2 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Jen L. reviewed Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan on
Helpful Score: 1
This came highly recommended as a major book on Japanese history, but I have to say I was disappointed. The author has clearly spent a long time researching it and the extensive footnotes would probably be quite useful for those seeking additional resources. However, the narrative is constrained by relatively few first-hand accounts of Hirohito's role in decisionmaking, and the author is left to fill in the gaps with arguments and assumptions. Personally, I found them unpersuasive and inconsistent-- sometimes he insisted that the emperor's written comments should be taken at face value and sometimes not; the emperor would be quoted as against a policy and the author would conclude he was hiding his true view etc. Bix may well have had solid reasons for doing so, but they were not articulated clearly enough to persuade me as a reader. I found this book not nearly as readable or informative as other "seminal" Japanese history books like Embracing Defeat.