Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

War Without Mercy

For a class I am taking this spring, I have just finished reading War Without Mercy by John Dower. This is an impressive book that was both readable a full of new information that can readily be incorporated into my US History classroom. The overall push of the book is to expose the influence of race in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. The book does an excellent job at pointing out the visceral hatred between the two sides in World War II and its basis in the idea of racial hatred that permeated both sides during the conflict.

This basis of the book is excellent but I was amazed and all of the supporting history that Dower was able to provide to support his thesis. There preoccupation of race ran from being subtly mentioned to extremely overt. The way that Winston Churchill called the Chinese “little yellow men”, the Navy’s view that Japanese pilots could not shoot well at night, or the songs against the Japanese were fascinating to read about. In addition to this, the chapter about Japanese views during the war was brand new information. While, I probably could have inferred that Japanese views of the Allies were parallel to American views the confirmation was interesting to read. Another interesting aspect was the report “Of Global Policy With the Yamato Race As the Nucleus.” This report was to be used in the future once Japan had established itself as a world leader. It talked about the role of islands over continents as innovators of society and the need for a population increase.

This book offers a lot of important information that can be intertwined into my classes. It is tough to be able to present a global view to a students (and teachers) lack global experiences. By looking at how different leaders and countries thought during the war one can have a class reflect on earlier policies that might have spawned and supported the views held during the war.


Blogger Casey Jack said...


Speaking of books, I saw Freakonomics on your desk the other day. Is that a good book? I've been interested in reading it.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

Want some more ideas about WWII? I have three related posts recently:

Hope you find at least one of them entertaining.

2:27 PM  

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