By John W. Dower
Finalist for the 2010 nationwide e-book Award in Nonfiction and the Los Angeles Times e-book Prize: “A thought-provoking . . . e-book in regards to the means occasions echo―and mis-echo―down the corridors of history.”―Financial Times
Over fresh a long time, John W. Dower, one among America’s preeminent historians, has addressed the roots and effects of conflict from a number of views. In War with no Mercy (1986), winner of the nationwide e-book Critics Circle Award, he defined and analyzed the brutality that attended global conflict II within the Pacific, as visible from either the japanese and the yankee aspects. Embracing Defeat (1999), winner of diverse honors together with the Pulitzer Prize and the nationwide booklet Award, handled Japan’s fight to begin over in a shattered land within the instant aftermath of the Pacific warfare, while the defeated state was once occupied through the U.S.-led Allied powers.
Turning to a good greater canvas, Dower now examines the cultures of battle published through 4 robust events―Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, September 11, and the invasion of Iraq within the identify of a conflict on terror. The checklist of concerns tested and subject matters explored is wide-ranging: mess ups of intelligence and mind's eye, wars of selection and “strategic imbecilities,” faith-based secular considering in addition to extra openly holy wars, the concentrating on of noncombatants, and the virtually impossible to resist logic―and allure―of mass destruction. Dower’s new paintings additionally units the U.S. occupations of Japan and Iraq facet through aspect in strikingly unique ways.
the most vital books of this decade, Cultures of War deals comparative insights into person and institutional habit and pathologies that go beyond “cultures” within the extra conventional experience, and that finally transcend war-making by myself. 122 black-and-white illustrations
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Additional info for Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq
Strategic imbecility” is a recognized English-language word brought within the Nineteen Fifties to spotlight the ordinary irrationality of the japanese warlords who selected to assault Pearl Harbor and Western colonial possessions in Southeast Asia. i've got spent many pro years looking at the reiteration of this simplistic cultural critique, and the criticisms that later turned directed opposed to the Oval place of work and Pentagon for failing to interact in severe making plans for Iraq past the initiation of wrestle carried, to my ear, virtually fun vibrations. you will take the clichés approximately Japan’s irrational warlords and Pearl Harbor that had circulated as traditional knowledge for over a part century and plug in “the United States,” “the Bush administration,” “Iraq” with few different changes—and the critique would appear completely average. Wishful considering trumped rational research in Tokyo in 1941 and Washington within the run-up to warfare with Iraq. Nor did myth and reckless incompetence finish there. eastern conflict planners remained of their dream global lengthy after catastrophe loomed—and so did President Bush and his most sensible advisers. This resonance among the strategic myopia of Tokyo’s Pearl Harbor assault and Washington’s invasion of Iraq undermines the mystique of “rationality” that offers a lot excitement to Westerners ordinarily and americans particularly of their postulations of a logical “West” pitted opposed to an illogical “East. ” placed another way, the “herd habit” and “groupthink” that Westerners are inclined to ascribe to such a lot non-Western societies (notions that teachers often buttress with sociological exegesis extrapolated from Max Weber and others) turn into common phenomena that grew to become appear with dire effects within the conflict of selection opposed to Iraq. This used to be real not just on the best ranks of conflict planners, yet virtually in every single place else within the usa until eventually the invasion changed into a quagmire and feedback turned trendy: groupthink prevailed within the legislature, within the mainstream media, and throughout an voters that lower back George W. Bush to the presidency within the November 2004 election. in accordance with the textbooks, such herd habit isn't really what's purported to happen in a functioning democracy, rather person who prides itself on bedrock individualism. Groupthink isn't an easy pathology. Dissent regularly exists at a few point in complicated platforms, and the workouts of doubtless rational deliberation are constantly found in the formula of grand coverage. regardless of the obsessive secrecy that followed the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” a lot of the behind the scenes list has develop into obtainable piecemeal within the type of legit hearings and stories, declassified files, books and articles via insiders, and first-class investigative journalism according to large interviewing and low privileged entry to labeled fabrics. this is often the stuff of a primary draft of the historical past of the administration’s strategic folly. the place I go away from so much writers to this point is in trying to flow, as a historian, during the concrete, and past the Bush management consistent with se, to deal with the various broader dynamics and morbidities of our instances and our glossy and modern wars.