Shanghai 1937

Stalingrad on the Yangtze

Peter Harmsen

This deeply researched book describes one of the great forgotten battles of the 20th century. At its height it involved nearly a million Chinese and Japanese soldiers, while sucking in three million civilians as unwilling spectators and, often, victims.
Publication date:
April 2013
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Language:
English
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9781612001678

Dimensions : 152 X 229 cm
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+
£25.00
Paperback
ISBN : 9781612003092

Dimensions : 152 X 229 cm
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+
£14.99

Overview
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• A rare opportunity to delve into one of the great forgotten battles of the 20th century

This deeply researched book describes one of the great forgotten battles of the 20th century. At its height it involved nearly a million Chinese and Japanese soldiers, while sucking in three million civilians as unwilling spectators and, often, victims. It turned what had been a Japanese adventure in China into a general war between the two oldest and proudest civilizations of the Far East. Ultimately, it led to Pearl Harbor and to seven decades of tumultuous history in Asia. The Battle of Shanghai was a pivotal event that helped define and shape the modern world.

In its sheer scale, the struggle for China's largest city was a sinister forewarning of what was in store for the rest of mankind only a few years hence, in theaters around the world. It demonstrated how technology had given rise to new forms of warfare, or had made old forms even more lethal. Amphibious landings, tank assaults, aerial dogfights and most importantly, urban combat, all happened in Shanghai in 1937. It was a dress rehearsal for World War II—or perhaps more correctly it was the inaugural act in the war—the first major battle in the global conflict.

Actors from a variety of nations were present in Shanghai during the three fateful autumn months when the battle raged. The rich cast included China's ascetic Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his Japanese adversary, General Matsui Iwane, who wanted Asia to rise from disunity, but ultimately pushed the continent toward its deadliest conflict ever. Claire Chennault, later of"Flying Tiger” fame, was among the figures emerging in the course of the campaign, as was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In an ironic twist, Alexander von Falkenhausen, a stern German veteran of the Great War, abandoned his role as a mere advisor to the Chinese army and led it into battle against the Japanese invaders.

Written by Peter Harmsen, a foreign correspondent in East Asia for two decades, and currently bureau chief in Taiwan for the French news agency AFP, Shanghai 1937 fills a gaping chasm in our understanding of the Second World War.

REVIEWS

Journalist Peter Harmsen's new book, Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze, reconstructs the battle narrative of those shocking three months, which saw the Japanese go from a minor military garrison in Zhabei to the Rape of Nanjing... presents a gripping chronology of two sides locked in a horrific death dance...the book genuinely shines.
Cityweekend.com

'Shanghai 1937' has all the elements of a fabulous historical novel... Comparisons by online reviewers to Antony Beevor, author of 'Stalingrad' and 'Berlin,' are justly deserved... One of the really remarkable features of 'Shanghai 1937' is the huge collection of high-quality photographs, all of them in-period and directly relevant to the action, in three 16-page inserts.
Taiwan Today

"Enhances the bare facts with material gleaned from multiple diaries, reports, newspaper and magazine articles, books, and other accounts from combatants and civilians of all nationalities. In addition to on-the-spot impressions from a surprising number of Chinese and Japanese foot soldiers, the book also features eyewitness reports from and about foreigners living and working in the cosmopolitan city at the time... Engaging account of a little-known battle... Practically nothing else in English tackles this topic at this level.
Stone and Stone

'This is a compelling account of this major but often overlooked battle, told from both sides of the conflict and covering every level of the conflict, from the experiences of the private soldier to the problems faced by the senior commanders on both side as well as the eyewitnesses from the international community in the city. The text is supported by a series of maps that help illustrate the course of the battle, and by photographs that show the impact of urban warfare on one of Asia's most prosperous and cosmopolitan cities. ' --History of War, July 2014
History of War

"Harmsen, a two-decade veteran of east Asia, demonstrates a breathtaking command of the battle itself—from the 10,000 meter, panoramic view of the terrain and history, down to the platoon level.”
Asian Review of Books

"Mr Harmsen is an excellent writer. The book rattles along like a modern techno-thriller and moves gracefully between descriptions of the tactical battlefield and the impact on the company, platoon or individual to the strategic machinations of the top brass and the movement of armies and divisions. Whilst the book piqued my interest in the pre Second World War Sino-Japanese conflict it stands very successfully as an excellent piece of military writing in its own right. One only has to be interested in warfare to appreciate this book."
The Wargamer