American Samurai Chapter Summaries

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Cameron, C. M. (2002). American samurai: myth, and imagination in the conduct of battle in the First Marine Division, 1941-1951. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The samurai were a warrior class in feudal Japan who served the lords of clans in Japanese feudal society. They were highly respected elite warriors in both grand military strategy and individual martial arts. The warrior code that they embodied and the myth of the samurai warrior are still alive in modern Japan today. In his book American Samurai: Myth and Imagination in the Conduct of Battle in the First Marine Division 1941-1951, Craig Cameron draws parallels between the United States Marine Corps and the feudal Japanese samurai. Writing from a post-Vietnam view, Cameron …show more content…

This disassociation allows for the whole sale slaughter of people with moral justification. The unforeseen byproduct of this disassociation, as Cameron points out, can be seen in the 1950’s and 1960’s, when many veterans consigned their wives to the kitchen. The intended product of this disassociation, however, was to kill Japanese soldiers. The Marines would reap the benefits of this first in the Guadalcanal campaign of 1942. With the U.S. Marines of First Division engaged in a life or death struggle against their Japanese opponents, the cartoonish portraits of four-eyed, slow Japanese soldiers burned into the American Marine’s mind kept them from thinking about the enemy as men who are carrying pictures of their families eerily similar to the pictures that were carried by Americans. Using the invasion of Peleliu as a backdrop for his analysis, Cameron expands upon his analysis of the individual Marine to the collective thought of the organization. The U.S. Marine self-image caused Marine units on Peleliu to charge head-first into the waiting Japanese defense with foolhardy, head on assaults which they stubbornly pressed. The Marine Corps, even through their hyper-masculine indoctrination, had not prepared their Marines any better than their U.S. Army counterparts on the island. Before Peleliu, the perception of combat had been that of a clean affair due to the romanticized images of World War I. After, due to Tom Lea’s reporting of events, the

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