“From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia” (Allen Lane) by Pankaj Mishra. This is the story of the Asian intellectual’s response to Western imperialism. It is an intelligent and rewarding read that crisscrosses time and space, helping readers better understand the lingering resentments and contemporary developments. The sections on Japanese Pan-Asianism and diaspora ferment in Tokyo during the early 20th century are illuminating.

“Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster” (Palgrave Macmillan) by Lucy Birmingham and David McNeill. This exploration of Japan’s March 11 disasters draws on captivating interviews with survivors and is told uncommonly well by two veteran Japan-based journalists who share their emotions, experiences and insights. The authors contrast the quiet dignity of ordinary Japanese with the bungling of government authorities and Tepco.

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