Bombing the City

Bombing the City : Civilian Accounts of the Air War in Britain and Japan, 1939-1945

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World War II is enshrined in our collective memory as the good war - a victory of good over evil. However, the bombing war has always troubled this narrative as total war transformed civilians into legitimate targets and raised unsettling questions such as whether it was possible for Allies and Axis alike to be victims of aggression. In Bombing the City, an unprecedented comparative history of how ordinary Britons and Japanese experienced bombing, Aaron William Moore offers a major new contribution to these debates. Utilising hundreds of diaries, letters, and memoirs, he recovers the voices of ordinary people on both sides - from builders, doctors and factory-workers to housewives, students and policemen - and reveals the shared experiences shaped by gender, class, race, and age. He reveals how it was that the British and Japanese public continued to support bombing elsewhere even as they experienced firsthand its terrible impact at home.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 270 pages
  • 153 x 228 x 14mm | 450g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises; 10 Halftones, black and white
  • 1108446523
  • 9781108446525
  • 972,537

Table of contents

List of figures; Acknowledgements; Note to the reader; Featured diarists; Introduction: attacking the people: democracy, populism, and modern war; 1. Give unto Moloch: family and nation in WWII; 2. The muses of war: terror, anger, and faith; 3. Romancing stone: human sacrifice and system collapse in the city; 4. Defending our way of life: gender, class, age, and other oppressions; Conclusion: victory for the people: pacifism and the ashes of the post-war era; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'An intimate and thoroughly original breakthrough in comparative history that skillfully interweaves the diaries and recollections of ordinary British and Japanese civilians to bring alive the horrors of German and American terror bombing in World War II.' John Dower, author of Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq 'Bombing the City is an important book that reminds us, through a focus on the second World War, that 'total war' transforms civilians into targets in new and devastating ways. Drawing on archival sources from Britain and Japan, Moore tells the story of aerial bombardment in the words of those below the bombs.' Lucy Noakes, author of War and the British: Gender and National Identity, 1939-1991 'Much ink has been spilled on the rise of air power in World War II. Aaron William Moore's extraordinary new book manages to bring fresh perspective to this story, focusing on the experience of the bombed in England and Japan. In evocative detail, he shows us how the transformation in battle tactics also transformed cities and urban life. Social history at its best.' Louise Young, author of Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism 'The reading of Bombing the City is enthralling ... recommended for anyone interested in the history of aerial bombardment and civilian experiences of total war.' Jean-Michel Turcotte, Canadian Military History '... this is a richly informative and thought-provoking book that will be enjoyed not only by scholars of Japanese and British history, but also by anyone with an interest in the horrors of indiscriminate bombing campaigns.' Simon Partner, The Journal of Japanese Studies
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About Aaron William Moore

Aaron William Moore is the Handa Chair of Japanese-Chinese Relations at the University of Edinburgh. His research has received support from the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Leverhulme Trust. In 2014, he was awarded the prestigious Leverhulme Prize for his work in comparative history.
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