Charles Wheeler

After The Bomb

American Shogun: MacArthur, Hirohito and the American Duel with Japan

By

John Murray 480pp £25 order from our bookshop

According to the author, American Shogun is an attempt to weave the lives of two leaders, General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito of Japan, into a single narrative ‘told from both sides’. Readers, he says, should judge whether he has succeeded. It was never likely to be an easy assignment. MacArthur left behind him a long trail of heavy footprints and Robert Harvey’s book is primarily a cradle-to-grave biography of America’s most controversial soldier, covering his many heroic campaigns, his clashes with Roosevelt and Truman, and his remarkably enlightened treatment of the Japanese as supreme commander of the occupation. What makes the narrative unbalanced is the impossibility of giving anything like equal exposure to the self-effacing, tentative Hirohito, who – in this account at least – seems to have tiptoed through life in a state of bemusement, habitually expressing his wishes in bursts of ambiguous verse. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,