Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq

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W. W. Norton & Company, Sep 12, 2011 - History - 596 pages

Finalist for the 2010 National Book Award in Nonfiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize: “A thought-provoking . . . book about the way events echo—and mis-echo—down the corridors of history.”—Financial Times

Over recent decades, John W. Dower, one of America’s preeminent historians, has addressed the roots and consequences of war from multiple perspectives. In War Without Mercy (1986), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, he described and analyzed the brutality that attended World War II in the Pacific, as seen from both the Japanese and the American sides. Embracing Defeat (1999), winner of numerous honors including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, dealt with Japan’s struggle to start over in a shattered land in the immediate aftermath of the Pacific War, when the defeated country was occupied by the U.S.-led Allied powers.

Turning to an even larger canvas, Dower now examines the cultures of war revealed by four powerful events—Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, and the invasion of Iraq in the name of a war on terror. The list of issues examined and themes explored is wide-ranging: failures of intelligence and imagination, wars of choice and “strategic imbecilities,” faith-based secular thinking as well as more overtly holy wars, the targeting of noncombatants, and the almost irresistible logic—and allure—of mass destruction. Dower’s new work also sets the U.S. occupations of Japan and Iraq side by side in strikingly original ways.

One of the most important books of this decade, Cultures of War offers comparative insights into individual and institutional behavior and pathologies that transcend “cultures” in the more traditional sense, and that ultimately go beyond war-making alone.
 

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User Review  - nbmars - LibraryThing

John Dower is one of our most respected historians, having won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his brilliant studies of the war against Japan in World War II. In Cultures of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Narboink - LibraryThing

This account seems fair to me. Of course, anyone who thinks that Operation Iraqi Freedom was an unqualified success and a wholly noble enterprise, both justifiable and necessary, well... they will ... Read full review

Contents

Infamy and the Cracked Mirror ofHistory
3
Japanese planes revving up on deck 49
19
The Failure ofIntelligence
22
Iwo Jima threecent postage stamp
29
The Failure ofImagination
42
BombedJapanese town photographed byJohn Swope
44
Japanese crew cheer a torpedo plane taking off
48
Battleship Row
49
Y12 calutron operators
267
Stay on the job until every murderingJap is wiped out
277
Injured mother and son in Hiroshima October 1945
280
Mother and child in Hiroshima ruins December 1945
282
Mother and child clutching rice balls in Nagasaki August 10 1945
283
12
286
planning postwar japan
324
Japanese envoys touch down in the Ryukyu Islands en route to Manila
326

Innocence Evil andAmnesia
62
AJapanese American youngster awaits relocation April 1942
66
Dust storm at Manzanar July 1942
67
We Will Always Remember 911 April 2003
71
Pakistani demonstrators October 2001
73
Toward the Advance of a Scientific Japan
76
Crush AngloAmericansBuild Up the New Philippines
77
Biblical quotations on topsecret Operation Iraqi Freedom reports to the president
85
Wars of Choice and Strategic Imbecilities
95
Iraqis celebrate a roadside bomb that killed U S soldiers
99
Tomahawk missile launched in the opening shock and awe stage of Operation Iraqi Freedom
117
Baghdad burning
118
An Iraqi prisoner and his young son in Najaf
119
Statue ofSaddam Hussein is toppled from its pedestal
120
A marine places the Stars and Stripes over the face ofthe statue of Saddam Hussein
121
A soldier weeps at a memorial service in Baghdad
122
Pearl Harbor as Godsend
138
pART II
149
Ground Zero sign at the Trinity test site in Alamogordo
157
Crying baby in Shanghai after aJapanese bombing attack August 1937
159
Air War and Terror Bombing in World War II
162
AugustSeptember 1945
165
Lübeck under RAF bombardment March 1942
172
British Lancaster bomber over Hamburg July 1943
173
Mock German and Japanese residences at Dugway Proving Ground
177
Tokyo in flames May 1945
181
Warships and bombers advancing on Japan U S bombing leaflet
188
Panic U S bombing leaflet
189
Twelvecity bombing leaflet JulyAugust 1945
190
Afghanistan bombing leaflet October 2001
191
9
192
Japanese Should There Be Air Raids poster
193
Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima
200
Mushroom cloud over Nagasaki
201
The early fireball at 025 second
206
Mushroom cloud forming at 2 seconds
207
Life magazines breakthrough photograph September 1943
214
Cover ofthe April 9 1945 issue ofLife with W Eugene Smiths Iwo Jima photograph
215
Six kamikaze pilots pose for a portrait before departing on their missions
218
A kamikaze bursts into flame upon striking the USS Intrepid
219
10
221
11
250
The Trinity bomb just prior to detonation
254
J Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves at Ground Zero ofthe Trinity explosion
255
The X10 graphite reactor
265
The K25 gaseous diffusion plant
266
MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito side by side
327
GI distributing candy from his jeep September 1945
329
Bicycleriding U S sailor with a parasol August 1945
330
Bicycleriding U S soldier with a girlfriend January 1946
331
Musical kitsch in Tokyo January 1946
332
Life magazines Tokyo Romance April 1947
333
Alfred Eisenstaedt and picturesque Japan January 1946
334
Alfred Eisenstaedt and feminine Japan February 1946
335
CentralJapan 1946
336
occupying iraq
338
repudiating nation building
346
Japans formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri September 2 1945
348
Mission Accomplished banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln May 1 2003
349
baghdad burning
353
Antiterrorism rally in Baghdad December 2003
354
January 2004
355
Policeman killed by a suicide bomber February 2004
356
Law Justice and Transgression
359
war crimes and the ricochet of victors justice
366
International Military Tribunal for the Far East
368
Trial of Saddam Hussein
369
Trial of General Tomoyuki Yamashita
371
The Abu Ghraib torture scandal in Iraqi eyes
374
Abu Ghraib in Iranian eyes
375
spheres of influence and the limbo of defeated
377
Allied POWs liberated in Aomori Japan August 1945
380
Japanese POWs listen to the emperors announcement of capitulation August 1945
381
dissipating intangible assets
389
corruption and crime
397
Iraq Must Be Built by Iraqis May 2003
401
generalists versus area experts
404
rendering iraq open for business
413
Iraq for SaleEverything Must Go October 2003
414
Iraq for Iraqis November 2003
415
A GI guards a mother and her children during a house search in Mosul March 2005
420
Mother and child injured in a car bombing in Baghdad December 2008
421
Weeping woman at a protest demanding government aid for widows and orphans November 2008
422
combating carpetbagging in an earlier time
429
Fools Errands and Fools Gold
437
Memorial to the victims of911 September 2002
440
Memorial to Americans killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars March 2008
441
Notes
453
Stairway to nowhere photographed by John Swope AugustSeptember 1945 164
491
Illustration Credits
553
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About the author (2011)

John W. Dower is the author of Embracing Defeat, winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; War without Mercy, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Cultures of War. He is professor emeritus of history at MIT. In addition to authoring many books and articles about Japan and the United States in war and peace, he is a founder and codirector of the online "Visualizing Cultures" project established at MIT in 2002 and dedicated to the presentation of image-driven scholarship on East Asia in the modern world. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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