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Nanking : Anatomy of an Atrocity Hardcover – August 30, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0275969042 ISBN-10: 0275969045 Edition: 1st

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Nanking : Anatomy of an Atrocity + The Nanjing Massacre in History and Historiography (Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 1st edition (August 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275969045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275969042
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,096,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The historical landscape is undergoing a curious change. A new genre has sprouted, [taking] the form of short books on dramatic events they focus on an incident, relate it as a story, and then follow its repercussions through the social order....They pose dizzying questions: How can we know what actually happened? Where is the truth to be found among competing interpretations? Many of the incidents concern the blackest aspects of the twentieth century. The massacre of defenseless civilians during their occupation of Nanking illustrates this tendency....Nanking: The Anatomy of an Atrocity by Masahiro Yamamoto shows how the debate about [these] events has continued to reverberate through Japanese society. Yamamoto attempted to arrive at an accurate assessment of the scale of the massacre....That estimate discredited revisionists, who claimed that virtually no atrocities had occurred, but it fell far short of the more standard view."-The New York Review of Books

About the Author

MASAHIRO YAMAMOTO is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. His specialty is military and naval history as well as Japanese History. He also teaches Japanese language.

Customer Reviews

And, even if genocide were not a primary motive, the inhumanity of the Japanese soldiers must not be forgotten.
F. Araujo
This author slanders the book, takes references out of context, omits facts that might undermined his case and is obviously biased against the book and it's findings.
Reviewer X
The writer has done a masterful job in gathering research materials from many sources and put them very neatly in historical context.
LANG NUNG LARRY MAN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 70 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on August 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In response to sensationalist accounts like Iris Chang's earlier Rape of Nanking, Japanese historian Masahiro Yamamoto has attempted a detailed scholarly examination of what actually occurred when the Japanese army captured the Nationalist capital in December 1937. The result is a thought-provoking account that is sure to spark debate, if not some reappraisals. The author has assembled a wealth of supporting data from American, Chinese and Japanese sources, including official reports, soldier's diaries and burial records. However, any appreciation for the author's Herculean research efforts should be tempered with the realization of his real intent, which is to debunk the significance of the "Rape of Nanking" by building a case for mitigating factors. Foremost, the author seeks to dispel the commonly-held belief that somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 Chinese were massacred by the Japanese army at Nanking. Rather, the author states that, "the total human losses in Nanking and its vicinity in 1937-38 amounted to anywhere between 45,000 to 65,000, of which 15,000 to 50,000 were killed in unlawful ways - as a result of execution by the Japanese troops and other atrocities - including about 5,000 to as many as 20,000 civilians."
The book is organized in seven chapters, starting with a brief history of war atrocities from ancient times up to the First World War. Actually, this is the weakest part of the book and the author's attempt to provide mitigating factors for Japanese behavior in 1937 based upon ancient sieges is ludicrous. Oddly, the author makes no mention of other 20th Century atrocities - such as Lidice (1942), Malmedy (1944), Oradour-sur-Glane (1944) and My Lai (1968) or Srebrenica (1993)- that might help to put Nanking in perspective.
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23 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer X on June 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As usual with my reviews I will not try and recap the entire book because it has been done several times before, I will just give you my thoughts as a student of history.
The old saying that there are three sides to every story is played out in front of the readers eyes in Nanking. For the novice this book will look like a well documented support for massacre, not a holocaust. To the expert it will look like a capable by deeply flawed defense of the indefensible. I happened to believe that it is somewhere in the middle. I do not believe the Chinese estimate of 350,000 killed and 80,000 women raped, but I know enough from precious readings to realize that the numbers quoted here are much lower than what really happened, in all likelihood.
What I disliked about this, and what really makes me upset is the way the author sets about discounting "The Rape of Nanking" to an audience aimed at Japanese citizens around the world. In Japan "The Rape of Nanking" was not allowed to be published at the time this book came out. I am not sure the book is allowed to be printed in Japan as of yet. This author slanders the book, takes references out of context, omits facts that might undermined his case and is obviously biased against the book and it's findings.
It is revisionist history and it is dangerous because it is written well. IF you read this please read "The Rape of Nanking" as well, then YOU can decide which side to take. I also think you will take the third side, the middle ground. Just how far to each side of the middle you will swing is up to the reader.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By F. Araujo on September 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Professor Yamamoto's treatment of the events that have become to be known as the "Rape of Nanking," will likely be regarded as a "revisionist viewpoint." His Japanese background will likely cited as contributing to his apologist arguement,for how can an ethnic Japanese be anything but defensive. However, this book coming in the wake of Iris Chang's Rape of Nanking, presents another viewpoint which must be considered, i.e., those of the Japanese carrying out the massacre. Yamamoto notes that executions were part of the JIA's policy and there were several factors which aggrevated an already horrible situation. Iris Chang's book is a passionate diatribe which contains several notable errors (e.g., she would have done well to look more closely at Rabe's dairy and her attempt at assembling statistical data always leans toward the sensational);however, it does point out the brutality and dehumanizing of both the Chinese victims and the Japanese raping, stealing and murdering. Yamamoto does not soft pedal this, albeit he does question many of the claims of numbers of people slaughtered. The bitter truth is, even one person slaughtered is too many. And, even if genocide were not a primary motive, the inhumanity of the Japanese soldiers must not be forgotten. In these days when nuts are trying to deny the holocaust, we need these reminders of human abuses, unless we forget.
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26 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Tannehill on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Do not bother with this book. The claims it makes are based on straw conjecture and fantasy. This is typical junk from the right wing of Japanese politics and is no more trustworthy than the fools who make up the extremes of Japan politics. That anyone would take seriously the ideas offered up in this book is laughable...it's like claiming the earth is flat and the moon is made of green cheese. The atrocities committed by Japan in China and the rest of Asia will burn in the souls of the Japanese people as an everlasting shame. It makes the atom bomb attacks look like divine justice, in comparison.
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