Alan Allport

Among the Ruins

Year Zero: A History of 1945


Atlantic Books 368pp £25 order from our bookshop

On 29 October 1945, the Japanese general Yamashita Tomoyuki appeared for the first time before an American military tribunal in Manila to answer charges that he was a war criminal. Yamashita, who had led his troops to victory in the conquest of Malaya and Singapore in 1942 and had later been military commander of the Philippines, was the first senior Japanese officer of the Second World War to be brought to trial by the victorious Allies. It was unfortunate for him that in appearance he matched exactly the crude Western model of the ‘sinister Jap’: short and thickset, he peered out at the tribunal with narrow, squinting eyes. Few commentators thought he stood much of a chance. ‘You couldn’t find a sucker to bet two pesos to 200 on Yamashita’s acquittal,’ wrote the trial reporter for Yank magazine. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,
    • 'In different ways Hatherley makes gritty Lódź and poor old which-country-are-we-in-this-week Lviv sound entrancing… ,
    • In this issue Lucy Popescu discusses the miscarriages of justice occurring in the investigation over Maltese journa… ,
    • 'Rodin’s fascination with ancient Greek sculpture is part of a long and distinguished French tradition.' A review o… ,
    • The New Testament, in a new translation by David Bentley Hart, reviewed by Salley Vickers ,