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In the years and months leading up to Pearl Harbor, Japan was becoming the most industrialized state in Asia as well as the repository of a feudal heritage that fueled imperial ambitions of conquest and hegemony. Across the Pacific, the United States was emerging from the depression and again growing into its role as a global power. Today s partnership between modern Japan now Asia s most well-developed democracy and the United States the world s sole superpower was forged by the confrontation, and finally the reconciliation, of these two competing agendas and cultures in World War II, personified by two men: General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito.
MacArthur, the brilliant and often arrogant American maverick who was elevated to the level of popular hero and policy maker, and Hirohito, the passive intellectual heir considered a divinity by his people, seem at the outset the most unlikely of enemies in war, let alone partners in peace. Under Harvey s scrutiny, however, these superficial characterizations give way to a much more nuanced narrative as well as a revealing portrait of these extraordinary figures.
American Shogun delivers a remarkable account of the vast divide that led to war, and to the unforeseen commonality that helped develop a lasting peace.