Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China and Director of the China Centre at Oxford University. His books include Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937–1945 and A Bitter Revolution: China’s Struggle with the Modern World. (December 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

Barbarians Out!

A patriotic propaganda poster showing the Chinese people oppressed by warlords and imperialism, mid-1920s

Out of China: How the Chinese Ended the Era of Western Domination

by Robert Bickers
Just as Donald Trump was being inaugurated last January, the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, declared: “Western-style democracy used to be a recognized power in history to drive social development. But now it has reached its limits.” Two years earlier, China’s education minister, Yuan Guiren, told …

The Smooth Path to Pearl Harbor

Prince Konoe Fumimaro dressed as Adolf Hitler at a costume party in the spring of 1937, shortly before he was named Japan’s prime minister

Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

by Eri Hotta
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?