The blame for a country's mistakes often falls on its leaders. In some cases, however, a leader's greatest mistake is to promote the mistaken goals of his people. Was this the case in World War II Japan? This book considers that question in the story of Konoe Fuminaro, who served as Japan's prime minister during one of the most difficult periods of the country's history. This historical biography is a balanced account of Konoe Fuminaro and his service as prime minister before and during World War II. Governing from 1937 to 1941, Fuminaro played a key role in the struggle to develop Japanese foreign policy. Beginning with Konoe's education and political training, the author then explores the general mood of 1930s Japan and traces Konoe's rise through the political ranks, including his first term as prime minister, his decision to step down, and his eventual comeback. Especially emphasized is how the man himself affected this period of Japanese history. In his relentless work regarding Japanese-American diplomancy, he attempted to change the destructive course on which Japan was bent. Defeated in essence by his own military and its growing autonomy, Konoe nevertheless took the Japanese defeat to heart. The final chapter examines Konoe's war experience and its aftermath, which culminated in his suicide.