The best books about the Pacific Theater in WW2

Shouhua Qi Author Of Purple Mountain: A Story of the Rape of Nanking
By Shouhua Qi

Who am I?

A native of Nanjing (Nanking), China, Shouhua Qi has published extensively in both the United States and China on academic as well as transcultural issues. He is the author of more than twenty books, including fiction, nonfiction, literary translation, and scholarly monographs. Qi’s first novel, Purple Mountain, is about the Rape of Nanking, a horrendous tragic event that happened in his hometown in the winter of 1937-08. A screenplay Qi co-wrote based on the novel has been optioned for production.


I wrote...

Purple Mountain: A Story of the Rape of Nanking

By Shouhua Qi,

Book cover of Purple Mountain: A Story of the Rape of Nanking

What is my book about?

An unprecedented historical novel, Purple Mountain presents a riveting, profoundly intimate portrait of Nanjing and its people during the first six days after its fall to the Japanese army. Within the city, walls are men and women, young and old, soldiers and civilians, Chinese and a dozen foreigners, all caught up in the whirling, turbulent fires of history.

The books I picked & why

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Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-1945

By Rana Mitter,

Book cover of Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-1945

Why this book?

Given all the hoopla of the US-China rivalry going on today, this book would be a timely reminder not only that China was once an important ally for the common good of the world, but also that China can be an ally again on so many fronts (environment and climate change, alternative/renewable energy resources, and so on) if we find the courage and wisdom to manage the fundamental differences and learn to coexist with each other for the common good of the world.


The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II

By Iris Chang,

Book cover of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II

Why this book?

When this book was first published in 1997, the world (at least the Western world) had all but forgotten the atrocity that had been inflicted on my hometown in the winter of 1937-38. Re-reading the gripping nonfictional account today would serve to remind us that we should not forget that ignoble page in our modern history and more importantly that we are all duty-bound to do all we can so such atrocities will not happen again.


Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze

By Peter Harmsen,

Book cover of Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze

Why this book?

This was a major battle that happened in 1937, right before the Rape of Nanking. After the fall of Shanghai, the Japanese army would march toward, Nanking (Nanjing), the capital of China then. Although it was front page news throughout much of the world then, few people other than historians know it today. It is no hyperbole to call the battle Stalingrad on the Yangtze. The book reads like an engrossing historical novel.


Red Star over China: The Classic Account of the Birth of Chinese Communism

By Edgar Snow,

Book cover of Red Star over China: The Classic Account of the Birth of Chinese Communism

Why this book?

This was a bestseller when it was first published in 1937, when the War of Resistance against Japan (essentially WWII in the Pacific) was on the cusp of going all out. It was a must read for anyone back then who wanted to know what was going on in the Far East and it is still a must read for anyone today who wants to understand China.


Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission

By Hampton Sides,

Book cover of Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission

Why this book?

This is a story of heroism on an epic scale, engrossing as well as uplifting, exactly what we need during this prolonged pandemic induced “captivity”…. Hollywood: Are you working on a major feature film to tell this story on the big screen, as we speak?


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