100 books like Japan at War 1931-45

By David McCormack,

Here are 100 books that Japan at War 1931-45 fans have personally recommended if you like Japan at War 1931-45. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Judy: The Unforgettable Story of the Dog Who Went to War and Became a True Hero

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

Judy was a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only official animal POW of World War 2 truly was a dog in a million. Whether she was dragging men to safety from the wreckage of a torpedoed chip or scavenging food for the starving inmates of a hellish Japanese prisoner of war camp, her unbreakable spirit brought inspiration and hope to men living through the 20th century's darkest days during their captivity. Judy's uncanny ability to sense danger matched with her quick thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to those who became like a family to her, sharing in both the tragedies and joys they faced. Her incredible story based here on the testimonies of the last few veterans who knew her is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring tales you will ever read.

By Damien Lewis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Judy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The impossibly moving story of how Judy, World War Two's only animal POW, brought hope in the midst of hell.

Judy, a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only animal POW of WWII, truly was a dog in a million, cherished and adored by the British, Australian, American and other Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her.

Viewed largely as human by those who shared her extraordinary life, Judy's uncanny ability to sense danger, matched with her quick-thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to men who became like a family to…


Book cover of Echoes of Captivity 2020: In 1945, Far East Prisoners of War returned to their families. But their war was not over ....

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

In 1941/2 the Japanese took more than 100,000 allied prisoners of war in the Far East. These prisoners were used as slave labour on the death railway and across the region. More than 1/4 of all prisoners died from starvation, overwork, torture, or tropical disease. These harrowing experiences in captivity have been chronicled in detail, but the story of what happened after they returned home has rarely been told. For many the war did not end in 1945 and for decades to come, former prisoners had nightmares and flashbacks. Their wives and families struggled to cope with damaged men who couldn't find the words to talk about their experiences. The echoes of captivity carried on right to the end of the survivors' lives and continue today in the lives of their children.

Book cover of The Sacrifice of Singapore: Churchill's Biggest Blunder

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

The fate of Singapore was sealed long before the Japanese attack on Malaya in December 1941. The blame lay with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who refused to listen to warnings from military advisers to reinforce defences in Singapore and Malaya. Her was convinced the Japanese would never dare to attack a white power. Obsessed with beating Rommel, Churchill poured into the Middle East massive resources that should have gone to the Far East. However, when inevitably Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders of spineless capitulation.

By Michael Arnold,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sacrifice of Singapore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fate of Singapore was sealed long before the Japanese attack in December 1941. The blame lay with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who refused to listen to warnings from military advisors to reinforce defences in Singapore/Malaya, convinced the Japanese would never dare to attack a white power . Obsessed with beating German General Erwin Rommel, he poured into the Middle East massive resources that should have gone to the Far East. However when, inevitably, Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders there of spineless capitulation. Recently released information from…


Book cover of Captive Memories: Far East Prisoners of War

Cecil Lowry Author Of Frank Pantridge MC: Japanese Prisoner of War and Inventor of the Portable Defibrillator

From my list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2.

Who am I?

My father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. He spent three and a half years slaving on the Thai Burma railway. During my early years growing up, my father rarely talked about his experiences, and it wasn't until after he died in 1990 that I became interested in what he went through as a prisoner of war. Since then, I've spent my time researching the Japanese prisoner of war experiences and have read countless books on the subject. I myself have published four books and I consider myself one of the leading experts on the Japanese prisoner of war experience.

Cecil's book list on prisoners of war held by the Japanese during WW2

Cecil Lowry Why did Cecil love this book?

This book tells the story of the 130,000 men who were captives of the Japanese during World War Two. Food and equipment were minimal or non-existent, men died daily, many in agony from which there was no relief and yet in the midst of such horrors the human spirit steadfastly refused to be broken. Captives helped each other, intense bonds were formed, and selfless sacrifices made. Freedom for those who made it home after the war ended meant many things, home and family comfort of course, but also an adjustment for the loss of friendships and a difficult road to recovery for some.

The authors talked to many of these men and this is their story.

By Meg Parkes, Geoff Gill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Captive Memories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conditions for Far East Prisoners of War were truly hellish. Appalling diseases were rife, the stench indescribable. Food and equipment were minimal or non existent. Men died daily, many in agony from which there was no relief. And yet, in the midst of such horrors, the human spirit steadfastly refused to be broken. Captives helped each other, intense bonds were formed, selfless sacrifces made. Tools and medical equipment were fashioned from whatever could be found, anything that could make life more bearable. Resilience, resourcefulness, pride and camaraderie; these were the keys to survival. Freedom, for those who made it, meant…


Book cover of Pearl Harbor: Japan's Attack and America's Entry Into World War II

Malcolm H. Murfett Author Of Naval Warfare 1919-1945: An Operational History of the Volatile War at Sea

From my list on Asian theatre in the Second World War.

