Sarah Kovner, Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese pow Camps

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Author: Thomas Saylor1
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  • 1 Ph.D., Professor of History, Department of History, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota, , USA,
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Sarah Kovner has written a well-organized and well-researched narrative history analyzing the complex experience of men and women the Japanese held captive during the Pacific war. She employs a comparative analysis, examines camps in multiple locations, including Japan, and challenges standard interpretations. Among several key arguments, one that stands out argues that “there was nothing inherent to Japanese character or culture that led to inhumane treatment of pows . . . [and] the Japanese government and military never made it policy to abuse pows [prisoners of war]” (p. 3). This alone sets Kovner’s work apart from

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