Yamashita’s Ghost: War Crimes, MacArthur’s Justice, and Command Accountability
Allan A. Ryan. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012. 380 pp. Illus. Maps. Notes. Biblio. Index. $34.95.
Reviewed by Alice A. Booher
The latest volume in the University Press of Kansas’ Modern War Studies series, Yamashita’s Ghost is scholarly and intense, well researched and skillfully executed. Allan Ryan, with a solid base of legal scholarship, teaches the law of war at Boston College and Harvard University, served as clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White, as a Marine Corps judge advocate, as first director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations, and as chief prosecutor of Nazi war criminals who had escaped to America. He is not the first to address the long-lasting, wide-ranging impact of the military tribunal trial and execution of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita at the end of World War II, nor is he the first to reflect on the haunting spectral mantle it assumed then and since, but his effort is one of the best.