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Mrs Fergusons Tea-set, Japan and the Second World War Hardcover – November 9, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: BRILL/Global Oriental; 1st edition (November 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905246285
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905246281
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,748,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Prior to this book the strands of the story recounted here were scattered though the 1940 intelligence coup by the Germans has been known since the 1950s. Many thanks to the author for investing the time, skill and patience to pull the disparate strands together in one book. This book was originally intended for a Japanese audience but was first published in English which may explain what I suspect are translation/proofing quirks.

There are also some trifling errors but they do not change the basic facts identified in the book: in late 1940 the Japanese came to possess the August 1940 British Chiefs of Staff Appreciation of Far Eastern Strategy which detailed the forces and strategies of the British in the Far East. How that happened is another of the remarkable happenstances of war and history and wonderfully described in great detail.

The important consideration, then, is how that affected subsequent Japanese strategy. After several days of thinking about this I revised this section of my original review. The COS Appreciation certainly laid out in detail the weakness of the British position and exposed the empty bluster of any threats they might make to the Japanese in 1941. Thus the document in Japanese hands could only have stimulated further Japanese aggression and accelerated their timing, but with what targets in mind?

It was the Japanese occupation of southern Indochina in July 1941 that triggered the near total oil embargo which further accelerated the pace to open hostilities. The COS Appreciation indicated beforehand to the Japanese that if they took that action there would be no serious reactions from the British.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I was a child, my mother told me a story about my British uncle who served on the Automedon, was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1940, and served 4.5 years in a POW camp. She also mentioned his specific role in the events which led to the surface raider Atlantis shelling the ship, capturing the crew, and eventually scuttling the Automedon. For several years, I've looked for confirmation of what she told me but could could never find it.

Thanks to Mr. Seki's research I now have the confirmation I've been looking for. His details, including mentioning my uncle by name and his role, confirm exactly what my Mom told me over 40 years ago. I am very happy with my purchase for this reason.

The book itself is really written for Japanese readers, to make them understand how this seemingly insignificant event led to the formation of Japan's Pacific war plans, and ultimate defeat in 1945. Much of the book is concerned with events that most students of WWII would already know. However, there is little appreciation, outside of Great Britain, of what actually transpired on the Automedon before and during the attack, and the consequences of this attack on Britain, Japan, and the world in general. Mr. Seki provides these details in a very simple to read and entertaining manuscript, at least in my opinion.
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