In the aftermath of World War II, Japanese war criminals were tried in a much publicized trial similar to the Nuremberg trials commonly known as the “Tokyo Trials.” In a famous incident caught in the press, Okawa stood up and slapped star defendant Tojo Hideki. Okawa, the only civilian on trial, was believed by many to be the ideological father of Japanese aggression. Many believed that his behavior was a ploy, pretending insanity to gain his freedom but others believed he was genuinely unhinged. The American Military brought in a psychiatrist, Major Daniel S. Jaffe to review the case and Okawa was found unfit to stand trial.
Author Eric Jaffe , discovered his grandfather’s connection to the famous case only very late in his very reticent grandfather ‘s life. By that time, aspersions had been cast on his grandfather’s conclusion. One work about the era intimated that his grandfather, an extremely shrewd man familiar with mental illness, may have been duped by Okawa. Jaffe’s in-depth research into the lives of both men is a fascinating look at two lives from different cultures and the events that would lead to their meeting at a crossroads of history.
Jaffe has a clear flair for storytelling and “A Curious Madness” is a delightful read that will be a favorite with history buffs. “A Curious Madness” from Simon & Schuster is currently scheduled for release in January, 2014. This book was provided to me by the publisher for this review. The opinions, however, are entirely my own!