Trans-Pacific Relations: America, Europe, and Asia in the Twentieth Century

In This Review

Trans-Pacific Relations: America, Europe, and Asia in the Twentieth Century

By Richard Jensen, Jon Davidann, and Yoneyuki Sugita
Praeger, 2003
320 pp. $69.95
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This book is far from standard diplomatic, political, or military history. Most of the contributors offer novel approaches and perspectives on unconventional issues and problems. The chapter on the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45, for example, focuses on the racial theories of leading Japanese and Chinese eugenicists and their biological explanations of the strengths and weaknesses of the two peoples. With respect to Korea's experience with foreign interventions, there is not the usual comparison of U.S. and Soviet approaches to a divided Korea; instead, the chapter compares the attitudes that informed the Japanese and American "occupations" of Korea. The war in the Pacific is analyzed not in terms of grand strategy but in terms of how different historical developments in industrial management made it possible for the United States to move hundreds of tons of materiel to the battlefront far from home, while the Japanese were barely able to keep their troops from starving as they tried to invade India. Some of the novel ideas and arguments are quite convincing; others will at best serve to stir debate.

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