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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
1942: A Novel by Robert Conroy
Some really good parts but...
Published in 2009 by Ballantine Books
1942: A Novel follows up on a simple "What if?" from history. What if the Japanese actually invaded and conquered Hawaii rather than simply attacked it on December 7, 1941?
Conroy's book is very strong up until the point where the Japanese invade. The premise of the book is historically strong, the strategies seem logical, the personalities of the real historical figures are consistent with what we know of them nowadays.
Once the invasion happens, Conroy indulges in exploring the depravities of the Japanese secret police with too much vigor. Yes, I know that the Japanese were brutal, cruel, heartless conquerors that literally raped cities like Nanking, China. He shows a similar brutality in the invasion of Hawaii, which is fine and appropriate - there is no reason to assume the Japanese would have acted any better in Hawaii than they did in China, Korea and the Philippines. But, Conroy insists on showing one brutal act after another - multiple rapes, guttings, hands chopped off, heads chopped off, genitalia mutilated and so on.
It becomes a parade of atrocities and, in my opinion, the story starts to drown in it all, which is too bad because it started so well.
I rate this book 3 stars out of 5.
This book can be found on Amazon.com here: 1942: A Novel.
Reviewed on March 27, 2009.