“Finely nuanced…[Hotta]  forcefully reframes how we should consider the Japanese with respect to their positions as emerging world powers in [an]…era of international turmoil. 
            —Asian American Literature Fans See all Editorial Reviews

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