Sunday, January 08, 2017

“Killing the Rising Sun” by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard – Triumph of the American Eagle

Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
Release date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 336
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)

The Second World War is one of those historical periods that will undoubtedly be studied over and over again for decades, if not centuries to come. Even with all the memories and records that were lost to war and destruction we are still digging up more and more information to fill our textbooks and libraries with. For very good reasons, the European theatre of war is the primary subject of focus for most people who are interested in that period; after all, it's where everything began and many of the most important decisions were made. While America's conflict with Japan near the end of the war usually gets glossed over in general terms amounting to Pearl Harbour, Iwo Jima, and nuclear bomb.

Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard were definitely unsatisfied with how little historical coverage the American-Japan war has been receiving, and have decided to write Killing the Rising Sun , adding to their long-standing series of narrative history books. In tradition with what we've seen them do up until now, they tackle the subject as a self-contained event, not going above or beyond the beginning and end of the war between the two countries.

Those who have had the pleasure of reading some of the earlier books in the series should already know what they're getting into here. Everything is told in chronological order and narrated as if it was a non-fiction novel. The authors have always made a point not to sacrifice accuracy and authenticity for pure entertainment value, and they stay true to their principles this time around as well, being mostly preoccupied with educating and giving you verified facts. That's quite a commendable approach for even though wartime facts aren't exactly the fun kind the authors still found a way to make most of them interesting and present them in a surprising way. In turn, this allows us to better remember the information we're constantly being showered with... after all, you're a lot more likely to keep something in your memory if its presentation (or effect) struck you in a particular way.

As much as they try to steer away from it, O'Reilly and Dugard can't help the fact that they are Americans and presenting the whole thing from the American perspective, therefore opening up the possibility for misconception and misinformation in regards to the Japanese side of things. Despite that, there was never a moment when the book devolved into pro-American propaganda or something equally laughable. They tried to stay as impartial, respectful and objective as possible when discussing the Japanese army and the decisions that were made by Emperor Hirohito.

While it may primarily be a history book that concentrates on important political decisions made by country leaders, there is definitely a welcome amount of action to keep things moving along. O'Reilly and Dugard take us through some of the harrowing battles that took place on those tropical islands, detailing the many exploits of General Douglas MacArthur and his ambitious plans for the invasion of the whole country.

The atomic bomb is rightfully given its own section in the book so-to-speak, with a good amount of attention dedicated to its creation and the countless deliberations that arose around it and its usage. They take us behind closed doors where all the choices were made and into the minds of those who ultimately decided to use the weapon. It's true that they do spice it up with some minor dramatic elements, but ultimately the authors seek to impart their knowledge on us, and in that regard they certainly achieve their goal.

To wrap this thing up, I will venture to say that Killing the Rising Sun is one of the most complete and essential books on the subject of America's fight against Japan during World War II, offering a flood of interesting facts and details delivered through a compelling narrative that successfully grips your attention. If you're a truly hardcore historian and have already done your fair share of studies on this subject, then perhaps you might have trouble finding new information here... but otherwise, I have to recommend you give this excellent historical narrative a read; if you won't become more informed, at least you'll leave entertained.

Bill O’Reilly (September 10, 1949)

Bill O’Reilly 

Personal site

Bill O’Reilly is a famous American television show host, columnist, political commentator, and author. He is the host of his own show, The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, and has penned more than ten books, including the Killing [Assassinated President] series.
Martin Dugard (June 1st, 1961)

Martin Dugard 

Personal site

Martin Dugard was born in Maine, and is American author living his days away in the beautiful state of California. Many of his books are in-depth explorations of real concepts or events that occurred, not to mention he is the co-writer of the Killing [Insert Name Here] series.

More of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's book reviews:
Killing Reagan
Killing Patton
Killing Jesus
Killing Lincoln
Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot

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