The Pacific War 1941-1945
By Francis Pike
ISBN 9781472596703 | Hardback | 1152 pages
Bloomsbury Academic | RRP AU$49.99
Australian buyers: Try QBD – where it is available at the RRP, probably on order, not stocked. Link here
Francis Pike writes in the introduction to this commanding 1,152 page narrative that the main aim of writing Hirohito’s War was ‘to present a balanced, comprehensive and readable one-volume narrative of the conflict’.
Pike offers an original interpretation, balancing the existing Western-centric view with attention to the Japanese perspective on the conflict. As well as giving a ‘blow-by-blow’ account of campaigns and battles, he offers many challenges to the standard interpretations with regards to the causes of the war; Emperor Hirohito’s war guilt; the inevitability of US victory; the abilities of General MacArthur and Admiral Yamamoto; the role of China, Great Britain and Australia; military and naval technology; and the need for the fire-bombing of Japan and the eventual use of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This is a substantial work, which is clearly the outcome of a significant research effort. It’s not a book to absorb in one sitting. Nevertheless it is highly readable and follows a logical chronology that will make sense to the reader. It’s worth noting that the maps, appendices and notes have not been included in the book; instead they are available online, so have your iPad or laptop handy when you are reading it.
ONLINE RESOURCES FOR THE BOOK
Hirohito’s War is accompanied by additional online resources, including more details on logistics, economics, POWs, submarines and kamikaze, as well as a 1930-1945 timeline and 178 maps at this link.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Francis Pike studied history at Cambridge and is an historian and economic and geopolitical adviser. He lived and worked for 20 years in Japan, China and India and has advised financial institutions as well as governments in Japan, Australia, India, China, and Singapore. His earlier book, Empires at War: A Short History of Modern Asia since World War II was published in 2009.