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Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941 Hardcover – 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Kaigun is satisfying for the general reader as well as for the old salt. It is an immensely impressive work of history and scholarship.' - The Japan Times KAIGUN, DAVID EVANS & MARK PEATTIE, 9781848321595, Seaforth Scholarly, but a pleasure to read, comprehensive, excellent and well used illustrations. Naval- History --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

DAVID EVANS, who holds a master's degree in Japanese, taught at the University of Richmond, Virginia, where he was Professor of History and Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. MARK PEATTIE was for many years Research Fellow at the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard, and has written extensively on Japan. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 661 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; 1 edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870211927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870211928
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.4 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on March 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A few years ago I read a short book on the Pacific War written by H.P. Wilmott. For those who don't know of him, Wilmott taught at Sandhurst for many years, and is probably one of the top two or three historians of the Pacific War. At the end of the book there was an annotated bibliography. I always like this, as opposed to a regular bibliography, because the annotations tell you what the author thinks of various sources, and that in turn tells you something about his thinking. But sometimes the recommendation is more direct: you trust the author, and he tells you something is worthwhile. In this instance, he said that he wasn't sure how Pacific War historians got along before the book Kaigun was published. Needless to say I went out and got one. It's not a cheap book, there aren't used copies cheaper, there's no paperback available. It's still worth every penny, and I will tell you below why you need it.

There are, of course, a bushel and a half of books about the war in the Pacific during World War II. Many of them note that the Japanese fought the war in an unusual fashion, and most note differences in technology, strategy, tactics, and philosophy. Some of these things are vaguely explained by the differences in Western and Japanese society, but at best the explanations are vague. This leaves a huge gap in the history of the Pacific War.

Kaigun fills this gap. The authors basically explain every question of this type involving the Japanese Navy in World War II, from why their cruisers had long ranged torpedoes to why their navy's intelligence was so poor to why they insisted in planning as if the American Navy would act in particular ways (even after it had demonstrated that it would act in other ways).
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Parshall on December 5, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I did some of the illustrations for the book, so maybe I am biased, but this book will be read by people interested in this area of naval history for years to come. David Evans and Mark Peattie have researched this work meticulously, (including using previously untranslated Japanese primary sources from the Japanese Self-Defense Force archives) to construct a view of the changing inter-workings of technology, strategy, and tactics in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The writing is excellent, the layout is elegant, and the maps and illustrations (ahem) are superb. The book also contains excellent back-matter in the endnotes, bibliography, and index. A MUST for any serious student of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Tom Munro on February 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kaigun Strategy is a book that I had a lot of trouble putting down. This is perhaps strange for a book which discusses things such as the development of dry steam as a more efficient mode of propulsion, change in the composition of steel as it related to battleship construction and other very technical subjects. In a way the book said a lot about the Pacific War that had been said before. Yet in a way it was as startling revelation of the development of Japanese Society from the Meiji Restoration to the end of the second World War. The book is a discussion about the development of Japans Navy. Until 1945 the Japanese spent the staggering amount of 27% of their national budget on the navy. The reason for this lies with the now forgotten writings of Admiral Mahon.
Mahon was an American who in his day was as famous as Marx and Lenin. He wrote a history of sea power a book that argued that the reason for the wealth of great nations was the control of an empire through control of the sea. The Japanese were converts to his doctrines and being an island power thought that the key to the national destiny was the acquisition of empire. Kaigun Strategy is a study of how the Japanese Navy tried to develop a navy that would give them preponderance over that of the much stronger American Navy. The book goes into great detail about how the Japanese studied the most modern technology to develop a numerically inferior but well trained modern Navy. The belief in empire and the need to ensure oil supplies put Japan on a collision course with the United States of America.
The end of the war has led to Japan sheathing the sword and seeking to build up a strong economy. This has led to Japan becoming one of the richest and strongest countries in the world.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Townncountry on April 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In this day of asymmetric warfare, the history of the Japanese navy hardly seems relevant, but this book is so well-written it should be read by all strategists. It very effortlessly opens the eyes of the reader to the transformative processes that brought Japan out of the shadows of an antiquated feudal system into the forefront of military prowess in the span of less than 100 years. That alone merits the read of this book. But it clearly shows how Japan's military intellectuals adapted western thought and technology and fused western military and political rules with the classic ideals of Asian military strategy. There is a lot to be learned from seeing how the process worked in Japan. And in our ever-changing world, there is always a lot to be learned from the successes of others in adaptation and fusion of ideas and strategies.
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