ETA: There is much more in this book than the simple listing of atrocities committed. How came it to be that the Japanese soldiers lost all natural sense of right and wrong? Why did the world look away? Why has punishment never been allotted? What can be done to prevent this from happening again? All of these questions are addressed in the book. (Michael, I am adding this for you.)
EVERYBODY should read this book.
Yes, that means YOU.
I am annoyed:
at myself. I have had this on my shelves for ages. First my excuse was that it was too difficult to get my hands on. Then it was too expensive. Then I convinced myself that since I DO acknowledge the massacre, it really wasn't necessary to read the horrible details of it.
at those reviewers that make statements refuting the book's value. I have read the following: "the problem is that her "history" relies almost solely on told accounts, from the chinese." That is not true. Now if someone says that I am going to discount everything that person says. Dam, that annoyed me. Secondly, there are statements that the numbers sited are not correct. There is not one of us who can today deliver the correct figures, but the author does present different sources and different views. I agree that number can always be played with to prove whatever you wish, but there is truth to what is being said in this book and that is indisputable! Without first reading the book you cannot make any judgment of the figures used. YOU must read the book and form your own opinion.
You MUST read this book, if you know and believe in the truth of the massacre and/or if you know nothing about it. When the book came out in 1997, it was groundbreaking. Today more and more books and even a film has come out, based on the hugely inferior The Flowers of War by Geling Yan. Without this book how long would the lies have been voiced and how long the truth hidden.
The facts are supported by documented evidence. A book such as this must be written in this manner. It is not repetitive. It is not dry. It is clear and well organized and it concludes with a strong message. Japan must acknowledge what they did in WW2 and make an official apology. They must make reparations to victims. And finally, they must from now on improve their educational material so that the truth is no longer hidden. This is the very least that must be done!
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Anna Fields. Reading such material demands a strong voice which shows respect for the subject. Anna Fields does this absolutely without fault. Nothing could be improved upon. I was horrified to hear of her death in 2006 due to a flash flood. Look, there is absolutely no legitimate reason, no valid excuse to convince yourself to not read this book. You can listen to it in your car. Don't tell me you do not have the time to read this book. Hogwash. You have the time and it is important that everybody knows as many of the details as possible about what happened. How many holocaust books have your read? I am asking you to read this one book. It is not sensationally written. It is clear and concise. I would say that the audiobook is difficult only to the extent that there are many Japanese names and these are harder to remember when one is not familiar with them, but I can listen to it a second time or I can also buy the paper book. I want to be able to repudiate false claims.