Who am I?

I lived and taught in Asia for over 30 years and love the place to bits. Leaving Oxford for Singapore may have seemed like a daring adventure in 1980, but it complemented my doctoral research and introduced me to a wonderful set of students who have enriched my life ever since. Asia has a fascination for me that I can’t resist. I have written and edited 15 books on naval and defence themes, much of which have been set in the Asian continent. An associate editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for the past 25 years, I am also the editor for the series Cold War in Asia. 

Malcolm's book list on Asian theatre in the Second World War

Malcolm H. Murfett Why did Malcolm love this book?

So much has been written on Operation Hawaii, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, that I doubted initially that Takuma Melber’s slim volume would be much different from the many accounts I have read on this iconic event in the past. But I was wrong! Melber’s authoritative and persuasive book brings another vital and welcome dimension into play by revealing the Japanese side of the narrative. Explaining the necessity for an attack that would unleash war with the US without guaranteeing victory thereafter, Tōjō Hideki remarked in October 1941: “Once in a lifetime, one must show courage, close one’s eyes and jump from the terrace of the Kiyomizu-dera.” In other words, a proverbial ‘leap into the unknown’ in the hope that one might survive it. Japan didn’t.

By Takuma Melber, Nick Somers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pearl Harbor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hawaii, 7th December 1941, shortly before 8 in the morning: Japanese torpedo bombers launch a surprise attack on the US Pacific fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor. The devastating attack claims the lives of over 2,400 American soldiers, sinks or damages 18 ships and destroys nearly 350 aircraft. The US Congress declares war on Japan the following day.

In this vivid and lively book, Takuma Melber breathes new life into the dramatic events that unfolded before, during and after Pearl Harbor by putting the perspective of the Japanese attackers at the centre of his account. This is the dimension commonly missing…


Book cover of Inheritors

Kenan Orhan Author Of I Am My Country: And Other Stories

From my list on polyphonic story collections.

Who am I?

Perhaps because I get bored easily, or maybe because I hear voices, I have found that my writing lends itself to exploration (different points of view, traditions, styles). I write to learn and to play. I distrust writers whose characters all sound like them, live lives like their own. It feels completely unfanciful, completely disinterested in the long literary tradition of make-believe. Writing and reading, at the end of the day, are ways for me to escape boredom meaningfully, and why should I wish to do that with stories that don’t offer up a small amount of the great kaleidoscope that is life?

Kenan's book list on polyphonic story collections

Kenan Orhan Why did Kenan love this book?

Though these stories are actually linked, told over a century and a half through many generations of one family, the characters are so different that what acts as the unifying thread for this book more than anything is its exploration of imperialism’s traumas, perpetrated, experienced, and inherited.

Like my own work that seeks to explore a country’s identity through many different members and eras, Serizawa paints a portrait of Japan before and after the Second World War in breathtaking scope to remind us that events in history have much longer roots and much greater reaches than we recognize. 

By Asako Serizawa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inheritors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the PEN/Open Book Award
Winner of The Story Prize Spotlight Award

A kaleidoscopic portrait of five generations scattered across Asia and the United States, Inheritors is a heartbreakingly beautiful and brutal exploration of a Japanese family fragmented by the Pacific side of World War II. A retired doctor is forced to confront the moral consequences of his wartime actions. His brother’s wife, compelled to speak of a fifty-year-old murder, reveals the shattering realities of life in Occupied Japan. Half a century later, her estranged American granddaughter winds her way back East, pursuing her absent father’s secrets. Decades into…


Book cover of Island Encounters: Black and White Memories of the Pacific War

Lin Poyer Author Of The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War

From my list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands.

Who are we?

We are three anthropologists who have focused decades of research on the cultures and histories of the beautiful part of the world known as Micronesia. We wrote this book when we realized that the many volumes of history on War in the Pacific focused on the combatants, and told us little of the experiences of the Islanders across whose lands, seas, and airspace the war was fought. Kwajalein, Enewetak, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Peleliu, Saipan, Guam, Tinian—these were not just battlegrounds, but also precious homelands. Our goal was to combine documentary history with interviews of more than 300 elders to tell the story of the war in Micronesia as it was experienced by Islanders who lived through it.

Lin's book list on the indigenous experiences of WW2 in the Pacific Islands

Lin Poyer Why did Lin love this book?

