Horror in the East by Laurence Rees
Japan and the Atrocities of World War II

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The question is as searing as it is fundamental to the continuing debate over Japanese culpability in World War II and the period leading up to it: "How could Japanese soldiers have committed such acts of violence against Allied prisoners of war and Chinese civilians?" During the First World War, the Japanese fought on the side of the Allies and treated German POWs with respect and civility. In the years that followed, under Emperor Hirohito, conformity was the norm and the Japanese psyche became one of selfless devotion to country and emperor; soon Japanese soldiers were to engage in mass murder, rape, and even cannibalization of their enemies. Horror in the East examines how this drastic change came about. On the basis of never-before-published interviews with both the victimizers and the victimized, and drawing on never-before-revealed or long-ignored archival records, Rees discloses the full horror of the war in the Pacific, probing the supposed Japanese belief in their own racial superiority, analyzing a military that believed suicide to be more honorable than surrender, and providing what the Guardian calls "a powerful, harrowing account of appalling inhumanity...impeccably researched."

About Laurence Rees

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Laurence Rees is the writer, director and producer of the BBC TV series The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler. The former head of BBC Television History programs, he has specialized for the last twenty years in writing books and making television documentaries about the Nazis and World War II. Previous projects that were both series and books include Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution and World War II Behind Closed Doors. In 2006 Rees won the British Book Award for History Book of the Year for Auschwitz. Educated at Oxford University, he was appointed in 2009 a senior visiting fellow in the International History Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2010 he launched the multimedia website WW2History.com, which won best in class awards in the education and reference categories at the 2011 Interactive Media Awards. He lives in London.

Author Residence: London, England

Author Hometown: London, England
Published April 30, 2009 by Da Capo Press. 184 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Horror, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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This is certainly the most valuable part of the book, although some explanations seem to go to great lengths to mitigate Japanese actions: Americans and British are unequivocally described as holding racist views in dealing with the Japanese, while "the Japanese treated the Chinese so badly" beca...

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BBC History Magazine

Laurence Rees is a doyen of popular Second World War history, responsible for a clutch of BBC documentaries, several books and a website.

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