The powerful and riveting new audiobook in the multimillion-selling Killing series by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard.
Autumn 1944. World War II is nearly over in Europe but is escalating in the Pacific, where American soldiers face an opponent who will go to any length to avoid defeat. The Japanese army follows the samurai code of Bushido, stipulating that surrender is a form of dishonor.
Killing the Rising Sun takes listeners to the bloody tropical-island battlefields of Peleliu and Iwo Jima and to the embattled Philippines, where General Douglas MacArthur has made a triumphant return and is plotting a full-scale invasion of Japan. Across the globe in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team of scientists are preparing to test the deadliest weapon known to mankind. In Washington, DC, FDR dies in office, and Harry Truman ascends to the presidency only to face the most important political decision in history: whether to use that weapon. And in Tokyo, Emperor Hirohito, who is considered a deity by his subjects, refuses to surrender despite a massive and mounting death toll.
Told in the same pause-resistant style of Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, Killing Patton, and Killing Reagan, this epic saga details the final moments of World War II like never before.
©2016 Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard (P)2016 Macmillan Audio
I have read a great many books about World War II including books covering the German-Russian part of the conflict, the Western Allies invasion of France in 1944 and the war in the Pacific Theater and am thus very familiar with the major events leading to the defeat of Germany, Italy and Japan. When I buy more books concerning the war I look for something different from what I already know - perhaps something centering on the politics of the war, or perhaps a book on the efforts to successfully complete the Manhattan Project. Mr O’Reilly’s book turns out to be a rather light skimming of the last year of the war with some needed concentration on how brutal the war against Japan became and the reasons for that violence, but brings little new information.
Perhaps the best parts of this book are the concentrations on the efforts of the Marines to conquer the Pacific Islands, an explanation as to just how difficult those battles were, how little quarter was given by either side to the other and the terrible estimates that those in charge of the invasions made concerning how much effort it would take to conquer places like Peleliu and Iwo Jima as well as a description of just how much suffering the atom bombs caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The latter is especially hard to listen to, but is balanced by details about both the Japanese atrocities in China and against US prisoners of war including the execution of some American POWs after the war against Japan had ended.
However, much of the rest of the book seems superficial and much information is missing. While this book may be a very good read for those who have not already read much on the Pacific Theater in World War II there is little here that will add to information those well read on the subject will already have and some of the information is either incorrect or misleading. Some examples:
Mr O’Reilly makes a point that the invasion of the Pacific Islands are “unique” in that the troops involved in the invasion had to travel 4000 miles from the US rather than the 20 miles from England to Normandy, but completely ignores the amphibious invasions of North Africa (Operation Torch) where some US troops sailed from the US rather than from England and thus covered a similar distance to the landings. Thus the Pacific Landings were not “unique” in the distances covered.
Mr O’Reilly makes a statement that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor led to the US declaration of war against Japan and Germany. This is incorrect as the Pearl Harbor attack only led to a US declaration of war against Japan. The US did not declare war on Germany until Germany, 4 days later, declared war on the US.
Mr O’Reilly makes the statement that Douglas MacArthur, in this 5 star rank, was the ranking general on both sides of the war. While he did rank above Dwight Eisenhower his date of rank, and thus his seniority, placed him below George Marshall.
Aside from the incorrect statements in the book the most annoying thing for me was an omission. Mr O’Reilly covers the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan and the subsequent dithering of the Japanese on the subject of surrender and the decision as to whether or not to continue the bombing campaign, but makes no mention of whether there were any more atomic bombs to drop. I have seen several statements that there were, and there were not, additional atomic bombs available and it would have been nice to have had some kind of historic statement in a book concerning whether or not those bombs were actually available.
While the book is interesting reading I can only recommend it for those with no prior knowledge of the Pacific Theater in World War II. Whose who have already read about the Pacific war will find little or nothing really new here, however I have no hesitation in recommending it to those not already familiar with the Pacific war. Just understand that this is not a deep look into the war but rather a surface reading of those events. The narration is first class.
