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War's End: An Eyewitness Account of America's Last Atomic Mission Paperback – July 6, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books (P); First Avon Books Trade PBK Printing edition (July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380788748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380788743
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,210,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Sweeney, the only person to fly both atomic bomb missions over Japan in 1945, wrote this account because "I [felt] outraged and betrayed when...our national museum, the Smithsonian exhibition,...attempted to change the history of the war." The Smithsonian exhibition initially questioned whether dropping of the bomb was justified. Sweeney starts off with a clumsy attempt to advertise himself, then partially succeeds in cultivating the excitement of "insider" knowledge of specific events, places, and times. Because Sweeney claims to have "hitched his star" to Col. Paul Tibbets, the mission commander and pilot of the Enola Gay, this volume serves to raise his visibility as second in command. He does not forcefully support his thesis of "righting a wrong" until the last chapter and appendix (involving testimony before a Senate committee). Ultimately, this book offers little new or startling information. Recommended only for pertinent collections.?Harry V. Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Sys., Iola
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

General (then Major) Sweeney was the pilot of Bock's Car, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Like its target, the second atomic mission has never received a fraction of the attention given its predecessor, targeted at Hiroshima. This book begins to answer that situation. Sweeney, a Boston Irishman learning to fly at the time of Pearl Harbor, became acquainted with Paul Tibbetts, pilot of the Hiroshima mission, during test-pilot work on the B-29. Picked for the 509th Bombardment Wing, Sweeney eventually executed his mission, despite human error, mechanical failures, bad weather, fuel shortages, and a bomb that had to be armed before takeoff. Much of this account adopts a tone of moral outrage over the current historical revisionism concerning the A-bomb. It reflects the consciousness in 1945 of ever-lengthening American casualty lists because of stubborn Japanese resistance that was expected to continue indefinitely. The revisionists may have a case, but Sweeney has one, too. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed this very interesting book.
Ercillor
The real story is despite all the things that went wrong on the mission, they were still able to deliever the bomb and force the Japanese to sign a peace treaty.
Neil The Unreel
The only major difference in the Dresden and Hiroshima bombings is the number of bombs dropped; thousands vs. one.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. Ring on July 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First off, let me say that to the three folks who gave this book a one star rating, it appears to me that they did not bother reading the book. In one of the later chapters, Charlie Sweeney tells how he sought out the advice of a Catholic priest for his opinion of "just war". Just War is a bona-fide teaching of the Christian religion. Being in the leather business at the same time as Charlie,although about twenty years his junior, I came to know him as a humble, forthright and sincere person. Around the mid-1980's I was taking a graduate course at Harvard Extension that dealt with the history and the people behind the development of the atomic bomb. For the last class, I arranged to have Charlie come in and give a talk to my fellow students and the professor about his experiences. While Charlie gave his talk I think it was safe to say that you could have heard a pin drop in the room. I think some of my fellow students expected to find a character out of Dr. Strangelove. Maybe some of them were even dis-appointed with Charlie's demeanor. In a very low key and matter of fact way he set the tone and the atmosphere to give us all a chance to have some idea what the background of the time was that made the decision to drop the bombs necessary. Rest in peace, Charlie. You were indeed a member of "the Greatest Generation".
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
General Sweeney defends the use of the atomic bombs in World War II without being defensive. As the only individual to actively participate in both missions which ended the war, Sweeney brings a unique perspective to this now controverisal issue. First, he presents his story in a refreshingly plain style, then gives the reasons why it all happened. Sweeney's voice is the calm in a storm of revisionist histories and thus carries the most weight. This is a personal story more than objective history, but it contains something other studies lack: a true sense of context, and that makes it a story worth reading.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By John M. Rennar (heresjr@msn.com) on November 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
General Sweeney has made it easy to look at things as they were, not how we think they should have been. All the revisionists in the world cannot change the facts, the U.S. used everything in its power to end the war and save AMERICAN lives. If you believe anything else, you are nothing but a fool! The Japanese were as cruel and brutal as the Nazis. Just because they deny the atrocities they committed cannot change the truth. It is as absurd as someone trying to deny that the Holocaust never occurred. Instead of portraying the Japanese as victims, historical revisionists should talk to the few survivors of the Bataan Death March, Japanese POW camps or any Chinese who made it through the rape of Nanking. Shouldn't historians base their conclusions on real facts and not on fantasy-based theories?
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey T. Munson on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Most people are well aware of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, but some forget that three days later, a second bomb destroyed the city of Nagasaki. This book is the story of Major Charles Sweeney, the pilot who commanded the Nagasaki mission.
Major Sweeney had risen through the ranks of the Army Air Corps, becoming proficient in many different aircraft. As fortune would have it, Sweeney met Colonel Paul Tibbets, who was in charge of a top secret operation. Immediately intrigued, Sweeney spoke with Tibbets and asked if he could be assigned to Tibbets' unit. Tibbets agreed, and eventually Sweeney would become Tibbets' right hand man. Stationed at Wendover, Utah, Tibbets put his men through a rigorous training course. His men became experts in the flight and operations of the B-29, as well as techniques designed by Tibbets.
Finally, the group left Wendover for Tinian island. This would be their new base of operations. Training continued, and on August 6, 1945, three B-29s lifted off the runway bound for Hiroshima. Tibbets piloted the bombing plane, the Enola Gay, while Sweeney flew one of the reconnisance aircraft. (Sweeney was the only person to be invloved in both atomic missions). At 8:15 on August 6, 1945, a single bomb fell from the Enola Gay and vaporized the city of Hiroshima. However, the Japanese did not surrender. Three days later, a second mission, commanded by Sweeney, again headed for Japan.
The target city was Kokura. The weather aircraft flying ahead of Sweeney's plane reported clear weather over Kokura, the primary target, and Nagasaki, the secondary target. However, fires from a nearby city which was bombed the night before began to obscure Kokura.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The wartime world that Charles W. Sweeney evokes so eloquently in "War's End" is one that is almost incomprehensible to anyone under fifty. How can anybody grasp concepts such as "total war," "total mobilizaton," the sky filled with thousands of bombers and American deaths numbering 900 a day? But even harder to understand ­ in a modern society where sacrifice can mean giving your subway seat to an old lady ­ is how young men in their twenties can routinely put their lives on the line for such abstractions as "country," "duty"...and simply doing the right thing. This is one of the messages that Sweeney brings home so forcefully in his book ­ people united in a monumental effort to defeat a fanatical enemy. We should all thank the General...for what he did during the war and for the way he has been able to debunk the revisionists and preserve this grand story for later generations. As someone born under Japanese occupation in the Philippines, I have to add my personal "Thank you." We're very, very grateful.
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