- Paperback: 864 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; New ed. edition (August 6, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 067976285X
- ISBN-13: 978-0679762850
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.7 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb New ed. Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Historian Alperovitz argues that America's use of the atomic bomb on Japan was motivated by politics rather than by military necessity.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The president of the National Center for Economic Alternatives argues that against all advice President Truman was persuaded to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima by incoming Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, who saw the bomb as an important tool for dealing with the Soviets after the war.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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The second part of the book is the more interesting and the most relevant. Alperovitz wants to know where the notion of "one million American dead" in an invasion of the Japanese home islands came from. Trying to pinpoint this source in time and person is daunting. Trying to understand just how it came to be such sanctified common knowledge as to provoke a fire storm of controversy for even investigating it is even harder.
This second part is vital. We must know where our myths get forged. Whether one regards Alperovitz as a "partisan" or not, the investigation must be had, and intellectual honesty, as well as democratic health depend on such questions.
This book does not offer history. It offers partisanship and hackery that is only one or two degrees less egregious than what you find coming from Bill Maher or Steve Bannon on a Friday night after a couple of bourbons.
For curious readers who might want criticism that's more particular than that, simply consult the book's index. Look up the names "Anami, Korechika," and "Umezu, Yoshijiro." As members of Emperor Hirohito's war policy council, these two men happened to be two of the most important officials in Imperial Japan. The index shows that their names scarcely appear in his text. Which is among many reasons to question the sincerity of Alperovitz's scholarship. Why? Well, any consideration of the American decision to use the atomic bomb requires an understanding of what was going on in the war, in particular what the Japanese leadership was thinking, saying, and doing during the summer of 1945. American decision makers had access to those things via cryptographic intercepts and what they learned ("they" refers to President Truman, Secretary of War Stimson, Secretary of State Byrnes and others) powerfully shaped their thinking. Of course, such historical considerations do not assist Mr. Alperovitz in his campaign to smear the integrity of American leadership during the war, hence you will not find those considerations in his book. Serious consideration of what America leaders knew about Japan's willingness to entertain the Potsdam terms is warranted and necessary, for that knowledge was a powerful influence on strategic decision making. None of their earnest, anguished deliberations about whether and when to invade Japan and suffer the massive loss of American and Japanese life that would have attended it (250,000 US losses? 1 million? Does it really matter?) can move Alperovitz off his conviction that the decision was purely cynical.
Partisan America-bashers are hereby directed to press the "Buy" button on Mr. Alperovitz's book page and order at once, as such people are unlikely to be persuaded by evidence and we shouldn't strain them too hard. But readers who are eager to be well informed should instead consult the superior works of Richard B. Frank ("Downfall"), D. M. Giangreco ("Hell to Pay"), and Lisle A. Rose ("Dubious Victory," an older title, hard to find). Those books explain why the use of both bombs was necessary, and why their use was the likeliest route to ending World War II before the turn of 1946, and month after bloody month beyond.
It flatten two cities, killed all the inhabitants, Old persons, young adults, children and even pets.
Yet you will not hear any comments about the bombing. Compare it with 9/11 incident and you will