Showa: A History of Japan, 1944-1953
This is the third book in this series and covers the end of World War II on through the start of the Korean War. As with the other books certain events are interspersed with sections about Shigeru and how he survived the war (minus an arm and various attacks of Malaria), how bad a shape Japan was in at the end of the war and how Shigeru managed to survive and get a good job.
The parts dealing with the war itself include Imphal, the fight for the Central Pacific, the return of MacArthur, what was going on at the home front, the battle of Leyte Gulf, the fall of Italy and Germany, the Potsdam conference and the dropping of the atomic bombs and the end of the war.
One of the most interesting aspects of this part is how the upper ranks considered a noble death (aka banzai or suicide charge) a requirement for any Japanese soldier and how Shigeru and some others didn't really consider that the best thing to do. The soldiers would "die honorably" but they would still be quite dead and unable to carry on the fight.
Shigeru, during this time, ended up becoming friends with a native tribe (in a section called People of the Forest) and how Shigeru himself was basically a nice man who just wanted to relax and not be involved in the fighting.
The American occupation of Japan is then covered and Shigeru's return to Japan to a land of starvation and chaos. The start of the Cold War is discussed along with the start of the Korean War and how Japan rebuilt its economy.
Again, a must-have book.
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