The first narrative history of the nuclear attack told from both the Japanese and American viewpoints.
"Nobody is more disturbed," said President Truman, three days after the destruction of Nagasaki in 1945, "over the use of the atomic bombs than I am, but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language [the Japanese] seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true."
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 100,000 instantly, mostly women, children and the elderly. Many hundreds of thousands more succumbed to their horrific injuries later, or slowly perished of radiation-related sickness. Yet the bombs were 'our least abhorrent choice', American leaders claimed at the time -- and still today most people believe they ended the Pacific War and saved millions of American and Japanese lives. Ham challenges this view, arguing that the bombings, when Japan was on its knees, were the culmination of a strategic Allied air war on enemy civilians that began in Germany and had till then exacted its most horrific death tolls in Dresden and Tokyo.
The war in Europe may have ended but it continued in the Pacific against a regime still looking to save face. Ham describes the political manoeuvring and the scientific race to build the new atomic weapon. He also gives powerful witness to its destruction through the eyes of eighty survivors, from 12-year-olds forced to work in war factories to wives and children who faced it alone, reminding us that these two cities were full of ordinary people who suddenly, out of a clear blue summer's sky, felt the sun fall on their heads.
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PAUL HAM is the author of the highly acclaimed Kokoda and is the Australia correspondent of the London Sunday Times. He was born and educated in Australia and lives in Sydney, having spent several years working in Britain as a journalist and publisher.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* In 1945, in the midst of secrecy about the development of the atomic bomb and ongoing debates over the most “efficient” way to end the war with Japan, American leaders made the fateful decision to launch nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombings certainly stopped the war and destroyed its targeted cities, killing more than 100,000 people, but had they been necessary? Ham presents a forceful argument that the bombing was excessive and unjustified. Alternate chapters recount the building tension toward the awful decision by the Allies and the day-to-day lives of starving Japanese caught between their aggressive emperor and military and sure retaliation. In this sweeping and comprehensive history, Ham details the geopolitical considerations and huge egos behind evolving theories of warfare, the burgeoning killing technology of biological and nuclear war on the part of the Japanese and the Allies as well as the shameful tactic of dehumanizing the Japanese enemy. But most powerful are the eyewitness accounts of 80 survivors, ordinary people caught up in the events of war, who felt the terrible destruction of a nuclear blast and its aftermath of radiation sickness. --Vanessa Bush
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Book Description Doubleday, 2011. Book Condition: New. Today most people believe that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 forced the surrender of Japan and spared the millions of deaths that would have resulted from a continued war. Examining the bombings, the science and politics leading up to them and, through harrowing personal testimonies, the experiences of some of the survivors, Paul Ham concludes that, despite the American claim that they had opted for 'the least abhorrent choice', viable alternatives were never considered. Bookseller Inventory # 210899
Book Description Doubleday UK, 2012. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0857521055
Book Description Doubleday, 2011. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. All books sent from a real bookshop in Cornwall, UK. Please contact us if you need any help. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000106608