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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ronald H. Spector Narrator: Michael Prichard Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Ronald H. Spector follows up his classic account of the American struggle against the Japanese in World War II with a revealing chronicle of the startling aftermath of this crucial twentieth-century conflict.

Americans are accustomed to thinking that World War II ended on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered unconditionally. Yet on the mainland of Asia, in the vast arc stretching from Manchuria to Burma, peace was a brief, fretful interlude. In some parts of Asia, such as Java and Southern Indonesia, only a few weeks passed before new fighting broke out between nationalist forces and the former colonial powers. In China, a fragile and incomplete peace lasted only a few months, and peace fared no better in Northern Indochina and Korea.

The result was years of grim and bitter struggles, during which many suffered far more greatly than they had during the war itself. In the Ruins of Empire is a sequel to the author’s well-known Eagle Against the Sun. In it, Ronald Spector describes how Vietnamese farmers struggled to survive another war with the French, while US soldiers and marines were amazed to find themselves sent to China and Korea instead of back to their hometowns. In the meantime, five million Japanese soldiers, farmers, and diplomats who were stranded on mainland Asia found themselves in new roles as insurgents, victims, mercenaries, and peacekeepers.

Much of the material in this book has never been published before, and it casts new and startling light on events that shook the countries of Asia. Spector examines recently released material on these events from Soviet and Chinese archives and two top secret intelligence records released by the United States, as well as newly available Japanese documents. In addition, the author chronicles the individual stories of some of the Americans who were sent in to rescue prisoners of war and to tend to the surrender and repatriation of millions of Japanese.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Good historical writing—and Ronald Spector is an excellent writer—ought first to help us see the past more clearly.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Enthralling….A painful lesson backed with impressive research and delivered with Spector’s usual wit and insight.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Michael Prichard reads like an old-time radio announcer, hitting home Spector’s points in a clear voice…. The production is interesting and presented well.”


  • New York Times Bestseller
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About the Author

Ronald H. Spector, a professor of history and international affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, earned his MA and PhD from Yale University. His publications include Professors of War: The Naval War College and the Development of the Naval Profession; At War at Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century, which received the Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History; After Tet: The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam; and Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan, which won the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Prize for Naval History.