Whanganuilibrary.com
Normal view MARC view ISBD view

Cultures of war : Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq / John W. Dower.

By: Dower, John W, 1938-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : W.W. Norton : New Press, c2010Edition: First edition.Description: xxxvii, 596 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780393061505 (hardcover); 0393061507 (hardcover).Subject(s): War and society -- United States | Strategic culture -- United States | World War, 1939-1945 | September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001 | Iraq War, 2003-2011 | United States -- History, Military -- 20th century | United States -- History, Military -- 21st century | United States -- Military policyDDC classification: 355.00973 | 303.66 Summary: A groundbreaking comparative study of the dynamics and pathologies of war in modern times. Over recent decades, Pulitzer-winning historian John W. Dower has addressed the roots and consequences of war from multiple perspectives. Here he 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 also sets the U.S. occupations of Japan and Iraq side by side in strikingly original ways. He 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.--From publisher description.
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
Fiction notes: Click to open in new window
    average rating: 0.0 (0 votes)
Item type Current location Collection Call number Copy number Status Date due
Non-Fiction Davis (Central) Library
Non-Fiction
Non-Fiction 355.00973 DOW 1 Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Over recent decades, John W. Dower, one of America's preeminent historians, has addressed the roots and consequences of war from multiple perspectives. In War Without Mercy (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. Embracing Defeat (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, Cultures of War 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.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

A groundbreaking comparative study of the dynamics and pathologies of war in modern times. Over recent decades, Pulitzer-winning historian John W. Dower has addressed the roots and consequences of war from multiple perspectives. Here he 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 also sets the U.S. occupations of Japan and Iraq side by side in strikingly original ways. He 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.--From publisher description.

