An amazing book of how Japan delt with defeat and occupation after World War II. The social upheaval, the scarcity, the feelings of shame and hopelessness- the years right after the war were almost as hard on some as the war itself. The research is obviously solid, and if you live in or around Tokyo, it completely changes how you view so much of that city. Before I read this, Ueno Park was just a little urban garden in downtown, but now I can't go there without thinking about the many starving homeless who froze to death there in the winter of 1946. There is a lot gruesome in these pages, but ultimately a lot to be inspired by. Japan's recovery is legendary, but Dower shows us that it was not without hardship and severity.