- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press (November 14, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674545702
- ISBN-13: 978-0674545700
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Good Occupation: American Soldiers and the Hazards of Peace Hardcover – November 14, 2016
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A disturbing look at the experiences of the ‘after-army’: the American service-people who stayed on active duty after the Second World War, charged with rebuilding the places they had helped to destroy. Frank, often harsh voices from letters, diaries and memoirs serve up ‘inconvenient truths’: the armed forces’ caste system and racism; casual cruelty and venality trumping conscience; ‘fraternisation’ (and prostitution and rape) with ‘blowsy frauleins’ and ‘anxious to please’ Japanese maids. (Times Higher Education 2016-11-17)
Based largely on previously unseen diaries and letters, the book poses the question: was the good war followed by the ‘good occupation’ of the book’s title? As ever, there is no easy answer and from Carruthers’s lucid and elegantly written account, a picture emerges of muddled thinking and ill-thought out policies as often well-meaning men and women struggled with the conundrum that the people they were trying to help were representatives of countries they had only recently been attempting to destroy. (Trevor Royle The Herald 2016-11-26)
With characteristic brilliance, Susan Carruthers has written a critical history of military victory. Using letters and memoirs, she illuminates the interior life of American occupiers in Europe and Asia, showing the way military governance came to be imagined as a form of altruism. Highly recommended. (Mary L. Dudziak, author of War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences)
It is a book for the reader who enjoyed the notion of a ‘greatest generation’ but may well be ready for a more complicated understanding of that period. (Marilyn B. Young, author of The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990)
Susan Carruthers asks how the legend of the beneficial American military presence in Europe and Asia after World War II was created despite contemporaries’ observations of ‘destruction, confusion, despair and hopelessness.’ Based on impressive and enlightening archival researches, this lively book urges us to add a permanent question mark to the phrase, the ‘good occupation.’ (Werner Sollors, author of The Temptation of Despair: Tales of the 1940s)
Carruthers brings together the American experiences of occupying both Germany and Japan as no other historian. In this lively, superbly researched account, we see not the magnanimous, square-jawed GIs and officers we recall today, but rather war-weary, bewildered Americans who confronted bombed-out cities and millions of hungry displaced people. To these very human occupiers, the successful rehabilitation of the enemy that we now celebrate appeared closer to Mission Impossible. (Sheldon Garon, author of Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life)
The Good Occupation dives directly into those controversies, mining a wide array of first-hand documents to create a vividly detailed picture of thousands of U.S. troops denied the neat conclusion to their wartime service that they dreamed about during the years of fighting. Carruthers doesn’t shy away from the rapes, the looting, and the black market violence that cropped up in the Allied occupation as they have in every military occupation in the history of mankind. The venality of a significant number of U.S. occupiers (and their commanders―General George Patton is quite dispassionately raked over the coals) is exposed in chapter after chapter of meticulous research and austerely lovely prose. (Steve Donoghue Open Letters Monthly 2016-12-08)
[Carruthers’s] book vividly illustrates the tumultuous period between 1945 and 1948, when Americans raised as isolationists suddenly found themselves in control of large swathes of the world and were ill-prepared to handle the mission at hand…Her archival research into the diaries and letters of the occupiers…lays bare the rapidly shifting attitudes that members of the Greatest Generation held toward the occupied, the military and America’s new place in the world. (Nicholas M. Gallagher Wall Street Journal 2016-12-27)
About the Author
Susan L. Carruthers is Professor of History at Rutgers University–Newark.
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are excerpts of letters by the occupiers with narratives by the author fill in the blank
spaces. The letters seem to make the occupiers the unhappy bunch and exploited
ones where Rank Has Its Privilege (RHIP) as something new.
There were no mentions in the excerpts from the letters of the American
Occupiers being as bad or worse than the Nazis .That the occupiers tortured the occupied
to get confessions they were Nazis or how they starved to Germans , with Eisenhower
saying let them starve. Americans dumping unused food from mess halls outside the
wire of compounds housing starving prisoners . Seems the letters and narratives make
Patton out as a jerk . First thing Patton did was stop the torture by American Soldiers
forcing ordinary Germans to confess to being Nazi's - He visited a prison where almost
a 100% of the prisoners had crushed testicles, compliments of the interrogators.
Patton also ran his part of Germany exactly like MacArthur did Japan , using the people
who ran local governments during the war to keep things running then weeding out the Nazis
as things went along.
Read the book "After the Reich" to get accurate idea of the occupation. This is not the
only book on the subject but I find it one of the best.
As far as the occupation of Japan a good book to read as how Japan was governed
and why it emerged as it did is " Allied Occupation of Japan".
Written by Eiji Takemae well researched , does not go into abuses of the occupation just how
Japan became what it did. MacArthur in all his arrogance did a good job of governing
Japan , choosing not to starve the Japanese. He let them govern themselves at the point
of the American bayonets.
The description of the Japanese Surrender in Tokyo Bay is the best I have read. The
meticulous detail into the how and why things were done with the psychology behind
every orchestrated part .
A very good read gives an aspect of the occupation seldom visited.