The Smooth Path to Pearl Harbor

In Asia, the legacy of 1945 is unfinished business. Understanding the reasons for Japan’s decision to go to war in the Pacific has an urgency that goes beyond the purely historical. Fortunately, Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy, by the Japanese historian Eri Hotta, proves an outstanding guide to that devastating decision. In lucid prose, Hotta meticulously examines a wide range of primary documents in Japanese to answer the question: Why did Japan find itself on the brink of war in December 1941?

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