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Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq


Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq Cover

ISBN13: 9780393340686
ISBN10: 0393340686
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Over recent decades, John W. Dower, one of America's preeminent historians, has addressed the roots and consequences of war from multiple perspectives. In (1986), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, he described and analyzed the brutality that attended World War II in the Pacific, as seen from both the Japanese and the American sides. (1999), winner of numerous honors including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, dealt with Japan's struggle to start over in a shattered land in the immediate aftermath of the Pacific War, when the defeated country was occupied by the U.S.-led Allied powers. Turning to an even larger canvas, Dower now examines the cultures of war revealed by four powerful events--Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, and the invasion of Iraq in the name of a war on terror. The list of issues examined and themes explored is wide-ranging: failures of intelligence and imagination, wars of choice and "strategic imbecilities," faith-based secular thinking as well as more overtly holy wars, the targeting of noncombatants, and the almost irresistible logic--and allure--of mass destruction. Dower's new work also sets the U.S. occupations of Japan and Iraq side by side in strikingly original ways. One of the most important books of this decade, offers comparative insights into individual and institutional behavior and pathologies that transcend "cultures" in the more traditional sense, and that ultimately go beyond war-making alone.


Finalist for the 2010 National Book Award in Nonfiction and the Book Prize: "A thought-provoking . . . book about the way events echo--and mis-echo--down the corridors of history."--

About the Author

John W. Dower is the author of Embracing Defeat, winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; War without Mercy, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Cultures of War. He is professor emeritus of history at MIT. In addition to authoring many books and articles about Japan and the United States in war and peace, he is a founder and codirector of the online "Visualizing Cultures" project established at MIT in 2002 and dedicated to the presentation of image-driven scholarship on East Asia in the modern world. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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civility, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by civility)
Arrogance kills. That is the central message revealed in John Dower's perceptive linkage of four pivotal world events spanning the last 70 years. It may take a while, but the result is predictable. Dower clarifies how arrogance is the central weakness in the culture of war that plagues modern powers, including but not limited to the United States. He documents in stark terms how adversaries in major confrontations--where circumstances would seem to offer success--turn sour under the blindness of arrogance: the belief that one's own power and ligitimacy are clearly superior to another, but without real justification. Sadly, the United States manifests this achilles heel despite remarkable achievement in World War II. Pearl Harbor,exclusive initial dominance in atomic weaponry, suffering unprecedented terrorist attacks and deliberate initiation of a severely debilitating war paint a painful picture for this world power. Understanding this common thread running through our recent past is highly enlightening and may yet provide insights necessary to find our true position in the world of the 21st century. Of course, that would require the (mostly men) who shape such decisions to grasp the wisdom of Dower's insight and imbed it in their own thinking and actions. This is required reading for those who allege to lead our nation and anyone else who aspires to influencing them. Dower provides a powerful public service by at least laying the pattern out for all to see who which to grasp the point and benefit from it. The next step is up to us.
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Product Details

Dower, John W.
W. W. Norton & Company
Military-World War II General
Military-US Military General
Publication Date:
122 black-and-white illustrations
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Military » General
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » Iraq War (2003-)
History and Social Science » Military » US Military » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Sale Books

Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq New Trade Paper
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$18.95 In Stock
Product details 640 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393340686 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Finalist for the 2010 National Book Award in Nonfiction and the Book Prize: "A thought-provoking . . . book about the way events echo--and mis-echo--down the corridors of history."--
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