100 books like The Rising Sun

By John Toland,

Here are 100 books that The Rising Sun fans have personally recommended if you like The Rising Sun. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857

Michael Schuman Author Of Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World

From my list on Asian history.

Who am I?

Michael Schuman is the author of three history books on Asia, most recently Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World, released in 2020. He has spent the past quarter-century as a journalist in the region. Formerly a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine, he is currently a contributor to The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.

Michael's book list on Asian history

Michael Schuman Why did Michael love this book?

Mixing deep archival scholarship with brilliant storytelling, Dalrymple transports the reader into the final days of the Mughal Empire and its last emperor. The story centers on Delhi during the mutiny against British rule in 1857, the last great attempt by the Indians to throw off their European overlords until Gandhi. What begins with hope ultimately ends in tragedy, for the Mughal poet-ruler who fails to grasp his chance to change history, and the brilliant civilization his empire had fostered.

By William Dalrymple,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At 4pm on a dark, wet winter's evening in November 1862, a cheap coffin was buried in eerie silence: no lamentations, no panegyrics, for as the British Commissioner in charge of the funeral insisted, 'No vesting will remain to distinguish where the last of the Great Moghuls rests.' This Mughal was Bahadur Shah Zafar II, one of the most talented, tolerant and likeable of his remarkable dynasty who found himself leader of a violent uprising he knew from the start would lead to irreparable carnage. Zafar's frantic efforts to unite his forces proved tragically futile. The Siege of Delhi was…


Book cover of The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia

Amelia Dalton Author Of Pages from My Passport

From my list on the lives of those who pushed the boundaries.

Who am I?

I ‘fell’ into being at sea by chance, through my father’s insistence I join him on a Scottish fishing boat for a week. I discovered I adored exploring unknown islands and lonely beaches, discovering wildlife and resilient small communities. In the 1990’s a female working amongst fishermen and commercial shipping was unknown, it was a wholly male, chauvinistic world. Using these skills I found a job being paid to explore – a dream job, pioneering but frequently lonely and dangerous. It resulted in my expanding the range and world of small expedition ships into areas with no infrastructure, unexplored and uncharted, lonely, empty coasts from the Arctic to Singapore. 

Amelia's book list on the lives of those who pushed the boundaries

Amelia Dalton Why did Amelia love this book?

This classic brings the secret world of spies and the struggle between countries for control of this vital corridor in the High Atlas within our reach. 

Disguised as holy men or traders, they risked their all for information: many lost their lives in the process. Illustrating the strategic importance and difficulties of such a mountainous and complicated area, Hopkirk’s book is not only vivid and dramatic, it is still relevant to this turbulent area today. 

By Peter Hopkirk,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Great Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE GREATGAME: THE EPIC STORY BEHIND TODAY'S HEADLINES

Peter Hopkirk's spellbinding account of the great imperial struggle for supremacy in Central Asoa has been hailed as essential reading with that era's legacy playing itself out today.

The Great Game between Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia was fought across desolate terrain from the Caucasus to China, over the lonely passes of the Parmirs and Karakorams, in the blazing Kerman and Helmund deserts, and through the caravan towns of the old Silk Road-both powers scrambling to control access to the riches of India and the East. When play first began, the frontiers…


Book cover of Nathaniel's Nutmeg: Or, the True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History

Eleanor Ford Author Of The Nutmeg Trail: Recipes and Stories Along the Ancient Spice Routes

From my list on to spice up your shelves.

Who am I?

In my writing, food is a means to explore culture and understand the world. I’ve been described as a ‘culinary detective’. I collect and create eclectic, evocative recipes from around the globe so I can travel from my kitchen when I'm back home in London. The Nutmeg Trail follows my multi-award-winning books, Fire Islands and Samarkand.

Eleanor's book list on to spice up your shelves

Eleanor Ford Why did Eleanor love this book?

Delving into the bloodiest and most tragic period of spice’s past, Milton’s novel reveals the extraordinary link between nutmeg and colonisation. It was the seed from which the British Empire grew. If fiction is your preferred way to explore history – and what a history spice has! – then this is the book for you.

By Giles Milton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Nathaniel's Nutmeg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A true tale of high adventure in the South Seas.

The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the Indonesian archipelago. Just two miles long and half a mile wide, it is remote, tranquil, and, these days, largely ignored.

Yet 370 years ago, Run's harvest of nutmeg (a pound of which yielded a 3,200 percent profit by the time it arrived in England) turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and the British Crown. The outcome of the fighting was one of the most spectacular…


Book cover of Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire

Amelia Dalton Author Of Pages from My Passport

From my list on the lives of those who pushed the boundaries.

Who am I?

