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Valley of Darkness - The Japanese People and World War Two

By: Thomas R H Havens (580.16/35850)
Publisher: W W Norton & Co.
(From the John Laffin Library)

On July 7, 1937 a company of Japanese soldiers posted in Peking exchanged gunfire with a Chinese patrol and thus, almost haphazardly, plunged Japan into a conflict that was to last eight years and cost over three million Japanese lives.

It has been said that people have a far greater capacity for enduring disaster than for preventing them. So it was in the Japanese home islands where, being occupied with the pleasures of prosperity and used to a large and bristling military establishment, few noticed the skirmish in Peking. Nevertheless, the Japanese people would soon endure hardship, destruction, and death unknown in their history.

Valley of Darkness is the story of that endurance from mobilization to destruction and total defeat after eight months of American bombing. It is also the story of a community so united by geography, language, family organization, and common beliefs that even total war could not break its basic integrity.

Out of the ashes of world war, Japan has built an ultramodern society much closer to the twenty-first century that to 1945. Valley of Darkness reveals how Japanese culture survived and even surmounted the crisis of war-time.

June 2008

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