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A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and Its Legacies [Paperback]

Martin Sherwin
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 11, 2003 0804739579 978-0804739573 1
Continuously in demand since its first, prize-winning edition was published in 1975, this is the classic history of the development of the American atomic bomb, the decision to use it against Japan, and the origins of U.S. atomic diplomacy toward the Soviet Union.

In his Preface to this new edition, the author describes and evaluates the lengthening trail of new evidence that has come to light concerning these often emotionally debated subjects. The author also invokes his experience as a historical advisor to the controversial, aborted 1995 Enola Gay exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. This leads him to analyze the impact on American democracy of one of the most insidious of the legacies of Hiroshima: the political control of historical interpretation.

Reviews of Previous Editions

"The quality of Sherwin's research and the strength of his argument are far superior to previous accounts."

New York Times Book Review

"Probably the definitive account for a long time to come. . . . Sherwin has tackled some of the critical questions of the Cold War's origins—and has settled them, in my opinion."

—Walter LaFeber,

Cornell University

"One of those rare achievements of conscientious scholarship, a book at once graceful and luminous, yet loyal to its documentation and restrained in its speculations."

Boston Globe


Frequently Bought Together

A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and Its Legacies + One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War (Vintage)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The quality of Sherwin's research and the strength of his argument are far superior to previous accounts."—New York Times Book Review


"Probably the definitive account for a long time to come. . . . Sherwin has tackled some of the critical questions of the Cold War's origins—and has settled them, in my opinion."—Walter LaFeber, Cornell University


"Sure to be the definitive study of these particular questions."—Noam Chomsky

From the Inside Flap

Continuously in demand since its first, prize-winning edition was published in 1975, this is the classic history of the development of the American atomic bomb, the decision to use it against Japan, and the origins of U.S. atomic diplomacy toward the Soviet Union.
In his Preface to this new edition, the author describes and evaluates the lengthening trail of new evidence that has come to light concerning these often emotionally debated subjects. The author also invokes his experience as a historical advisor to the controversial, aborted 1995 Enola Gay exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. This leads him to analyze the impact on American democracy of one of the most insidious of the legacies of Hiroshima: the political control of historical interpretation.
Reviews of Previous Editions
“The quality of Sherwin’s research and the strength of his argument are far superior to previous accounts.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Probably the definitive account for a long time to come. . . . Sherwin has tackled some of the critical questions of the Cold War’s origins—and has settled them, in my opinion.”
—Walter LaFeber,
Cornell University
“One of those rare achievements of conscientious scholarship, a book at once graceful and luminous, yet loyal to its documentation and restrained in its speculations.”
—Boston Globe


Product Details

  • Series: Stanford Nuclear Age Series
  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (August 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804739579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804739573
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
(4)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Destroyer of Worlds January 2, 2004
Format:Paperback
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki forever changed the world landscape. The Nuclear Age came to be and a new god arose out of the ashes. The atomic bomb and nuclearism (the worshipful embrace of atomic weapons) came to rule the world in the vacancy left by the Second World War. The bomb and atomic energy came to be viewed as deity because in the words of Robert J. Lifton, "what other than a deity could be capable of destroying the world?" "But a deity also must be capable of ruling and protecting the world, even of keeping the world going?" (From the foreword). The bomb was embraced with both fear and wonder as that of a deity capable of both governing and destroying the world in a single action.
It is this deity's rise to power, which is here chronicled by Martin J. Sherwin. The complex political history is detailed from the beginnings of the Manhattan Project to the destruction of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Offering a fair treatment of all involved Sherwin provides the political backdrop to the creation of the atomic legacy, which continues to this day.
In this work he deals with the scientists' struggles with the military and subsequent use of their work toward military ends. These "soldiers out of uniform" began the race for the atomic bomb against Germany yet towards the end of their work many became increasingly aware of the moral ramifications for unleashing such a devastating device upon humanity. The burning question which continually came up to both scientists, political advisors and the world leaders involved (FDR, Truman, and Churchill) was, "What role would the atomic bomb take in the postwar world?" This question often failed to illicit response and only came to its answer after the destruction of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading material June 25, 2014
By Alex
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book was as advertised, arrived as forecast, and was good value for the money. The book is a good addition to reference libraries.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting February 8, 2013
By bat12
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lots of names. There is a lot of information in this book. I found it to be lacking in its dealing with Allied/Soviet relations leading up to and during the war. He really only brings up the conflict over Poland at the end of the war. He skips over anything related to why the U.S. takes a "firm" stance against Russia. What he writes is very thin. If you bring up that topic have some information about it in the book. The author seems to say that the real impetus for dropping the bombs was a post war leveraging tool against Russia which did not really work thus instigating an arms race / cold war. The book makes you think which is good. It really needs background on the entire political dealings with the Big Three and events that took place during the war between them.
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6 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Truth About The Atomic Scientists September 9, 2011
Format:Paperback
Since I am not a professional reviewer, my attempt may not meet with approval by the usual reviewers. Overall, I was bitterly disappointed in the lack of insight by the author into the coverage of this most important subject. Without doubt, author Martin J. Sherwin takes the attitude that nearly everything done by the United States government in its handling of the research, development and manufacture of the atomic bomb was wrong, morally and politically, and likewise, that the U.S. government unquestionably immorally decided to use the atomic bombs on Japan. The author wrote the book entirely from the scientist's point of view, assuming that since the scientists had the intelligence and knowledge to conceive of and build the bomb, they should have had major influence over the rightful decision makers and participated fully in all the decisions during the development of the bomb and allowed major input into the use of the bomb.

The author takes the reader through the entire process of the conception of the science behind nuclear weapons, and each step of the way in its development, criticizes the U.S. government for not giving the scientist's group full and equal sway over the leaders of the U.S. government, which anyone with half a brain would know belonged exclusively and rightly to the proper governmental and military leaders of the U.S. Not only does the author take this ignorant attitude, but each step of the way in the process, leaves no doubt in the reader's mind that not only were the scientists unfairly left out of the major decisions in the building of the bomb, but that the governmental and military leaders in the U.S. were incapable of and morally wrong in their decision-making process.
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