Best, Antony 1964–

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Best, Antony 1964–

PERSONAL:

Born 1964. Education: University of Leeds, B.A.; London School of Economics, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—International History Department, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton St., London WC2A 2AE, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

London School of Economics, London, England, lecturer in international history, c. 1989—.

WRITINGS:

Britain, Japan and Pearl Harbor: Avoiding War in East Asia, 1936-41, Routledge (New York, NY), 1995.

(Editor, with Paul Preston and Michael Partridge) British Documents on Foreign Affairs—Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print, University Publications of America (Bethesda, MD), four volumes, 1997-99.

British Intelligence and the Japanese Challenge in Asia, 1914-1941, Palgrave/Macmillan (New York, NY), 2002.

(With J. Hanhimaki, J. Maiolo, and K.E. Schulze) International History of the Twentieth Century, Routledge (New York, NY), 2004, revised edition published as International History of the Twentieth Century and Beyond, Routledge (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to books, including Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War, edited by A. Iriye, Bedford/St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999; The Origins of World War Two: The Debate Continues, edited by R. Boyce and J.A. Maiolo, Palgrave/Macmillan (New York, NY), 2003; and The Anglo-Japanese Alliance, edited by P.P. O'Brien, Routledge (New York, NY), 2004. Author of articles for scholarly journals, including the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth Studies, International Studies, Social Science Japan Journal, and Historical Journal.

SIDELIGHTS:

Antony Best is a lecturer at the London School of Economics who specializes in the history of Great Britain and Japan, particularly within the twentieth century. In Britain, Japan and Pearl Harbor: Avoiding War in East Asia, 1936-41, Best uses recently obtained documents to analyze British policy toward Japan and shows how Japan's aggression stemmed from Britain's economic sanctions against the country. He theorizes that the attack on Pearl Harbor was far from a foregone conclusion and distracted the world's attention from the diplomatic failure of Great Britain prior to World War II. A reviewer for Choice called it "a well written book that can spark debate about the diplomatic prelude to war in the Pacific."

British Intelligence and the Japanese Challenge in Asia, 1914-1941 delves into the underlying tensions that eroded the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in the early twentieth century and led to the Pacific Theater in World War II. Best divides these tensions into three categories: racism, in which the British held themselves superior to the Japanese and vastly underestimated their military capabilities; the language barrier, which greatly hampered intelligence operations and led the British to underestimate the threat Japan posed; and bureaucratic infighting, which prevented sharing of information necessary to heading off disaster. Additionally, the British, who remained dangerously ethnocentric, were distracted by Russia, India, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and their resources were stretched thin. Christopher M. Bell, writing in Albion, called the book "a superb overview of British intelligence activities in Asia," and Peter Lowe, writing in the English Historical Review, praised it as "a fascinating study … [in which] evidence is deployed judiciously and the discussion is always lucid."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Albion, spring, 2004, Christopher M. Bell, review of British Intelligence and the Japanese Challenge in Asia, 1914-1941, p. 183.

American Historical Review, June, 1997, John Ferris, review of Britain, Japan and Pearl Harbor: Avoiding War in East Asia, 1936-41, p. 820.

Choice, February, 1996, F. Krome, review of Britain, Japan and Pearl Harbor, p. 1008.

English Historical Review, April, 2003, Peter Lowe, review of British Intelligence and the Japanese Challenge in Asia, 1914-1941, p. 465.

International History Review, August, 1996, Peter Lowe, review of Britain, Japan and Pearl Harbor, p. 699.

Journal of Military History, January, 1997, Raymond Callahan, review of Britain, Japan and Pearl Harbor, p. 191; April, 2003, Peter Dennis, review of British Intelligence and the Japanese Challenge in Asia, 1914-1941, pp. 593-594.

Times Higher Education Supplement, February 25, 2005, Alex Danchev, review of International History of the Twentieth Century, p. x.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (February, 2003), Christopher A. Preble, review of British Intelligence and the Japanese Challenge in Asia, 1914-1941.