A Non-Book Review: Kaigun

Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy 1887-1941, by David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie

Since I am writing a book review for this book (once I finish it) for publication elsewhere, I will not be publishing a book review of this book, which is over 600 pages and deals with the Japanese navy between the imperial restoration and the Second World War, as it is my policy not to post book reviews that I write for other websites. That said, I did want to comment a little bit about the book, which I started reading earlier today, to give some idea of its contents to those who might be interested in the book.

For one, this book has a rather precise intended audience. I happen to be a part of this audience, as a historian interested at least somewhat in naval affairs, and largely interested in imperialism and the consequences of institutional politics on strategic and tactical concerns. I am aware that this sort of interest is not widespread, as some of the people I showed this book to when it arrived at my school this afternoon thought that it was not a very fun book at all. The book is designed for Western audiences, which does make it a more appealing read than it would otherwise have been.

Given that I currently reside in Southeast Asia, I thought that reading a book on Japan’s navy and its role in imperialism and the strategy of Japanese expansion might help better understand some of the tangled webs of rivalry and tension in nations that like Japan have tried to combine democracy, militarism, and a royal cult of personality. Clearly, the experience of Japan has relevance far outside of its own country, and I am interested to see if there are any fertile cross-cultural comparisons that can be made, or if the book touches on foreign affairs outside of East Asia, or if it follows its current trajectory and focuses mainly on Japan’s core regions and major foreign wars (as opposed to its allies, like Thailand).

I wished to apologize as well for the brief entry, but I have not had a lot of time recently for a variety of work-related reasons, and I thought it more important to make a brief note on what I was up to rather than to not make any note at all. After all, it is not every day that one receives a massive free book to read stuck in one’s front gate. Such events ought to be celebrated, even if modestly.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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