Alvin David Coox, (pronounced "cooks"; March 8, 1924, Rochester, New York - November 4, 1999, San Diego, California) was an American military historian and author known for his award-winning book, Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia.
Coox studied at New York University with a bachelor's degree in accounting and achieved his doctorate in history at Harvard University. He taught at Harvard University in the 1940s and at Johns Hopkins University, before working as an analyst for the elucidation of 15 years Air Force after they went to Japan. From 1964 to 1995, he taught at San Diego State University.
Coox is primarily known for his two volume book, Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, about the nearly forgotten battles in the Nomonhan Incident, where the Soviet Union and Japan fought for control of Mongolia and Japan was halted in its inland westward conquest from Manchuria. In 1986, he received the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize.
Dr. Coox told colleagues that his book on Nomonhan was a result of 35 years of research and more than 400 interviews. Nomonhan was a "nearly forgotten moment in history," wrote John H. Boyle in his review in the Journal of Asian Studies. Coox "reconstructed the Japanese folly at Nomonhan in all of its political, military, and human dimensions to produce a masterful study that will stand as a model of scholarship for military historians." He showed that the Japanese army "did not know and did not want to know about enemy capabilities," and that the Japanese decision makers were so shaken by the defeat that they turned their strategic emphasis away from the Soviet Union in the north to opportunities in the south.
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