11 96 135

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • List of Illustrations (p. xiii)
  • Preface: The Evolution of an Inquiry (p. xix)
  • Acknowledgments (p. xxxv)
  • Part I ôPearl Harborö As Code Wars of Choice and Failures of Intelligence
  • 1 Infamy and the Cracked Mirror of History (p. 3)
  • ôPearl Harborö As Code (p. 4)
  • The Boomerang of ôPearl Harborö (p. 14)
  • 2 The Failure of Intelligence (p. 22)
  • Prelude to Pearl Harbor (p. 22)
  • Prelude to 9-II (p. 27)
  • Postmortems: Pearl Harbor (p. 34)
  • Postmortems: 9-II (p. 38)
  • 3 The Failure of Imagination (p. 42)
  • ôLittle Yellow Sons-of-Bitchesö (p. 42)
  • Rationality, Desperation, and Risk (p. 50)
  • Aiding and Abetting the Enemy (p. 53)
  • ôThis Little Terrorist in Afghanistanö (p. 57)
  • 4 Innocence, Evil, and Amnesia (p. 62)
  • Catastrophe and the Transfer of Innocence (p. 62)
  • Evil and the Transfer of Evil (p. 68)
  • Amnesia and Frankenstein's Monster (p. 74)
  • Evil Where the Price Is Worth It (p. 87)
  • 5 Wars of Choice and Strategic Imbecilities (p. 95)
  • Pearl Harbor and ôOperation Iraqi Freedomö (p. 95)
  • The Emperor System and Imperial Presidency (p. 101)
  • Choosing War (p. 111)
  • Strategic Imbecilities (p. 115)
  • Deception and Delusion (p. 125)
  • Victory Disease and the Gates of Hell (p. 132)
  • 6 ôPearl Harborö as Godsend (p. 138)
  • Part II Ground Zero 1945 and Ground Zero 2001 Terror and Mass Destruction
  • 7 ôHiroshimaö as Code (p. 151)
  • 8 Air War and Terror Bombing in World War II (p. 162)
  • Ghost Cities (p. 162)
  • Extirpating ôNoncombatantsö (p. 166)
  • ôIncreasing the Terrorö In Germany (p. 171)
  • Targeting Japan (p. 175)
  • Firebombing the Great Cities (p. 179)
  • ôBurn Jobsö and ôSecondary Targetsö (p. 184)
  • Morale, Shock, and Psychological Warfare (p. 187)
  • 9 ôThe Most Terrible Bomb in the History of the Worldö (p. 197)
  • Ground Zeroes, 1945 (p. 197)
  • Anticipating Zero (p. 205)
  • Becoming Death (p. 208)
  • Ending the War and Saving American Lives (p. 212)
  • 10 The Irresistible Logic of Mass Destruction (p. 221)
  • Brute Force (p. 221)
  • August 1945 and the Rejected Alternatives (p. 225)
  • Unconditional Surrender (p. 233)
  • Power Politics and the Cold War (p. 241)
  • Partisan Politics (p. 248)
  • 11 Sweetness, Beauty, and Idealistic Annihilation (p. 251)
  • Scientific Sweetness and Technological Imperatives (p. 252)
  • Technocratic Momentum and the War Machine (p. 257)
  • The Aesthetics of Mass Destruction (p. 268)
  • Revenge (p. 275)
  • Idealistic Annihilation (p. 281)
  • 12 New Evils in the World: 1945/2001 (p. 286)
  • Evil Beyond Recall (p. 286)
  • Arrogating God (p. 289)
  • Holy War Against the West: Seisen and Jihad (p. 294)
  • Ground Zeroes: State and Nonstate Terror (p. 299)
  • Managing Savagery (p. 301)
  • Part III Wars and Occupations Winning the Peace, Losing the Peace
  • 13 Occupied Japan and Occupied Iraq (p. 313)
  • Winning the War, Losing the Peace (p. 313)
  • Occupied Japan and the Eye of the Beholder (p. 315)
  • Incommensurable Worlds (p. 318)
  • Planning Postwar Japan (p. 324)
  • Eyes Wide Shut: Occupying Iraq (p. 338)
  • Repudiating Nation Building (p. 346)
  • Baghdad Burning (p. 353)
  • 14 Convergence of a Sort: Law, Justice, and Transgression (p. 359)
  • Jiggering the Law (p. 359)
  • Legal and Illegal Occupation (p. 362)
  • War Crimes and the Ricochet of Victor's Justice (p. 366)
  • Spheres of Influence and the Limbo of Defeated Armies (p. 377)
  • Dissipating Intangible Assets (p. 389)
  • 15 Nation Building and Market Fundamentalism (p. 394)
  • Controls and Capitalisms (p. 394)
  • Corruption and Crime (p. 397)
  • Successful and Disastrous Demilitarization (p. 400)
  • ôGeneralistsö Versus ôArea Expertsö (p. 404)
  • Privatizing Nation Building (p. 408)
  • Rendering Iraq ôOpen For Businessö (p. 413)
  • Aid In Two Eras (p. 418)
  • Combating Carpetbagging in an Earlier Time (p. 429)
  • Mixed Legacies in an Age of Forgetting (p. 431)
  • Epilogue: Fools' Errands and Fools' Gold (p. 437)
  • Secular Priesthoods and Faith-Based Policies (p. 437)
  • Fools' Errands (p. 443)
  • Fools' Gold (p. 446)
  • Notes (p. 453)
  • Illustration Credits (p. 553)
  • Index (p. 557)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

This Pulitzer Prize-winning author critically examines American military history, leadership strategies, and foreign policies since 1941, noting parallels and differences between past and contemporary wars. (LJ 9/1/10) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

In this fascinating study, a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award, Pulitzer prize-wining historian Dower (Embracing Defeat) draws parallels between the illusion-ridden Japanese top leadership prior to December 7, 1941 and the fecklessness and over-confidence of the Bush Administration after September 11, 2001. The author compares the post-war occupations as well, stating that "Wishful thinking trumped rational analysis in Tokyo in 1941 and Washington in the run-up to war with Iraq." Exploring "the similar rationales and rhetoric of Japan's war of choice in 1941 and America's [invasion of Iraq] in 2003," he looks at the way in which emotion-laden terms like "Pearl Harbor" and "ground zero" have been co-opted for the War against Terror. And similarly mistaken, in Dower's view, were the beliefs of both commands in the efficacy of bombings targeting civilian populations. Equally telling is his comparison between the occupation of Japan (and to a lesser extent, Germany) and the occupation of Iraq. After Japan's surrender, the U.S. military formulated a set of pre-determined goals based upon New Deal principles that laid the groundwork for Japan's extraordinary economic recovery. In Dower's view, the U.S. not only abdicated responsibility for the Iraqi occupation, but ignored the potential of the sectarian divisions that have erupted there. (Sept.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