Anyone interested in the War in the Pacific will find this collection of 175 photographs showing the variety of interactions of Islanders and foreign servicemen interesting. It goes beyond official military photos (though there are plenty of those) to include photos from Japanese sources and veterans’ personal photographs. The text gives insight into the conditions of war and how Islanders and foreign fighters perceived and dealt with each other. A beautifully produced book.

By Lamont Lindstrom, Geoffrey M. White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Island Encounters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explores the massive and sudden contact between powerful military forces and Pacific islanders, blending oral histories recorded in the islands after WWII with some 175 photographs gleaned from Japanese newspaper morgues, the private albums of US veterans, and Allied military archives. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.


Book cover of Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

Burnaby Hawkes Author Of The Haze

From my list on understanding modern Asia.

Who am I?

Hawkes (MD, BScN, MGA) is a novelist, YouTuber, and former analyst for the NATO Association of Canada. His writings have appeared in Heater, The Raven Chronicles, ArabLit, and many other magazines and publications. His recent espionage novel, The Haze, is set in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Burnaby's book list on understanding modern Asia

Burnaby Hawkes Why did Burnaby love this book?

If you want to know more about the politics of Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines, this is the book for you. International relations expert and topnotch global thinker (according to Foreign Policy magazine) Robert D. Kaplan does an excellent job at contrasting Southeast countries against one another and explaining why some have prospered while others failed. A very intriguing read that is recommended for everyone interested in Asia, period.

By Robert D. Kaplan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Asia's Cauldron as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES

From Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a penetrating look at the volatile region that will dominate the future of geopolitical conflict.
 
Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated nine hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries’ worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict.…


Book cover of Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945

Richard Overy Author Of Blood and Ruins: The Great Imperial War 1931-1945

From my list on key moments in World War II and the soldiers who fought in them.

Who am I?

I am a professional historian who has been writing books for more than forty years. Most of the books have been about war and dictatorship in the first half of the twentieth century. My last book, The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945, developed my long interest in air war history, which goes back to my first major book written in 1980 on air warfare in World War II.

Richard's book list on key moments in World War II and the soldiers who fought in them

Richard Overy Why did Richard love this book?

This is simply one of the finest books to be written on the final critical two years of the Pacific War, with extensive detail on the Japanese side of the conflict and plenty of new insights into the better-known American story. It is a big book, but this was a large conflict both in terms of space, time, and the resources deployed. It was also chiefly a story of amphibious naval warfare, an original and significant development in modern warfare that too often gets understated. By the end of the conflict, the American armed forces had created the shape that they were to employ for the next half-century in projecting power overseas.

By Marc Gallicchio, Waldo Heinrichs,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Implacable Foes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

May 8, 1945, Victory in Europe Day-shortened to "V.E. Day"-brought with it the demise of Nazi Germany. But for the Allies, the war was only half-won. Exhausted but exuberant American soldiers, ready to return home, were sent to join the fighting in the Pacific, which by the spring and summer of 1945 had turned into a grueling campaign of bloody attrition against an enemy determined to fight to the last man. Germany had surrendered unconditionally. The Japanese
would clearly make the conditions of victory extraordinarily high.

Following V-E Day, American citizens understandably clamored for their young men to be shipped…


Book cover of MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific

Gerhard Weinberg Author Of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

From my list on World War 2.

Who am I?

Gerhard Weinberg fled Germany at the end of 1938 and experienced the first year of World War II – including the beginning of the Blitz – in England. He completed his PhD after serving in the US Army of Occupation in Japan, researched the captured German documents, established the program for microfilming them, and after writing an analysis of the origins of World War II decided to prepare a book covering the war as a whole.

Gerhard's book list on World War 2

Gerhard Weinberg Why did Gerhard love this book?

In view of the numerous controversies and varied views of General MacArthur’s actions and policies in the Pacific War, it is great to have a balanced and very carefully researched and presented account of a commander who was in it from Japan’s attack on the United States to Japan’s surrender. While dealing fairly with some of the criticisms of the general, Borneman does note his repeated announcements of battles being ended when they were not as well as the hopeless incompetence of his intelligence chief.

By Walter R. Borneman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked MacArthur at War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

World War II changed the course of history. Douglas MacArthur changed the course of World War II. MACARTHUR AT WAR will go deeper into this transformative period of his life than previous biographies, drilling into the military strategy that Walter R. Borneman is so skilled at conveying, and exploring how personality and ego translate into military successes and failures.

Architect of stunning triumphs and inexplicable defeats, General MacArthur is the most intriguing military leader of the twentieth century. There was never any middle ground with MacArthur. This in-depth study of the most critical period of his career shows how MacArthur's…


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