War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War

In This Review

War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War

By John W. Dower
Pantheon, 1986
398 pp. $22.50

All those who were beyond infancy at the time of Pearl Harbor know that racism was a powerful and malign element on both sides of the Japanese-American war, but this has receded from historical consciousness over the decades. John Dower, an American historian of modern Japanese culture, has brilliantly described and analyzed that racism in one of the handful of truly important books on the Pacific war. Using an imaginative range of sources-government archives, cartoons, movies, private letters-he has recreated the reciprocal stereotypes of the time and has shown their grim connection to the ruthlessness of that war. This is a cautionary tale for all peoples, now and in the future.

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