• War Without Mercy

  • Race and Power in the Pacific War
  • By: John W. Dower
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

War Without Mercy has been hailed by the New York Times as "one of the most original and important books to be written about the war between Japan and the United States." In this monumental history, professor John Dower reveals a hidden, explosive dimension of the Pacific War - race - while writing what John Toland has called "a landmark book...a powerful, moving, and evenhanded history that is sorely needed in both America and Japan."

Drawing on American and Japanese songs, slogans, cartoons, propaganda films, secret reports, and a wealth of other documents of the time, Dower opens up a whole new way of looking at that bitter struggle of four and a half decades ago and its ramifications in our lives today. As Edwin O. Reischauer, former ambassador to Japan, has pointed out, this book offers "a lesson that the postwar generations need most...with eloquence, crushing detail, and power."

©1986 John W. Dower (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"One of the most original and important books to be written about the war between Japan and the United States." ( New York Times)

What listeners say about War Without Mercy

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  • 07-29-19

Revisionist history

Paints WWII America as racially motivated to go to war and kill Japanese. Revisionist history.

9 people found this helpful

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Framed by the Cold War

The first two chapters and the final chapter are the strong points of this book, everything else verging on old sociology class lectures one tends to put in the trash bin of the brain until confronted by that style of history thirty plus years later. There's plenty of gang related studies, studies of cartoons, newspaper treatment of the Japanese, folk tale renderings of the Americans in Japanese culture... but it doesn't add up to a compelling story. Being an us vs. them format, Dower doesn't delve into Japanese race relations with the Chinese to any significant degree, a major whoopsie, to me, considering the devastation the Japanese brought to China. He mentions the Australians in passing, the British rather more so and with the Brits he had a chance to really lay it on thick with their history of class snobbery and denigration of any culture not that of Albion. He chooses to skate on by that rich trove of racist history, however, which I feel would have elevated the material significantly. Finishing up with what amounts to an op ed column for an afterword, focused on then current race viewpoints of Americans toward the Japanese framed by WW2, it's definitely got a stale, cold coffee taste to it.

The narrator goes at it fast and furious, by the way. You may find yourself rewinding quite a bit.

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War without Mercy

This book is historical revisionism without mercy. Main thesis is that the Japanese and Americans were at least equally racist, and often the US (simply because they were more powerful) was the most racist. Utter drivel blaming the US for everything and giving the Japanese a pass despite their overall aggression, the rape of Nanking and Pearl Harbor. I got my money back.

24 people found this helpful