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Atomic Tragedy: Henry L. Stimson and the Decision to Use the Bomb Against Japan 1St Edition Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801446542
ISBN-10: 0801446546
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"Malloy explores with sensitivity, insight, and rigorous attention to detail the complexity and contradictions of wartime research into atomic weapons . . . . Far from succumbing to the 'great man' approach to history, Malloy reveals the extent to which momentous historical events may be wrought by a large number of men―great, middling, or base―acting with incomplete or inaccurate information, according to differing value systems, in the service of contradictory ends. . . . Malloy deftly manages the biographer's trick of portraying his subject with sympathy while stopping short of hagiography. He assesses Stimson's actions and motivations with clear eyes, acknowledging and distinguishing between the moral standards of his time and those of our own."―Dyon Stefanon, America in WWII

"Malloy rovides an important perspective on the continuing debate about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 . . . . His study of Henry L. Stimson, who served as secretary of war during World War II, is valuable. Stimson, who was in his seventies during the war, was one of the Republican Party's most respected elder statesmen, having been in Hoover's and Taft's cabinets before. He was a deeply moral man who believed in the rule of law to keep international order. Yet despite his fervent belief in moral suasion, he succumbed to the allure of the atomic bomb―and all its attendant horrors―when presented with the possibility that the terrible war could be concluded through its use, even though at the expense of civilian life. Malloy's book . . . presents us with an updated and exceedingly insightful assessment of the aging statesman, perhaps no longer at the top of his game yet faced with one of our country's most challenging decisions during its most awful conflict. Malloy believes Stimson's decision to support the bomb went against his most cherished beliefs and was for many a disappointing conclusion to an outstanding career of public service. . . . This book is highly recommended for all collections."―Library Journal (starred review)

"Showing originality, Sean Malloy approaches the decision to use the bomb from the perspective of a key player, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, who had a record of opposition to indiscriminate attacks on civilians, evident misgivings about the prospective use of the atomic bomb, and concern about the implications of its use for future peace and security."―Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"Malloy's work is the best analysis of these crucial events that I have seen, and if I had to recommend to students a single book to read about the decision to drop the bomb, this would be it. Clear, fair, engaging and historiographically sophisticated, it is a major contribution to our continuing struggle to understand the terrible events of the 1939-1945 world war."―Susan Lindee, Peace and Change

"Sean L. Malloy's richly detailed, well-argued book is the latest addition to the growing literature on Stimson that offers a critical analysis of his role in what is arguably the most momentous U.S. defense and foreign policy decision of the modern era―to use nuclear weapons against Japan and as a diplomatic tool against the Soviet Union. Malloy's goal is daunting, especially in a relatively brief book, but he achieves it surprisingly well. Making extensive use of archival resources, Malloy employs the lens of biography to recapture Stimson's complicated relationship to the bomb and the context of its use. . . . This book is a well-written, informative, judicious account that will be useful to historians as well as policy analysts and ethicists."―Monroe H. Little, Journal of American History, June 2009

"Using the life and perspective of the erudite, elitist, loyal, compassionate, and complicated Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, to drive his narrative forward, Malloy examines the development of the bomb and the decision to use it. Anyone looking for a review of atomic bomb scholarship as well as a sense of the actual decision-making process will find Malloy's thoughtful and very accessible account both enlightening and thought provoking. . . . Atomic Tragedy is well worth the read."―Jonathan F. Phillips, Military History of the West, 2009

"For decades, Henry L. Stimson's seminal role in the dawn of the nuclear age has demanded a serious study. With Atomic Tragedy, Sean L. Malloy has done more than fill this glaring gap. He has drawn a compelling, expertly researched, incisive, and balanced portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's secretary of war. This book merits a spot on the top shelf of essential works on nuclear history and transcends prior biographical treatments."―James G. Hershberg, George Washington University, author of James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age

"Henry L. Stimson stood at the center of the maelstrom of world conflict at the middle of a century of unprecedented military destruction. Sean L. Malloy's Atomic Tragedy details how this principled secretary of war, drawing on Victorian codes of conduct, approached his military planning and policymaking role. Malloy's book not only makes compelling reading but also offers a vital reflection on the ways in which the world Stimson helped make is still very much with us."―Michael D. Gordin, Princeton University, author of Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War

"Sean L. Malloy has written a superb book. In these pages, he describes how Henry L. Stimson balanced his involvement in the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki against his own standards of war, morality, and international relations. Malloy presents Stimson in light of what the Secretary of War himself consider the tragic destruction of these cities and adds a new dimension to the debate on the use of the atomic bomb at the end of the Pacific War."―Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, University of California at Santa Barbara, author of Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan

