I’m going to be as brief and to the point about this book as I can.
One: I did not have the will to review this book. I just did not have the words. Even now, a month on, and I’m still struggling to put this into words. It is, to put it simply, the most harrowing, graphic and revealing account of war crimes I am ever likely to read.
Two: In the end I realised, however little I wanted to review this, I really had no choice. It shocks me to my core that not enough people know about this (the number of people that have read it on Goodreads alone is remarkably low). This story needs to be told. Which brings me onto…
Three: You have to read it. It shocks me to my core that this is not common knowledge and that humanity can be capable of such things- but if we are ever to have any modicum of self-knowledge, then I think it is vital that everyone reads this.
Just a few final points about the content and niggling issues I feel have to be mentioned, which should in no way detract from reading this book, but are worth bearing in mind:
Firstly: I personally am not keen on “one-upmanship” of atrocities.
Secondly: to my mind the author should have resisted the urge to blame the West for China’s choice to trade with Japan instead of demanding reparations.
Thirdly: the lack of education on this as this is not a solely “Western” problem (in Indonesia for instance people wear Nazi paraphernalia). But no good comes out of blanket condemnations. There should be a global push for more education- East to West and West to East- of course, but we need to stop finger-pointing.
Still those were minor points of contention. Overall this was a thorough and highly education piece of non-fiction.
Rating: 4½/5 bananas
So have you read this book? Do you plan to? And have you read a book lately that you struggled to review? Let me know in the comments!