Synopses & Reviews
Americans are accustomed to thinking that World War II ended on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered unconditionally. Yet on the mainland of Asia, in the vast arc stretching from Manchuria to Burma, peace was a brief, fretful interlude. In some parts of Asia, such as Java and Southern Indonesia, only a few weeks passed before new fighting broke out between nationalist forces and the former colonial powers. In China, a fragile and incomplete peace lasted only a few months, and peace fared no better in Northern Indochina and Korea.
The result was years of grim and bitter struggles, during which many suffered far more greatly than they had during the war itself. In the Ruins of Empire is a sequel to the author's well-known Eagle Against the Sun. In it, Ronald Spector describes how Vietnamese farmers struggled to survive another war with the French, while U.S. soldiers and marines were amazed to find themselves sent to China and Korea instead of back to their hometowns. In the meantime, five million Japanese soldiers, farmers, and diplomats who were stranded on mainland Asia found themselves in new roles as insurgents, victims, mercenaries, and peacekeepers.
Much of the material in this book has never been published before, and it casts new and startling light on events that shook the countries of Asia. Spector examines recently released material on these events from Soviet and Chinese archives and two top secret intelligence records released by the United States, as well as newly available Japanese documents. In addition, the author chronicles the individual stories of some of the Americans who were sent in to rescue prisoners of war and to tend to the surrender and repatriation of millions of Japanese.
Americans are accustomed to thinking that World War II ended on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered unconditionally. Yet on the mainland of Asia, peace was a brief, fretful interlude. In some parts of Asia, only a few weeks passed before new fighting broke out between nationalist forces and the former colonial powers.
Ronald H. Spector follows up his classic account of the American struggle against the Japanese in World War II with a revealing chronicle of the startling aftermath of this crucial twentieth-century conflict.
About the Author
Ronald H. Spector, a professor of history and international affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He has served in various government positions and was on active duty in the Marine Corps for the periods 1967-1969 and 1983-1984, and he was the first civilian to become director of naval history and the head of the Naval Historical Center. He has served on the faculty of Princeton University and has been a senior Fulbright lecturer in India and Israel. In 1995-1996 he was the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Strategy at the National War College and was the Distinguished Guest Professor at Keio University, Tokyo, in 2000. His publications include Professors of War: The Naval War College and the Development of the Naval Profession; At War at Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century, which received the Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History; After Tet: The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam; and Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan, which won the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Prize for Naval History. Michael Prichard has played several thousand characters during his career. While he has been seen performing over one hundred of them in theater and film, Michael is primarily heard, having recorded well over five hundred full-length books. During his career as a one-man repertory company, he has recorded many series with running characters-including the complete Travis McGee adventures by John D. MacDonald and the complete Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout-as well as series by such masters as Mark Twain, John Cheever, and John Updike. His numerous awards and accolades include an Audie Award for Tears in the Darkness by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman and several AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for At All Costs by Sam Moses and In Nixon's Web by L. Patrick Gray III. Named a Top Ten Golden Voice by SmartMoney magazine, he holds an M.F.A. in theater from the University of Southern California. Michael appears regularly on the professional stage, including as a member of Ray Bradbury's Pandemonium Theatre Company, performing such great roles as Captain Beatty in Fahrenheit 451, which became the second-longest-running production in the Los Angeles area. Bradbury himself dubbed Michael "the finest Beatty in history."