By the summer of 1944 it was clear that Japan's defeat was inevitable, but how the drive to victory would be achieved remained unclear. The ensuing drama - that ended in Japan's utter devastation - was acted out across the vast theater of Asia in massive clashes between army, air, and naval forces. In recounting these extraordinary events, Max Hastings draws incisive portraits of MacArthur, Mao, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and other key figures of the war in the East. But he is equally adept in his portrayals of the ordinary soldiers and sailors caught in the bloodiest of campaigns. With its piercing and convincing analysis, Retribution is a brilliant telling of an epic conflict from a master military historian at the height of his powers.
©2007 Max Hastings (P)2008 Random House Audio
Simon Vance does an excellent job. The book is fantastic and a must read (listen) for anyone interested in the Pacific War. Read along with Neptune's Inferno, Retribution caps an awe inspiring and essential learning experience.
Mr. Hastings brings details and the lives involved within stories I've heard often to life. I will definitely be looking for more of his objective, informative and interesting work.
This is excellent historical analysis of the Pacific conflict in 1944-45. Max Hastings does a wonderful job of bringing in other theaters of conflict such as Burma, China and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria.
Interested in all periods of Japanese history, especially, at least for now, the Pacific War.
Illuminating, Clear, Inspiring
As we go further away from the Pacific War - now about 70 plus years - new works are coming out all the time. Because of that, it is hard to find comparisons to this work.
None really stand out in my mind although, when I first heard Mr Vance go into character, I was both surprised and delighted.
Chapter 19 and its crystal clear summary of the events that lead to the dropping of the atomic bomb. There are so many wild and whacky revisions swirling around the decision to drop the bombs and Mr Hastings’ work confidently deals with these theories with his use of historical records and facts and puts emotional opinions aside. He does what good historians do, and that is getting inside the heads of the decision makers of the period bases on primary sources. I recommend his whole work, but if you can only read one chapter, that chapter should not be missed.
Mr Vance’s Japanese pronunciation was not perfect and at times it was irritating but overall was better then some of the other readers I have come across.
I recommend this book to everyone who wants to have a ride into and through the period and the huge events that still echo in the country I have called home for over forty years… Japan!
I like this author and I wasn't disappointed. Rather than the standard linear/chronological approach, Hastings weaves a consistent thematic approach with many first person accounts--especially from the Japanese view point. New insights about The Bomb are particularly insightful and still relevant today.
Addresses US use of Atomic Bomb without the biased "facts" normally used by advocates/opponents in supporting their opinion of the morale argument to use/withhold the A-Bomb in Hiroshima & Nagasaki at conclusion of World War II. Excellent insight into Japaneese internal politics and this book is definitely a must read for WWII aficionados.
The first three quarters of the book are very good. The last quarter is marred by interminable hand-wringing about the use of the atomic bomb. The author seems to have a neurosis about this topic. It ruins what would otherwise have been a fine effort.
Dear Max Hastings: Just tell us what happened. We, the readers, can draw our own ethical conclusions; we don't need you to beat us over the head.
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