Wages of Guilt

Wages of Guilt : Memories of War in Germany and Japan

By (author) Ian Buruma


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In "Wages of Guilt", Ian Buruma explores the duplicity of feeling towards World War II amongst the people of two very different participant countries: Germany and Japan. In this highly original and now classic text, Ian Buruma explores and compares how Germany and Japan have attempted to come to terms with their violent pasts, and investigates the painful realities of living with guilt, and with its denial. As Buruma travels through both countries, he encounters people whose honesty in confronting their past is strikingly brave, and others who astonish by the ingenuity of their evasions of responsibility. In Auschwitz, Berlin, Hiroshima and Tokyo he explores the contradictory attitudes of scholars, politicians and survivors towards World War II and visits the contrasting monuments that commemorate the atrocities of the war. Buruma allows these opposing voices to reveal how an obsession with the past, especially distorted versions of it, continually causes us to question who should indeed pay the wages of guilt.

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  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 26mm | 340.19g
  • 01 Sep 2009
  • London
  • English
  • 1843549603
  • 9781843549604
  • 99,492

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Author Information

Ian Buruma is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College in New York state. His previous books include God's Dust, Bad Elements, Anglomania and Murder in Amsterdam, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Current Interest Book and was shortlisted for The Samuel Johnson Prize. He was the recipient of the 2008 Shorenstein Journalism Award, which honoured him for his distinguished body of work, and the 2008 Erasmus Prize.

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Review quote

"'A comparative study of great subtlety and intelligence' Spectator * 'A profound book' Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sunday Telegraph 'Absorbing and sometimes surprising' A. C. Grayling, Financial Times 'Buruma's sensitive account... is most disturbing to read. I strongly recommend [this] unusual book.' Sunday Times"

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