Sir Max Hastings was a foreign correspondent for many years, reporting from more than 60 countries for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard. He reported conflict in the Middle East, Indochina, Angola, India, Zimbabwe and finally the 1982 Falklands War. He has presented historical documentaries for television, including series on the Korean War and on Churchill and his generals. He is the recipient of numerous British awards for his books and journalism, including Journalist of the Year (1982), and Editor of the Year (1988). He has written 18 books on military history and current events. Some notables are Bomber Command, which earned the Somerset Maugham Prize for nonfiction, The Battle for the Falklands, Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, both of which also received awards. For 16 years, he was successively editor-in-chief of the British Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard, from which he retired in 2002. He has published two memoirs, Going To The Wars (2000) about his experiences as a war correspondent, and Editor (2003) about his time running newspapers. He lives outside London.
Most of the work by acclaimed British historian and former newspaper editor Hastings has focused on World War II in Europe (e.g., Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy), but here he tackles the Pacific theater. Using American, Soviet, Chinese, Japanese, and Australian sources, he offers a succinct and well-written account of the final stage of the war against Japan. Hastings glosses over some of the more familiar parts of the conflict, e.g., Iwo Jima, Leyte Gulf, and Okinawa, relying only on secondary sources. But he makes up for it with a thorough assessment of the Soviet campaign in Manchuria and the "lagging" Australian role in the Pacific. Some readers will question his modifying Japanese accounts to fit them into Western vernacular. Overall, this book works best not as a standalone but as an excellent addition to the existing historiography of the Pacific War. It should be added to academic and public libraries as both the serious scholar and casual World War II history enthusiast will be interested. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/07.]-Antonio Thompson, Austin Peay State Univ., TN Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"[A] masterly account of the climax of the conflict against
Japan. . . . Hastings is a military historian in the grand
tradition." --The New York Times Book Review
"Compelling. . . . To the broad sweep of military events Hastings adds myriad human stories . . . and he does not hesitate to offer his own keen analysis along the way." --The Wall Street Journal "Through the imaginative power of his writing, we get an inkling . . . of what it must have been like to slog one's way up a cliff at Iwo Jima, or be firebombed in Tokyo." --The New York Review of Books
"A triumph. . . . The key to the book's success lies not in its accessibility, nor in its vivid portraits of the key figures in the drama--although it has both--but in something else entirely: the author's supremely confident ambition." --The Sunday Times (London)"Hastings has another winner. . . . This book is first-rate popular history, stiffened with a strongly stated point of view . . . A close-up and personal look at war as it affected real people, and how it felt to them at the time." --Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Explosive, argumentative, intensely researched. . . . Demands to be read. A book of stunning disclosures." --Tom Mackin, Sunday Star-Ledger
"[A] masterful interpretive narrative. . . . Hastings is both comprehensive and finely acute." --Booklist
"Spectacular . . . Searingly powerful. Hastings makes important points about the war in the East that have been all too rarely heard." --Andrew Roberts, The Sunday Telegraph
"Extraordinary . . . Anyone who believes that we're all living through a uniquely troubled time should read this . . . book." --Georgie Rose, The Sunday Herald
"This is a book not only for military history buffs but for anyone who wants to understand what happened in half the world during one of the bloodiest periods of the blood-soaked 20th century." --The Spectator
"Highly readable . . . An admirably balanced re-examination of the last phases of a conflict that it is not fashionable to remember." --Dan van der Vat, The Guardian
"Engrossing. . . . Its originality lies in the meticulousness of the author's research and the amazing witnesses he has found." --Murray Sayle, The Evening Standard
"Hastings is . . . a master of the sort of detail that illuminates the human cost. It is the way he leaps so adeptly to and fro between the vast panorama and the tiny snapshot pictures that makes him such a readable historian." --Mail on Sunday