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Above all else, the Japanese invasion of China was a major tragedy for China. Millions of lives were affected, civilians and soldiers alike. The war deeply scarred China and effects East Asian geopolitics to this day.
Mitter, an Oxford historian tells the tale fairly and squarely through Chinese eyes. Mitter pulls no punches: Japan was the aggressor and China was the victim. He has no kind words either for the Western powers (UK and USA) who stood by while Japan ravaged the country.
Chang Kai Shek is portrayed as a leader who simply refused to surrender against insurmountable odds in a war he did not want to fight. Chiang made numerous tactical and humanitarian mistakes, but based on this account, Chiang should be lauded as a hero in China for saving the nation.
Excellent and very useful book, describing the ghastly war history and experiences of China, during their 8 year WW2. Well worth reading, to get another perspective of the war in the far, far east; one we generally know much less about but has relevance even today. Well worth reading.
Excellent book, I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the parts where the author used excerpts from private diaries of key figures such as Chiang Kai Shek and his confidants adds a very personal element into how they viewed the war situations individually. I'd say the author is pretty unbiased in this book and helps paint a picture from both the Nationalists, Communists and western powers' perspectives. Definitely get this book and give it a read if you want to learn more about this particular theatre, which is very often overlooked or very downplayed in Western education and media. The contributions made by the Chinese in their effort on refusing to surrender and resist for 8 painful years while lagging behind the Japanese in tech, training and economics greatly shaped the Asian theatre of WW2.
The author focuses on the key players: the national leaders and military generals. He devotes less time on the ravished citizens, probably because the records of ordinary folks are sparse. Nonetheless, the narrative has opened my eyes. I hadn't realized how comprehensively the Western Allies left the Chinese to fend for itself against the Japanese invaders.
As the title suggests, we really had no idea how crucial China was in holding down so many Japanese units, keeping them occupied. They did this at a dreadful cost to themselves which, I think, was never properly acknowledged because of the hostility toward the Chinese government after the war. this book gives credit where credit is due.
Yes, it is a good book. Reasonable account about modern Chinese history. I came from Asia and was educated with partial modern history. Writer got a fairer view of what happened. It is a tragedy in human history.