I ‘fell’ into being at sea by chance, through my father’s insistence I join him on a Scottish fishing boat for a week. I discovered I adored exploring unknown islands and lonely beaches, discovering wildlife and resilient small communities. In the 1990’s a female working amongst fishermen and commercial shipping was unknown, it was a wholly male, chauvinistic world. Using these skills I found a job being paid to explore – a dream job, pioneering but frequently lonely and dangerous. It resulted in my expanding the range and world of small expedition ships into areas with no infrastructure, unexplored and uncharted, lonely, empty coasts from the Arctic to Singapore. 

Amelia's book list on the lives of those who pushed the boundaries

Amelia Dalton Why did Amelia love this book?

The Indian Ocean, with its ‘Galapagos’ isles of the Seychelles has long attracted me and I have learnt so much from this superb narrative history of the Portuguese exploration in the Indian Ocean. 

They worked out the wind patterns of the Atlantic to sail eventually round the Cape of Good Hope, up the East African coast and on to India. Learning of where they called, traded, and fought inspired me with many historic and fascinating places to weave into itineraries. The book brings to life these magic, exotic shores and peoples of the Indian Ocean.

By Roger Crowley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions, the history of Portuguese exploration is now almost forgotten. But Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire. In an astonishing blitz of thirty years, a handful of visionary and utterly ruthless empire builders, with few resources but breathtaking ambition, attempted to seize the Indian Ocean, destroy Islam and take control of world trade.

Told with Roger Crowley's customary skill and…


Book cover of The Japanese Merchant Marine in 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?

This book doesn’t have a catchy title and sounds rather pedestrian, but we are told never to judge a book by its cover and in this case it’s true about the title as well! Mark Parillo’s magisterial thesis taught me a great deal about why the Japanese lost the Pacific War. He explains why they stubbornly refused to convoy their merchant fleet even when, by failing to do so, they were aiding the enemy’s cause. Japan needed to import most of its war material, but once the US submarine campaign began to decimate the ships that were bringing in those vital supplies in 1944-45 the game was essentially up. Therefore, a case can be made that the war was effectively lost before the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

By Mark P. Parillo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Japanese Merchant Marine in World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Making extensive use of Japanese and U.S. sources, including wartime intelligence reports from the National Defense Archives in Tokyo and recently declassified U.S. documents, this book examines the reasons for Japan's failure to protect its merchant fleet.


Book cover of SENSŌ: The Japanese Remember the Pacific War: Letters to the Editor of "Asahi Shimbun"

Mark Scott Smith Author Of Night Fire Morning Snow: The Road to Chosin

From my list on understanding America and her enemies in wartime.

Who am I?

After retiring from academic medicine, I moved to the ocean and learned of WWII Japanese submarine and balloon bomb attacks on Oregon. With extensive research, consultation, and trips to Europe, Latin America, and Asia, I have now published three historical fiction novels on Amazon: Enemy in the Mirror: Love and Fury in the Pacific War, The Osprey and the Sea Wolf: The Battle of the Atlantic 1942, and Night Fire Morning Snow: The Road to Chosin. My website is intended to promote understanding of America and her enemies in wartime.

Mark's book list on understanding America and her enemies in wartime

Mark Scott Smith Why did Mark love this book?

Composed of letters to the editor in Tokyo’s highly respected Asahi Shimbun newspaper from 1986 to 1987, SENSŌ provides vivid insight into wartime life in Imperial Japan. Composed of honest reflections 40 years after the war, the topics covered (often with powerful emotion) include: life in the military, the Sino-Japanese War, Pacific War, home front, the bombing of Japanese cities, and post-war reflections. In the end, I was impressed how the Japanese experience and emotions during the war were not dissimilar to what I might imagine feeling as an American in a similar situation.

By Frank Gibney, Beth Cary (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This acclaimed work is an extraordinary collection of letters written by a wide cross-section of Japanese citizens to one of Japan's leading newspapers, expressing their personal reminiscences and opinions of the Pacific war. "SENSO" provides the general reader and the specialist with moving, disturbing, startling insights on a subject deliberately swept under the rug, both by Japan's citizenry and its government. It is an invaluable index of Japanese public opinion about the war.


Book cover of The Santo Tomas Story

Bruce E. Johansen Author Of So Far from Home: Manila's Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1942-1945

From my list on World War II civilian prisoners of the Japanese.

Who am I?

As a professor of Communication, Environmental, and Native American Studies, Bruce E. Johansen taught, researched, and wrote at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1982 to 2019, retiring to emeritus status as Frederick W. Kayser research professor. He has published 55 books in several fields: history, anthropology, law, the Earth sciences, and others. Johansen’s writing has been published, debated, and reviewed in many academic venues, among them the William and Mary Quarterly, American Historical Review, Current History, and Nature, as well as in many popular newspapers and magazines. He's married to Patricia E. Keiffer, whose father, mother, and older sister were interned in the camp. Patricia was born there shortly before liberation.

Bruce's book list on World War II civilian prisoners of the Japanese

Bruce E. Johansen Why did Bruce love this book?