CHOICE Review

Dower (emer., MIT), author of over a dozen books, mostly concerning the history of Japan, has produced an exceedingly impressive study that compares the events surrounding Pearl Harbor with the most recent US adventure in Iraq. Dower examines how Americans reacted to both surprise attacks (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), how failures in communication in both instances led to catastrophic results, and how the government dealt with the postwar challenges in Japan from 1945 to 1952 and in Iraq from 2003 to the present. Dower's knowledge of Japan's postwar history is impressive, but he also brings a sophisticated understanding to the actions of President Bush and his advisers in their poorly planned response to the post-Saddam era in Iraq. Dower is highly critical of Bush's faith-based policy approach to helping Iraq transition to a new independent country. This is a highly recommended and exceptionally well-done comparative history working with large themes and complex issues. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. E. A. Goedeken Iowa State University

Booklist Review

This somber tome compares Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941 and that of America's to attack Iraq in 2003. In addition to assessing what planners were thinking, Dower analyzes how they came to believe their war would be both short and victorious. Indicting a range of intelligence deficiencies and bureaucratic breakdowns in each case, Dower critiques most cogently the cultural and even emotional mind-sets of the strategists. In both cases, he argues, a sense of injured innocence, an apocalyptic fear of the consequences of inaction, and contempt for the opponent prevailed, reinforced by selective appropriations of history. Dower particularly indicts proponents of invading Iraq for the analogy made to the American occupation of Japan Dower is an expert on the subject (Embracing Defeat, 1999). In extended corollaries to his main subject, Dower also discusses the firebombing of Japanese cities, the atomic attacks of 1945, and the destruction of the World Trade Center in terms of psychology, symbolism, and morality. A forceful indictment of warlike attitudes, Dower's work will spark debate about history and the Iraq War.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Awardwinning historian Dower (Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, 1999, etc.) draws astute ironies between Pearl Harbor and 9/11 in terms of the overweening arrogance of military superpowers.The author moves back and forth between these two definitive eras in history, providing a brilliant examination of the willful self-delusion and selective reasoning involved in the highest levels of decision makingfrom Japan's spectacularly ill-advised bombing of Pearl Harbor to the Bush Administration's bundling of "weapons of mass destruction" and Osama bin Laden as justification for invasion of Iraq. Dower is intensely interested in the language of war, specifically the "code" words that prime the propaganda pumpe.g., "infamy," as used to ignite public opinion against the enemy by both presidents Roosevelt and Bush; "ground zero," evoked after the atomic bombs dropped on Japan and then after 9/11, underscoring in both incidences the terrible momentum of modern weaponry and the deliberate targeting of noncombatants; and "occupying power," a term that morphed from carrying a benevolent connotation in postwar Japan to the malevolent quagmire that ensued in Iraq. The author traces the "groupthink" mentality through the faulty, blinkered rationale by the Japanese warlords as well as the Islamists and the Americans. Most presciently, Dower looks at America's creation of what the late Benazir Bhutto called a "Frankenstein's monster" in the Middle Eastthe sanctimonious preaching of democracy and justice on one hand, and the practice of supporting tyrannical regimes and military intervention on the other. The myth of American innocence and victimization ("Pearl Harbor," "9/11") is shattered by the baleful effects of terror bombing, torture (Abu Ghraib) and racismwhat Dower calls a "profound failure of imagination" in thinking that the "little yellow men" and the "little Muslim sons-of-bitches" could execute such ingenious attacks.An unrelenting, incisive, masterly comparative study.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.