BERNARD, Nicolas. La guerre du Pacifique (1941 – 1945). Tallandier, 2016. 803 p.
I had already particularly appreciated the author’s previous work (the Germano-Soviet War), but I was a little hesitant on this one: the Asian / Pacific front little exciting me.
Overall, the book has the same positive points as the previous one. First, the author possesses an impressive mastery of writing: a mixture between the legal style Conseil d’Etat, and the more literary one, resulting in a very pleasant and clear reading. A synthetic spirit that allows the author to move quickly between the various belligerents, from the narrative of a confrontation to strategic reflections through political aspects, all without any heaviness. A very high-level scientific apparatus: about 100 pages of notes, 60 pages of bibliographies including academic books, general public literature or enthusiasts, all in English, French and Japanese. We really have the impression that the author has gone around the main part of the literature on the subject (very impressive, if he has read all). Finally, there is a very high degree of impartiality in the remarks: the japonnais are not the great baddians and the USA the defenders of freedom. Of course, the heavy responsibility of Japan and the leaders is largely present, but the author carries out the necessary nuances and a critical mind on the various belligerents.
Without going into detail, for there would be too much to say on this large book, we must not seek here a work of strictly military history. Fights / battles are rarely deepened, except for a few special cases. For example, Iwo-Jima is summarized in one page, Midway a dozen.
We are more about a history of conflict through its political – diplomatic – strategic and social aspects. Passing through Japan, the US, the British, but also very long developments on nationalist China. Always with a mastery of high flight to pass from a point of view, always with a breathtaking writing.
The author does not hesitate to deconstruct certain myths with real discoveries. It is really nice to see today French authors who bring a new approach to the Second World War far from the clichés regularly conveyed.
I would have a lot more to add, but it would be a shame to unveil everything here.
Only advice to all. Whatever your interest in the Pacific / Asian War, you must buy this book.
For only 30 euros, you have a sumptuous synthesis on the subject, and which reads like a captivating novel. Once started reading, impossible to rest the book, and the 650 pages appear very little. Assuredly an absolute reference to read.