This book is a must-read for any serious student of the Santo Tomas story. It might need to be requested by Interlibrary Loan, but they are worth the wait. I believe that this books put the reader "on the ground" because of the skill of Hartendorp's writing and research, as well as his personal knowledge of the detainees in the camp (and others like it). This book also contains experience that comes with reflection over time, containing interviews with people who survived camp life for several years after their period of captivity that is especially valuable because they were able to place their experience into a later and larger context, such as the resumption of peaceful relations with Japan.

By A. V. H. Hartendorp,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire

James Ellman Author Of MacArthur Reconsidered: General Douglas MacArthur as a Wartime Commander

From my list on World War II in the Southwest Pacific.

Who am I?

I am an author and investor living in windward Oahu who has had a lifelong interest in military history ever since I read a biography of Alexander the Great when I was 12 years old. I have written several books including Hitler’s Great Gamble and MacArthur Reconsidered. For my next project I have transcribed, compiled, and edited 1,100 of General Douglas MacArthur’s daily communiques issued by his Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) headquarters from 1942-45. This collection will be published by McFarland in 2024.

James' book list on World War II in the Southwest Pacific

James Ellman Why did James love this book?

All of Richard Frank’s books are excellent, but Downfall is the most important.

We learn about the massive preparations for 39 American divisions to invade the Japanese Home Islands commencing in late 1945, along with Imperial Army and Navy plans to defeat the US landing force with more than four million men and 13,000 aircraft.

Had the invasion gone forward, casualties would have been counted in the millions with the Japanese planning to unleash kamikaze attacks on the US fleet in vast numbers while the Emperor’s fanatical soldiers backed by an armed civilian population readied themselves to kill as many American soldiers as possible before embracing their own honorable deaths.

It is difficult to finish this book and not conclude that the two atomic bombs which ended the war was a blessing for both sides.

By Richard B. Frank,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a riveting narrative that includes information from newly declassified documents, acclaimed historian Richard B. Frank gives a scrupulously detailed explanation of the critical months leading up to the dropping of the atomic bomb. Frank explains how American leaders learned in the summer of 1945 that their alternate strategy to end the war by invasion had been shattered by the massive Japanese buildup on Kyushu, and that intercepted diplomatic documents also revealed the dismal prospects of negotiation. Here also, for the first time, is a comprehensive account of how Japan's leaders were willing to risk complete annihilation to preserve the…


Book cover of Santo Tomas Internment Camp: STIC in Verse and Reverse, STIC-Toons and Stic-tistics 1942-1945

Bruce E. Johansen Author Of So Far from Home: Manila's Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1942-1945

From my list on World War II civilian prisoners of the Japanese.

Who am I?

As a professor of Communication, Environmental, and Native American Studies, Bruce E. Johansen taught, researched, and wrote at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1982 to 2019, retiring to emeritus status as Frederick W. Kayser research professor. He has published 55 books in several fields: history, anthropology, law, the Earth sciences, and others. Johansen’s writing has been published, debated, and reviewed in many academic venues, among them the William and Mary Quarterly, American Historical Review, Current History, and Nature, as well as in many popular newspapers and magazines. He's married to Patricia E. Keiffer, whose father, mother, and older sister were interned in the camp. Patricia was born there shortly before liberation.

Bruce's book list on World War II civilian prisoners of the Japanese

Bruce E. Johansen Why did Bruce love this book?

This book is an on-the scene compilation of statistics and drawings, most of which were gathered at the camp. Some of the statistics seem rather trivial, but taken together they provide a fascinating portrait of life at the camp. The same is true for the simple drawings done with rudimentary tools. This book provides a “picture” of the camp that is not available in other sources.

By James McCall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Santo Tomas Internment Camp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

G/-, SOFT COVER, BROWN COVER, 146 PAGES


Book cover of Crucible of Hell: The Heroism and Tragedy of Okinawa, 1945

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?

If you know your Pacific War and are familiar with all the major land and sea battles, you may think there’s not much that’s new to discover about the campaign for Okinawa. And maybe there isn’t. But for those who aren’t specialists, this book will prove fascinating. It’s not a page-turner in the accepted sense of the term because most pages appall with the dreadful futility of it all. I couldn’t read more than a dozen pages at a time without feeling a sense of desperation at the almost casual sacrifice of lives on both sides in this war of attrition. No wonder many veterans of Okinawa found it difficult to talk about the horror of it afterward and carried dark memories of their tortured experiences to their graves.

By Saul David,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the award-winning historian, Saul David, the riveting narrative of the heroic US troops, bonded by the brotherhood and sacrifice of war, who overcame enormous casualties to pull off the toughest invasion of WWII's Pacific Theater -- and the Japanese forces who fought with tragic desperation to stop them.

With Allied forces sweeping across Europe and into Germany in the spring of 1945, one enormous challenge threatened to derail America's audacious drive to win the world back from the Nazis: Japan, the empire that had extended its reach southward across the Pacific and was renowned for the fanaticism and brutality…


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