A curious madness: an American combat psychiatrist, a Japanese war crimes suspect, and an unsolved mystery from World War II

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2014
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In the wake of World War II, the Allied forces charged twenty-eight Japanese men with crimes against humanity. Correspondents at the Tokyo trial thought the evidence fell most heavily on ten of the accused. In December 1948, five of these defendants were hanged, while four received sentences of life in prison. The tenth was a brilliant philosopher-patriot named Okawa Shumei. His story proved strangest of all. Among all the political and military leaders on trial, Okawa was the lone civilian. In the years leading up to World War II, he had outlined a divine mission for Japan to lead Asia against the West, prophesized a great clash with the United States, planned coups d'etat with military rebels, and financed the assassination of Japan's prime minister. Beyond 'all vestiges of doubt,' concluded a classified American intelligence report, 'Okawa moved in the best circles of nationalist intrigue.' Okawa's guilt as a conspirator appeared straightforward. But on the first day of the Tokyo trial, he made headlines around the world by slapping star defendant and wartime prime minister Tojo Hideki on the head. Had Okawa lost his sanity? Or was he faking madness to avoid a grim punishment? A U.S. Army psychiatrist stationed in occupied Japan, Major Daniel Jaffe-the author's grandfather-was assigned to determine Okawa's ability to stand trial, and thus his fate. Jaffe was no stranger to madness. He had seen it his whole life: in his mother, as a boy in Brooklyn; in soldiers, on the battlefields of Europe. Now his seasoned eye faced the ultimate test. If Jaffe deemed Okawa sane, the war crimes suspect might be hanged. But if Jaffe found Okawa insane, the philosopher patriot might escape justice for his role in promoting Japan's wartime aggression. Meticulously researched, A Curious Madness is both expansive in scope and vivid in detail. As the story pushes both Jaffe and Okawa toward their postwar confrontation, it explores such diverse topics as the roots of belligerent Japanese nationalism, the development of combat psychiatry during World War II, and the complex nature of postwar justice. Eric Jaffe is at his best in this suspenseful and engrossing historical narrative of the fateful intertwining of two men on different sides of the war and the world and the question of insanity.
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ISBN:
9781451612110
9781452698908
9781452618906
9781451612059
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Grouped Work ID 842b7c64-416e-fe6e-f439-5e8c7089b163
full_title curious madness an american combat psychiatrist a japanese war crimes suspect and an unsolved myster
author jaffe eric
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-12-08 02:09:07AM

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accelerated_reader_interest_level
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auth_author2 Dean, Robertson,
author Jaffe, Eric.
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author_display Jaffe, Eric
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detailed_location_catalog Commerce City - Adult Nonfiction, Huron Street - Adult CD Audiobooks - Nonfiction, Huron Street - Adult Nonfiction, Wright Farms - Adult Nonfiction
display_description In the wake of World War II, the Allied forces charged twenty-eight Japanese men with crimes against humanity. Correspondents at the Tokyo trial thought the evidence fell most heavily on ten of the accused. In December 1948, five of these defendants were hanged, while four received sentences of life in prison. The tenth was a brilliant philosopher-patriot named Okawa Shumei. His story proved strangest of all. Among all the political and military leaders on trial, Okawa was the lone civilian. In the years leading up to World War II, he had outlined a divine mission for Japan to lead Asia against the West, prophesized a great clash with the United States, planned coups d'etat with military rebels, and financed the assassination of Japan's prime minister. Beyond 'all vestiges of doubt,' concluded a classified American intelligence report, 'Okawa moved in the best circles of nationalist intrigue.' Okawa's guilt as a conspirator appeared straightforward. But on the first day of the Tokyo trial, he made headlines around the world by slapping star defendant and wartime prime minister Tojo Hideki on the head. Had Okawa lost his sanity? Or was he faking madness to avoid a grim punishment? A U.S. Army psychiatrist stationed in occupied Japan, Major Daniel Jaffe-the author's grandfather-was assigned to determine Okawa's ability to stand trial, and thus his fate. Jaffe was no stranger to madness. He had seen it his whole life: in his mother, as a boy in Brooklyn; in soldiers, on the battlefields of Europe. Now his seasoned eye faced the ultimate test. If Jaffe deemed Okawa sane, the war crimes suspect might be hanged. But if Jaffe found Okawa insane, the philosopher patriot might escape justice for his role in promoting Japan's wartime aggression. Meticulously researched, A Curious Madness is both expansive in scope and vivid in detail. As the story pushes both Jaffe and Okawa toward their postwar confrontation, it explores such diverse topics as the roots of belligerent Japanese nationalism, the development of combat psychiatry during World War II, and the complex nature of postwar justice. Eric Jaffe is at his best in this suspenseful and engrossing historical narrative of the fateful intertwining of two men on different sides of the war and the world and the question of insanity.
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subject_facet Audiobooks, HISTORY / Military / World War II, HISTORY. -- Asia, HISTORY. -- Japan, History -- Asia, History -- Japan, History / Asia / Japan, History / General, History / Military / General, Insanity defense -- Japan -- Tokyo -- History -- 20th Century, Insanity defense -- Japan -- Tokyo -- History -- 20th century, Jaffe, Daniel S., -- 1914-2007, Japan -- History -- Allied occupation, 1945-1952 -- Biography, Nationalists -- Japan -- Biography, Ōkawa, Shūmei, -- 1886-1957, Ōkawa, Shūmei, -- 1886-1957 -- Trials, litigation, etc, PSYCHOLOGY / General, PSYCHOLOGY / History, Politicians -- Japan -- Biography, Psychiatrists -- United States -- Biography, War crime trials -- Japan -- Tokyo -- History -- 20th Century, War crime trials -- Japan -- Tokyo -- History -- 20th century, World War, 1939-1945 -- Biography
title_display A curious madness : an American combat psychiatrist, a Japanese war crimes suspect, and an unsolved mystery from World War II
title_full A curious madness : an American combat psychiatrist, a Japanese war crimes suspect, and an unsolved mystery from World War II / Eric Jaffe, A curious madness : an American combat psychiatrist, a Japanese war crimes suspect, and an unsolved mystery from World War II [electronic resource] / Eric Jaffe, A curious madness [sound recording] : an american combat psychiatrist, a japanese war crimes suspect, and an unsolved mystery from World War II / Eric Jaffe
title_short A curious madness :
title_sub an American combat psychiatrist, a Japanese war crimes suspect, and an unsolved mystery from World War II
topic_facet Asia, HISTORY, History, Insanity defense, Jaffe, Daniel S, Japan, Nationalists, Ōkawa, Shūmei, Politicians, Psychiatrists, War crime trials, World War, 1939-1945