The Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Germany and Japan

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9780099477914: The Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Germany and Japan

Between the early 1930s and 1945, a European country and an East Asian country embarked on the most destructive colonial adventure the world has ever seen, and committed atrocities which the victims and their children have never been able to forget. This book explores the ways in which the Germans and the Japanese have come to terms with the past, and investigates the painful realities of living with guilt - and of denying it. The author encounters people whose honesty in confronting the past is brave, and others who astonish by the ingenuity of their evasion of responsibility. In Auschwitz, Berlin, Hiroshima and Tokyo he explores the contradictory attitudes of scholars, politicians and survivors, and his concern throughout is to show how obsession with the past, especially distorted versions of it, is a threat to democracy today in two of the world's most powerful countries.

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Ian Buruma was born in the Netherlands. He studied Chinese literature in Leyden, and Japanese cinema in Tokyo. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He lives in London.

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