The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945

I finished this book with four hours left on my library loan, showing that this is the kind of book that encourages you to finish what you started. While the book is a long and thorough book, it’s also a compelling page turner.

I understand that the book was one of the first to write about the Japanese perspective during WWII for the western audience. That it does well. It really elucidated the driving factors and rationales behind major decisions over the course of the war. It made me empathize and understand the motivations of the individuals making up the nations on both sides of this horrible war. It also clearly demonstrated some of the mistakes made throughout the course of the war.

By the current year, the book is almost half a century old. Nonetheless it stands up. It’s hard to make a long history book close to a thousand pages long a delight to read, but this book is well organized into well-flowing chapters that made me want to read ‘just one more’.

If there was one part of the book that was tedious, it was the chapters covering the Philippines. I’m not sure that was the book’s fault. A tedious series of battles makes it hard to escape tedious writing.

I highly recommend this book as a broad tome on the Japanese perspective in WWII.

Book cover for The Rising Sun
The Rising Sun
The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945
John Toland