Empires on the Pacific smashes the standard narrative of World War II in the Pacific theater, showing America's aim to replace Britain as East Asia's New Imperial Power. Robert Smith Thompson offers a long overdue explanation of what America's war against Japan was really about--in a word: China. The over-reaching British Empire was waning yet unwilling to relinquish its foothold in China, while an increasingly ambitious Japan was determined to dominate the region by conquering China. Enter the young upstart, America. For Franklin Delano Roosevelt and for the United States, the war with Japan had little to do with revenge for Pearl Harbor. Japan would have to be vanquished so that it would never again be an imperial rival.Thompson's recasting of the Asian conflict profoundly alters our understanding of World War II in the Pacific and of what followed in Korea and in Vietnam. Revisionist history at its best, Empires on the Pacific is a far-reaching book that requires us to re-evaluate what we thought we knew about twentieth-century American history and what many still consider our last "good war."