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Freeman J. Dyson on Kamikaze Diaries

jacket imageWhile reviewing another book in the New York Review of Books, Freeman J. Dyson has some very interesting things to say about Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney’s Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers:

Even after recognizing the great differences between the circumstances of 1945 and 2001, I believe that the kamikaze diaries give us our best insight into the state of mind of the young men who caused us such grievous harm in 2001. If we wish to understand the phenomenon of terrorism in the modern world, and if we wish to take effective measures to lessen its attraction to idealistic young people, the first and most necessary step is to understand our enemies. We must give respect to our enemies, as courageous and capable soldiers enlisted in an evil cause, before we can understand them. The kamikaze diaries give us a basis on which to build both respect and understanding.

Kamikaze Diaries presents diaries and correspondence left by members of the tokkotai and other Japanese student soldiers who perished during World War II. Read an excerpt.