M.H.'s Reviews > Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths

Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki
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's review
Oct 13, 11

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

Haunting and important. A terrifyingly true story about the dehumanization and futility of war. A warning against blind obedience to any cause, even patriotism, and the resulting twisted reasoning that can lead to unthinkable consequences. It might be easy as an American to say that this is an interesting look into the pre-WWII Japanese mind and feel superior. But reading the book closely, I found no nobility in the Americans. They were faceless, indiscriminate hunters, more defined by their equipment than their humanity. Not to discount that in reality there were many individual acts of heroism, bravery, brotherhood, and even mercy from both sides, but as an aggregate one has to wonder why these battles were important at all. Why were the Americans aggressively attacking an Indonesian island even as they were bombing the Japanese home islands? Even if there were 100,000 troops there, more humane strategies could have been devised. And what of the local people, conspicuously absent.

The title resonates. The book put me in the hungry and desperate minds of these soldiers, and I wonder what would ever qualify as a noble death in these circumstances.

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