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Japan's Secret War: Japan's Race Against Time to Build Its Own Atomic Bomb Paperback – August, 1995

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Though the United States's use of atomic weapons against Japan has been the subject of much recent debate, Wilcox here contends that the Japanese had successfully assembled and tested its own nuclear device in August 1945 for use in the war. This updated edition includes new information that claims the Japanese spent much more on its atomic program than originally thought. This remains "a story of moral and historical significance" (LJ 3/1/85).
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Marlowe & Co; Updated edition (August 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156924815X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569248157
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Robert K. Wilcox is the award-winning, bestselling non-fiction and novel writer of such works as Scream of Eagles, Wings of Fury and Target:Patton: The plot to assassinate Gen. George S. Patton. His latest book is The Truth About the Shroud of Turin. In addition to his writing for film and television, he has reported for The New York Times and written for numerous national and international publications including the Miami Herald's Tropic magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and National Geographic. He started his career as a reporter and editor for the Miami News. During the Vietnam War he was an Air Force Information Officer. He lives in Los Angeles. His website is .

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Tom Butler on September 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
The author's research shows the Japanese came far closer to cracking the atomic riddle than they have ever let on. After a half-century of stonewalling by the Japanese and loss of records by the United State government, Robert Wilcox couldn't find the definite answers. Much of his research is unfortunately larded with such phrases as "perhaps" or "possibly." Some of the oral accounts of a Japanese bomb experiment are secondhand or possibly repeated versions of a similar rumor. But the records he dug out of the National Archives (cited box by box) show a pattern of frantic wartime expenditures on fission materials by Japan, attempts to build uranium separators, and plans by the Japanese navy and army to use atomic weapons if the scientists could only finish them in time. The Japanese have never admitted to massive wartime atrocities, let alone their own attempt at building a bomb. The biggest riddle of the book is whether the Japanese, as some reports say, test-detonated their own bomb at a site in present-day North Korea just before the Soviet army closed in. The definite answer may be lost forever.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
Wilcox's book explains not only how essential it was to finish WWII as soon as humanly possible, it ties up some loose ends. Why did Russia make a beeline to Hungnam when it entered the war, and why was it so antsy to start the invasion? Why was our country so sure that orientals wouldn't ever develop the bomb? And for those who doubt that Japan would have used it, read the definitive, massive, but eminently readable Japan's Imperial Conspiracy by Bergamini.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jeffry P. King on January 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Bob Wilcox has done an excellent job of telling the story of Japan's quest for the atomic bomb and has provided credible background and references to substantiate it. His account of Japan's progress towards atomic weapon development is consistent with processes that would be logical and recognizable by anyone familiar with the principles of modern day atomic weapons. I have also discussed the contents of Bob's book with my father, who served as an officer in Korea in the early 50's. He remembers Hangnam, which is cited in Bob's book as one of Japans most important atomic bomb development point and having been captured by Russia, as a secret North Korean missile complex. This is consistent with the book's content. A must read book by those who seek the truth and wish to dispell the guilt complex that the anti-nuclear crowd wishes to impose upon America for bombing Hiroshmia and Nagasaki.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Wagner on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You'll never read Wilcox's theory in your high school history texts. Well, if you believe the U.S. government never lied about or covered up anything, put on your dunce cap and give me twenty pushups. It would appear that both the allies and axis were well on the road to nuclear discover, with the probable exceptions of Italy and Spain, as scientic documents of nuclear interest were freely available and the Manhattan Project was not able to keep the lid on their little secrets. While the FDR team had the lead in tenacity, resources, and money, Germany was well into development as was, according to Wilcox, Japan. Traditionally portrayed as the first victim of the nuclear age, Japan may merely have been slower on the draw, lacking the resources and political cooperation of the U.S. Otherwise, San Franciso may have been transformed into green glass and the invasion of Japan tranformed into an insurmountable task. The bad each country did during conflict would have filled the heavens with stench. There is no reason to believe that, for some altruistic ends, Japan would fail to play the only winning card it had left. So, the book unfolds and the U.S. and Japanese goverments went out of the way to deny Japan's probable attempt to enter the nuclear age. Then, Russia did not help by carrying off everything, probably including top Japanese scientists, from North Korea and forbidding entry to that area by the West. Stalin's cronies did not even let the cat out of the bag about Hitler's skull until more than five decades later. So, do not expect any confirmation from those folks. Wilcox's supposition deserves serious thought and his book deserves wider publication.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Rondo Jensen on May 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fifteen years ago I heard that at the end of WW II, the US Navy destroyed 5 cyclotrons in Tokyo by throwing them into the ocean in spite of the protests of a scientist named Nishina. To this day, no one knows who authorized their destruction. I even found a photo on Google of one cyclotron toppling over the edge of a ship in Tokyo Harbor. The story fascinated me because four of my uncles served in the military in the Pacific during the war, also because my dad was a machinist-welder who worked on the Manhattan Project in Hanford, Washington and then on the reconstruction of Pearl Harbor itself. However, on-line searches, the only resource available to me at the time, only produced tantalizing bits of information and photos, e.g. photo of Neils Bohr in Japan in the 1920's with Japanese physicists.
But Robert K. Wilcox has, once more, produced an amazing book that reflects his dogged determination to get to the bottom of an unusual story and write a fascinating book about it. Filing hundreds of FOIA requests, sending letters everywhere he thought he might find information, and interviewing as many people as he could, produced the information that he skilfully put together in this text that reads like a mystery novel.
One of the most surprising parts of the story is the role of Germany in this Japanese project, and the use of their submarines to transport not only uranium, but also samples of novel German armaments, planes, drawings and blue prints. The Tripartite Agreement entered into in the 1930's by Japan, Germany and Italy formed the basis for this sharing of information and materials. It turns out that Japan had a long history of physics research. Einstein even visited Japan in the 1920's.
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