Thursday, March 7, 2013

Books on War in Asia

This is a selection of titles on wars in Asia:

The Wars for Asia 1911-1949 by S.C.M. Paine. The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949 shows that the Western treatment of World War II, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War as separate events misrepresents their overlapping connections and causes. The Chinese Civil War precipitated a long regional war between China and Japan that went global in 1941 when the Chinese found themselves fighting a civil war within a regional war within an overarching global war. The global war that consumed Western attentions resulted from Japan's peripheral strategy to cut foreign aid to China by attacking Pearl Harbour and Western interests throughout the Pacific in 1941. S. C. M. Paine emphasizes the fears and ambitions of Japan, China and Russia, and the pivotal decisions that set them on a collision course in the 1920s and 1930s. The resulting wars together yielded a viscerally anti-Japanese and unified Communist China, the still-angry rising power of the early 21st century.

An End to a War: A Japanese Soldier's Experience of the 1945 Death Marches of North Borneo by Ueno Itsuyoshi, and translated from the Japanese by Mika Reilly. The 1945 North Borneo Death Marches of Allied prisoners of war and their Japanese military guards leave a horror epic in human memory. Only 6 POWs survived. One of the few surviving guards wrote this account in 1946 as a therapy for his mental breakdown. Publication was not intended. He tells of horrors and cruelties, life-saving and life-destroying deeds by prisoners, guards, and the local population; and then of his slow return to life in Japan. Accepting an offer of a pilgrimage return to North Borneo in 1980, he tells of the memorial service at Tawau and graveyards in Sandakan and his feelings on return to places of bitterness and tragedy. With editor's endnotes, black-and-white photographs, index and the Japanese text.

Historical Dictionary of the Indochina War (1945-1954): An International and Interdisciplinary Approach by Christopher E Goscha. This remarkable work will for long remain a major reference point for anyone concerned with the 1945-54 Indochina War. This had many long-term results including the end of any overt French colonial structures in Indochina. Included are: a chronology, black-and-white photo gallery, maps, overview introductory essays, an apparently exhaustive encyclopaedic dictionary, bibliography, and names, places, events and general indexes.

The Cold War In East Asia, 1945-1991 edited by by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa. The Cold War in East Asia studies Asia as a second front in the Cold War, examining how the six powers-the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Japan, and North and South Korea-interacted one another and forged the conditions that were distinct from the Cold War in Europe. The contributors are among the foremost historians of the new Cold War history, and this book draws on a wide array of newly available archival information in many languages, with particular strength in the use of Russian and Chinese archival material. The Cold War in East Asia shows how as a second front the Cold War in East Asia influenced the shape of the Cold War's first front-the East-West confrontation centering in Europe-and third front in the developing world. Each chapter, while focused on particular countries and particular timespans, situates its story within a broad overview. And the volume stresses the uniqueness of the region's historical experience and explains how it serves as the background to some of the key conflicts in East Asia today. Indexed.

The Korean War by Max Hastings. On 25 June 1950, the invasion of South Korea by the Communist North launched one of the bloodiest conflicts of the last century. The seemingly limitless power of the Chinese-backed North was thrown against the ferocious firepower of the UN-backed South in a war that can be seen today as the stark prelude to Vietnam. Max Hastings drew on first-hand accounts of those who fought on both sides to produce this vivid and incisive reassessment of the Korean War, bringing the military and human dimensions into sharp focus. Critically acclaimed on publication, "The Korean War" remains the best narrative history of this conflict. With bibliography, references and index.

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