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Books About the Panay Incident and the Fall of Nanking

Some of these titles are out-of-print.  We suggest searching for them using Bookfinder.com.

Yangtze Patrol: The U.S. Navy in China
Tolley, Kemp. 
U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1971.  362 Pages.

Panay Incident — Prelude to Pearl Harbor
Perry, Hamilton Darby & Introduction by Barzini, Luigi
Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Macmillan Company, 1969. 295 pages.

Compiled from dozens of interviews with Panay survivors and Japanese participants, this book presents the most definitive account of the incident.  Perry, former publisher of the American Heritage magazine, paints a vivid portrait of what he calls “a dress rehearsal for the greatest global war in history.”  (A link to Perry’s excellent article in American Heritage appears in the website section).

The Panay Incident: Prelude to War
Koginos, Manny T.
Purdue University, Indiana, 1967. 154 pages.
Documents on the Rape of Nanking
Brook, Timothy
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Paperbacks, 1999.  320 pages.

The Rape of Nanking
Chang, Iris
Penguin Books, New York 1998. 290 pages.

Iris Chang’s astonishing book became an international sensation upon publication.  The first work in a generation to reveal the extent of Japanese atrocities during the Chinese war, it remains controversial. It is an important read for anyone interested in the causes of WWII, and for understanding the events that led up to the Panay incident. 

FDR: Into the Storm
Davis, Kenneth

Random House, New York, 1995.  691 pages.
Davis’ work chronicles decision and policy making in the years leading up to World War II, with a special focus on the Japanese problem.


The Panay Incident, December 12, 1937
Joseph Bryan Icenhower
F. Watts, publisher, 1971.  81 pages.

Icenhower’s book, intended for a high school audience, presents the Panay’s story in condensed form with many photographs.

I Witness
Alley, Norman
Wilfred Funk, New York 1941.  370 pages.

Norman Alley’s thrilling career prior to the outbreak of WWII is recounted in this wonderful book, several chapters of which describe his brush with death aboard Panay


The Sand Pebbles
by Richard McKenna

Richard McKenna's classic novel takes the reader on a journey down the Yangtze River aboard the gunboat USS San Pablo. A novel full of nuance and power, it is also one of the most stirring portraits of the U.S. Navy in pre-WWII China.

The Battleship Navy:
Historic U.S. Navy Films WWI-1941

This DVD features historic U.S. Navy films including films about the Yangtze Patrol, Asiatic Fleet, and a silent version of the Norman Alley "Panay Incident" newsreel.