Paperback review: China’s War with Japan, 1937 – 1945, by Rana Mitter


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The Independent Culture

This book vividly describes how China’s relationship with Japan deteriorated over the years as a consequence of Japan’s growing power – the latter making great strides in the technological and industrial sectors. Rana Mitter focuses his discussion around China – it was China that was plagued by Japan and its aggressive stance in claiming large amounts of Chinese territory. It is not only the savage war between these two countries, from 1937 to 1945, that is explored, but also China’s political system and how this was abused by the the 'Nationalists' - the party in power.

Mitter provides poignant and moving accounts by Chinese citizens which give a real and human perspective to the atrocity caused by Japanese forces. Moreover, he discusses the fact that this war was, and still relatively is, not very well known. The book goes through numerous more commonly-known massacres such as the bombing on Chongqing and also details the vast swathes of Chinese people killed or displaced. As a result, we feel as if we are inside the story, witnessing history happening before our eyes – and watching it run its horrendous course. A real masterpiece of a book.