As a woman, I don't really do war stories or movies. However, due to the excellent reviews on this book and knowing that I was sorely lacking in my knowledge of World War II history, I decided to venture on. Early on in the book, I almost quit due to the gruesome descriptions that are reality in war. I'm glad I didn't. The book filled in gaping holes in my knowledge of WW II. It is an excellent book, the narrator is wonderful, and I highly recommend it.
I kept finding myself expecting Bill Riley's voice. The orator was great through. I'm 58 but These books makes me think of high school, I feel like I've wasted many years in fiction where what I really find is that I love history,or historical novels. I wish I could have found this love a long time ago. Thank you for making history come alive for me. I think this book and the other Bill Riley books might help high school teachers share with students in a really fresh and alive way. Maybe I'll gift one or more to Our High school: Marysville Pilchuck High School in WA
I'm only on chapter 4 but the story so far is great, as expected. Part of the wonderful story telling in the "Killing" series the narration by Bill O'Reilly. I love his tone, inflection and the passion that comes across in his voice by telling the story he helped pen. It's just not the same with a different narrator.
One sided view of the war with Japan. O'reilly doesnt understand the history or political structure of Japan, especially the role of a Japanese Emperor who has never held any real power ever. Really is no point for him to write this book..plenty of others just like it...sick of all the stupid read footnotes...put that info the form of a paragraph or leave it out. His Killing Lincoln and Kennedy books were great since they encompassed a short period of time with a smaller cast..but this is too broad a subject to tackle in this style with ssoooooooo much background involved it would take him a decade of research that he is not commited to ...
PLOT: Truman and the events that lead up the making and dropping of the atom bombs.
Harry Truman "inherited" the office of the President when FDR died. He also learns of the biggest secret of the war ...the Manhatten Project. The making of 2 bombs....one uranium and one plutonium. It also reviewed the Japanese side. How the Emperor Hirohito was considered a "GOD" and the military leaders who lead Japan on the road to war. The first hour lags a little but picks up as Truman heads to meeting of the big 3 in Potsdam. We also get to view General MacArthur who did not get along with Truman. At times this book is very intense, in the graphic details of rape and killing on both sides. But a revealing look at how bad the atrocities by the Japanese were to the Chinese, British and Americans and to anyone in their way. There is also a close up look at the actual Team who developed the bomb (Scientists). Truman who made the fateful decision to go ahead results in not only the end of the war but the dawn of the atomic bombs which changes the balance of power. This is a very good book. A close up view of history that still influences life today. One of the better readers...5 STARS ~
It is amazing how much we, not just as a nation but as a people, think we know about history. Throw away those school books that have been sanitized, heavily edited or just erased history because it was politically incorrect or inappropriate. History is not pretty, it is not glamorous as we are lead to believe by the portrayal of our "Heros" in song or Hollywood. This book throws that narrative out the window and replaces it with reality, with real people, real incidents. It is History not glamorous, it is not sanitized or revised. Bill O'Reilly has given us a look at the bloodshed, the loss of life, dignity and indignity suffered by our soldiers and the unwitting populations that are caught in between a war they had no part in but were forced to endure. He takes us into many of the battles fought on lonely beaches, jungles, giving us a blow by blow discription of what man can and does do to man. Read it and think of the politicians and generals, the fools that seek glory in the political arena and the battlefield at the cost of those soldiers lives. These men and women, young and old answered the call to war, some as young as 16, 17, 18...they went into battle against impossible odds, against all fear and rationale to fight for freedom and love of country. Think of the tremendous sacrifices of mind, body, limbs and life of these brave souls then try to hide behind the politics of it all. Yes this war was as much about politics as it was about freedom and tyranny. It is because of these soldiers, men and women, their families that we continue to retain the freedoms we so callously live in and enjoy today. After reading this book, go out and thank a Veteran, a Soldier a First Responder who are still fighting on the front lines to maintain that freedom and keep us safe. American is not perfect but it is the country that we live in thanks to the brave men and women of the past, present and future. And Thank you Bill O'Reilly. I thought I knew history...shame on me. I too am guilty of accepting many of the sanitized versions we have been fed. It is a mistake that I readily admit and will attmpt to rectify. Parents and teachers, talk to your children, your students, have them read or listen to the book, then engage in conversation with them, do not allow our history to be diluted or deleted any further. We are doing our children a grave disservice to allow that to continue.
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