CERTAIN VICTORY: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media, by David C. Earhart. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe Inc., 2008, 552 pp., with photographs, maps, illustrations, $74.95 (cloth)

One way to induce people to kill other people is to dehumanize "the enemy." And one of the ways to do this is through propaganda. This is a device that propagates information that is often biased or misleading, and is used to promote a political cause or point of view. The consumption of war is made possible through its use.

As David Earhart says, in this arresting collection of Japanese propagandistic images: "Like Nazi Germany's Propaganda Ministry and the United States Office of War Information, Japan's Cabinet Information Bureau was in the business of drumming up morale and convincing people that the war was good and right and, above all else, winnable."

"War, after all," he continues, "had to be 'sold' to the people and they had to 'buy' it, and this commodification of violence is equally true today." In order to find out more about this "information" machine, still so much with us, Earhart here examines various visual remains to chart — like shards (or fingerprints) — the still visible traces.