From Kirkus Reviews
A scholar's worldly-wise appraisal of the mutually expedient ties that have bound the US and Japan since the end of WW II. Drawing largely on archival sources to provide a perceptive overview of the crucial period from the Occupation through the mid- 1970s, Schaller (Douglas MacArthur: Far Eastern General 1989, etc.) makes a persuasive case for the arresting proposition that latter- day Japan is to a great extent what American foreign-policy made it. To begin with, he recounts how Washington (concerned that Tokyo might try to improve relations with the Red regimes in Beijing and Moscow) decided to promote the defeated country's economic development and open domestic markets to its merchandise. In the name of continuity and stability, then, its puissant industrial combines were left largely unscathed; in like vein, many politicians penciled in as candidates for rough military justice found themselves summarily rehabilitated. When the Cold War turned hot, first in Korea and later in Vietnam, the author (History/Univ. of Arizona) documents, money poured into Japan from the US, accelerating the island nation's recovery. In addition, Schaller points out, presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all provided the Liberal Democratic Party with sizable amounts of secret financial aid, largely to ensure that its conservative, anti-Communist leaders would remain in power. By the 1960s, he observes, America's Asian ward had become a formidable economic force and appreciably less deferential to its longtime protector. The author provides details on the increasingly difficult relations between Japan and the US through the so-called Nixon shocks (imposing restrictions on imports, pulling troops out of the Far East, and reaching a rapprochement with China). In conclusion, he fast-forwards through the past two decades, an equally convulsive era during which the USSR's implosion depreciated Japan's value as a strategic partner. An informative briefing on a decidedly odd geopolitical couple's increasingly ambivalent alliance. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
"Schaller writes well and demonstrates superb command of complicated economic as well as political issues." The International History Review
"Slowly but surely the archives are being opened and control over the history of the occupation of Japan is slipping beyond the American officials who were actually responsible for administering it. Schaller's book starts to break the official monopoly over how Americans are supposed to think
about Japan. The results are central to the formulation of a truly post-Cold War foreign policy by the United States, whenever that may occur. Schaller details the extraordinary degree to which the true parents of Japan today are the Pentagon and the CIA. His book is vital reading for Americans
who want to know about the origins of the forces shaping the 21st century."--Chalmers Johnson, author ofMiti and the Japanese Miracle.
"Drawing largely on archival sources to provide a perceptive overview of the crucial period from the Occupation through the mid-1970s, Schaller makes a persuasive case for the arresting proposition that latter-day Japan is to a great extent what American foreign-policy made it.... An
informative briefing on a decidedly odd geopolitical couple's increasingly ambivalent alliance."--Kirkus Reviews
"[Altered States] serves as a reminder to some and a revelation to many that much that Americans now begrudge Japan is a direct result of American policies during and just after the occupation."--Booklist
"A stone-honest accounting of all our grimy shenanigans on Japanese soil in the name of national security."--Patrick Smith, The Nation
"Michael Schaller's new book is a good one to read to understand the historical background of the United States-Japan security system...also very useful for a reconsideration of post-World War II Sino-American relations."--The Journal of American History
"Altered States, a meticulously documented dipolmatic history of postwar Japan...is a distinguished work of scholarship, painstaking and eminently readable."--Nicholas D. Kristof, Foreign Affairs