Reviews of Hirohito's War

A review of Hirohito’s War in Foreign Affairs Magazine - January/February 2016 by Professor Lawrence D. Freedman – Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College, London

“Pike’s book is an extraordinary achievement; it is as definitive as any single volume history of the Pacific War can be… Pike’s analysis is careful but never dry, and he pens lively portraits of his main characters”

Foreign Affairs Magazine - [ Read the full review.... ]

Jules Stewart's review of Hirohito’s War in Military History Monthly - July 2015

“He has spared no effort in creating what is likely to stand as the definitive reference book for students of the Pacific War.”

Military History Monthly - [ Read the full review.... ]

Dominic Green's review of Hirohito’s War in The Spectator 4.7.2015

Magnificent … Hirohito’s War by Francis Pike sets a new standard: oceanic in scope, comprehensive in detail, subtle in dissection, magisterial in organisation and consistently readable.”

The Spectator - [ Read the full review.... ]

Professor Rana Mitter's review of Hirohito’s War in the New Statesman 30.7.2015

Francis Pike’s monumental new book, a thoughtful and detailed synthesis… is a welcome addition to the work on the period. The title undersells the book’s contents. Most innovatively, the analysis of the war brings together the… Pacific War... and the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre, where Chinese armies took the brunt of the resistance within China itself, while US and British empire troops were active in Burma.

Pike’s narrative is arranged through battles and campaigns, and he analyses each with meticulous care... brings immense detail and sensible judgement to each one... One of the strengths of the book is that the weight of detail is complemented by sympathetic and plausible pen portraits of significant figures, including the generals who had to execute policy on the ground.

The New Statesman - [ Read the full review.... ]

A review of Hirohito’s War in World War II History Magazine by Christopher Miskimon*

“This volume appears intended to be the definitive work on the Pacific War and succeeds in being just that. The book can easily serve as the single source on its subject in a library and still leave the user feeling informed in depth.”

*[Captain, Field Artillery, Colorado National Guard]

World War II History Magazine - [ Read the full review.... ]

Richard R. Burgess's review of Hirohito’s War in Seapower Magazine - December 2015

“This book is well organized… highlights some aspects that often go unremarked, such as the Chinese losses and the losses of Japanese soldiers to starvation.”

Seapower Magazine

At the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Francis Pike offers a comprehensive look at the Pacific War, which the publisher claims is the first single volume history of the war produced in 30 years. This book is well organized with subheads and serve in many ways as illuminating side-bars. The author is able to highlight some aspects that often go unremarked, such as the Chinese losses and the losses of Japanese soldiers to starvation. Pike also questions some assumptions of the causes of the war and the need for the fire-and atomic-bombing of Japan.

Publisher’s Weekly Review of Hirohito’s War, 28.8.2015

Pike (Empires at War)... offers a spectrum of fresh perspectives on a war generally presented in Western terms that minimize Japan's agency. He addresses the Pacific conflicts in WWII in the context of a comprehensive century-long struggle for dominance over the Pacific… Pike tells the story on a fitting scale.

Publishers Weekly - [ Read the full review.... ]

Book Review: Hirohito’s War
By Steve Donoghue

“The book is also animated from first to last by a scholarly even-handedness that’s more assured than any previous book on the subject, although all the more invigoratingly argument-starting for that:”

Ryan Chou – Book Reviews Magazine [Winter 2016]

“… where Pike’s text truly shines – is its coverage of the often overlooked British campaigns… readers looking for an introduction to the Pacific War, as well as those more familiar with older works, will be enlightened by the passages covering the more obscure aspects, while experts can use the book as a handy reference…”

'Drawing on the most up-to-date scholarship as well as a broad range of first person accounts, Francis Pike offers readers a comprehensive, vivid, and fast-paced history of Hirohito's war from the frontiers of India to the plains of Manchuria, and across the trackless stretches of the Pacific. Pike is equally at home in discussing high politics, strategy, and tactical maneuver. His attention to the logistical requirements of war fought on such a vast scale is especially welcome as is his unflinching discussion of the major historical and moral debates that emerged from the conflict.'

Marc Gallicchio, Villanova University, USA

'A broad and sweeping treatise on the strategic origins and execution of the war from the perspective of both major combatants (Japan and the United States), but also an incredibly detailed "blow-by-blow" report of the tactical battles and operational level-of-war campaigns in the waters and islands of the Pacific and the jungles, mountains and vast geographical expanses of the Eastern Asian continent. . . Francis Pike's Hirohito's War: The Pacific War, 1941 - 1945 is a major scholarly work and accomplishes a great many things to advance an understanding of the massive war between Japan and the United States.'

David C. Fuquea, U.S. Naval War College, USA

'Francis Pike, drawing on a wide array of English-language sources, has written an encyclopedic book about Japan's World War II and its enemies' response. He gives many pages to the most important battles of the war, and also describes some that have not been widely discussed before.'

Richard Smethurst, University of Pittsburgh, USA

'Francis Pike has produced a detailed, meticulously researched, highly readable synthesis of the Second World War in East Asia and the Pacific. Always fully in command of his sources, Pike has skilfully woven a vast amount of information into a lucid, coherent narrative . . . lt will be indispensable for every serious student of military and East Asian history as well as the general reader.'

Christopher W. A. Szpilman, Kyushu Sangyo University, Japan

Reviews of Empires At War

'A fantastic work of scholarship which ought to become the standard work. Francis Pike's knowledge, erudition, eye for the telling detail and sheer breadth of scope is truly astonishing.'

Andrew Roberts
author of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900

'An absolute page-turner and deeply learned. Empires at War is the best and most comprehensive account of the history of Asia since World War II that I know. Francis Pike's narrative is gripping, original and entertaining.'

Dr Simon May, writer and philosopher,
Birkbeck College, University of London;
former Professor of Philosophy at Tokyo University

'A stunning piece of work'

Norman Stone,
formerly Professor of Modern History at Oxford University
and author of Europe Transformed, 1878–1919
and The Eastern Front, 1914–1917