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Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against Japan, Revised Edition 2nd Edition
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"The Black Presidency"
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J. Samuel Walker's "`prompt & utter destruction': Truman and the Use of the Atomic Bomb against Japan" is a superb short discussion of the merits of each of these interpretations and an assessment of the current state of understanding on the subject. He takes an exceptionally even-handed approach, pointing up the strengths and weaknesses of each major argument and assessing how they have evolved over time. In the end, as Walker documents, five fundamental considerations played into the decision to use atomic bombs in August 1945.Read more ›
The results he comes up with are in many ways quite remarkable. For instance it becomes evident that then president Harry S. Truman was never confronted with the categorical choice between using the bomb and invading the Japanese main islands (which might have involved heavy U.S. losses). Indeed, by the beginning of summer 1945 Japan was believed to be so weak that the war was expected to come to an end before an invasion began, and even if it had been necessary to proceed with an invasion, the resulting casualties were supposed to be much fewer than Truman and his top-level advisers claimed after the war. However, Walker demonstrates rather convincingly that whichever alternatives might have existed, the bomb nevertheless proved to be the best means to win a decisive victory at the lowest cost in American casualties. Taking into account the element of time, one begins to understand how great the temptation must have been for Truman and his cabinet to drop the bombs and thereby finish the war with a clean stroke. Although other reasons, too, played an important part in the ultimate decision, the finding that using the bomb simply provided the president and his advisers with the most convenient measure to end the war is a compelling one and without doubt the book's most valuable message.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
I Dont read at all. but this book was just to amazing to not read its very interesting and you can really learn a lot.Published 1 month ago by Eldwin Martinez
Came on time, was in great condition and there was nothing more I could ask for! Thank you!Published 1 month ago by Christy Nguyen
Really enjoyed this book. A good read if you would like to know anything around the policies that influenced America during the second world war.Published 14 months ago by Kevie
Needed it for class. Good read and lots of insight that it really needed more than "just pushing the button".Published 14 months ago by Ikarus S.
Walker does an excellent job of describing Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb while exploring the mythology that has surrounded the decision.Published on March 11, 2013 by gade04
I enjoyed reading this book (kindle version) since it was a required book for my upper-level college class. Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by zalo81
My opinion about this book is it joins a long list of similar books that pick out parts of the decisions that were made in 1945 about use of the atomic bomb and criticize U.S. Read morePublished on October 13, 2011 by Charlie Mudflats Chuck
Samuel L. Walker has written a half-way decent introduction to the subject at hand, but it is not as good as many of the other reviewers think. Read morePublished on September 11, 2008 by Stephen M. St Onge