In a departure from my usual genre of travelogues and Ben Elton books I picked this up recently on one of my enforced stopovers in Townsville. As you can probably imagine it's pretty heavy going in places and certainly not a fun read. Iris Chang examines the background to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and the subsequent events, culminating in the 'Rape of Nanking' in 1937. In the space of a few weeks in December 1937 the Japanese army is widely believed to have raped. tortured and murdered more than 300,000 Chinese soldiers and civilians in an orgy of unrestrained violence. Amidst the carnage a few unlikely heroes survive, mostly members of the small European community, among them the unlikely German hero, John Rabe, a Nazi who was horrified by the atrocities he witnessed on a daily basis. As I said earlier, 'heavy going' but very enlightening, particularly the latter parts of the book which focus on Japan's attitude to the incident and the minimal reparations which Japan has paid since the end of WW II.