American Shogun
Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 5:30PM
King Library

Book Discussion

Author: Robert Harvey

Facilitated by: Dr. Richard D’Elia

American Shogun traces the post-World War II partnership of General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito, profiling the status of both nations before and after the war while offering insight into how the efforts of both men set the groundwork for modern American-Japanese relations.

In the years and months leading up to Pearl Harbor, Japan was becoming the most industrialized state in Asia, as well as the repository of a martial heritage that fueled imperial ambitions of conquest and hegemony. Across the Pacific, the United States was emerging from the depression and again growing into its role as a global power. Today’s partnership between modern Japan — now Asia’s most well-developed democracy — and the United States — the world’s sole superpower — was forged by the confrontation, and finally the reconciliation, of these two competing agendas and cultures in World War II, a drama that was defined by two men: General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito. MacArthur, the brilliant and often arrogant American maverick who was elevated to the level of popular hero and policy maker, and Hirohito, the passive intellectual heir considered a divinity by his people, seem at the outset the most unlikely of enemies in war, let alone partners in peace. Under historian Robert Harvey’s scrutiny, however, these superficial characterizations give way to a much more nuanced narrative as well as a revealing portrait of these extraordinary figures. American Shogun delivers an account of the vast divide that led to war, and to the unforeseen commonality that helped develop a lasting peace.

About the Facilitator
Dr. Richard D’Elia was born in Manhattan and raised in Larchmont, New York. He has a great interest in Winston Churchill and read his first Churchill biography at age nine. To better understand Churchill’s multifaceted life, he read about the social and political milieu in which Churchill lived and worked, especially the pre- and post-WW II eras. Dr. D’Elia is both a retired Army officer and college professor.

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