"Atomic Tragedy is an incisive analysis replete with sparkling details. Sean L. Malloy takes the pioneering work of Barton Bernstein and Gar Alperovitz to the next level in a nuanced history that concisely summarizes and ultimately transcends the existing scholarship."―Elizabeth Borgwardt, author of A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights

"It is necessary to have this book now, just as we embark on yet another spasm of atomic expansion. Sean L. Malloy tells the reader about all the conflicting pressures on Henry L. Stimson and fits him in perfectly to his times and to ours. No one can come away from this book without a deep appreciation of the real meaning of Stimson's all-too-human struggles. Atomic Tragedy is a work to be reckoned with."―Lloyd C. Gardner, Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History, Rutgers University --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"It is necessary to have this book now, just as we embark on yet another spasm of atomic expansion. Atomic Tragedy is a book to be reckoned with; it tells the reader about all the conflicting pressures on Henry L. Stimson and fits him in perfectly to his times and to ours. No one can come away from this book without a deep appreciation of the real meaning of Stimson's all-too-human struggles."--Lloyd C. Gardner, Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History, Rutgers University

"Atomic Tragedy is an incisive analysis replete with sparkling details and shocking, newly discovered photographs of the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Sean L. Malloy takes the pioneering work of Barton Bernstein and Gar Alperovitz to the next level in a nuanced history that concisely summarizes and ultimately transcends the existing scholarship."--Elizabeth Borgwardt, author of "A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights"

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1St Edition edition (May 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801446546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801446542
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,923,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Very nice and mercifully short book about the decision to use the A-Bomb against Japan as related thru the experience of Henry Stimson. He was probably the right man in the right place and gave very good service to the people of his country if not the world. From Root to Stimson to Bundy Jr the continuity in the deep state is revealed nicely - men who stepped forward to answer the call to duty. And what men - Stimson's conscience as described by Malloy was very much needed on the team - as much as that of men like Groves. Toward the end of the book the author makes pretty clear his judgement - that Stimson's moral vacillation enabled the unnecessary bombings. Let's say that's true-ish. Was it decisive? Was using the bombs the worst outcome or the best? Nobody can really say. Those men in that time were Responsible, and second guessing them from the comfort of now is a job for fools. Understanding yes, post facto rationalization and apologetics no. The Japanese no less than the Germans needed to be Utterly Defeated and Vanquished. Stimson's own life experience would have taught him the price of not utterly enough defeating Germany in the first war. Argument to the effect that the Russian invasion of Manchuria would have been enough to prompt a quick surrender by Japan is wishful thinking that doesn't do justice to the martial spirit of the Japanese or the value of Russian and Japanese lives. Taken over the broad matrix of considerations use of the bomb was morally justified and militarily and politically expedient. And Yes, consideration of the impact use would have on the Russians was among them and not unjustifiably so. Stalin was not the good guy in the story of the 20th century.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book
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Format: Hardcover
This book tells us the very tragedy of a so human scholar from Harvard, Henry Stimson, who happened to serve as the Secretary for War towards the end of Pacific War (WWII), and eventually was forced by the "cheap" president Harry Truman, his surroundings (in particular James Byrnes, Secretary of State) and US military forces to sign the order to drop two A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Japan where Henry loved and had many scholarly friends.

The US "official" reason for using these two A-bombs still remains to end this bloody war as soon as possible to save the life of so many American young soldiers for their invasion/occupation of Japan, but the "real" reason was to intimidate Josef Stalin of USSR by demonstrating the unprecedented destructive power of these A-bombs upon Japanese cities, in an attempt to block the invasion of USSR into East Europe towards the end of this war.

In other words, the bombs were used mainly to start the "Cold War", instead of hastening the end of WWII (saving American lives). The real force that hastened the end of war, the unconditional surrender of Japan was the "scheduled" invasion by USSR into Manchuria, China, on August 7, which took place between the US drop of two A-bombs (August 6 and 9) on Japanese cities, according to the secret agreement between FDR and Stalin (3 months after the surrender of Nazi-Germany in May 1945).

I believe if the "great" president FDR were still alive around June and August, 1945, FDR would listen carefully to Henry, and decide not to drop A-bombs on any cities. FDR knew very well that the Russian invasion into Manchuria would end immediately the great war.
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