Far East and Pacific Theaters

Dropping the Bomb

The Debate

N - Z


Newman, Robert P. Truman and the Hiroshima Cult. Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1995.

Giangreco, NWCR, Spring 1998: "Newman convincingly shreds the myths that have grown up around the use of nuclear weapons to end the Pacific War, such as the oft-repeated claims that the Japanese were on the verge of surrender when the bombs were dropped, and that their use was primarily aimed at intimidating Joseph Stalin."

Norris, Robert S. Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man. South Royalton, VT: Steerforth Press, 2002.

Christman, Proceedings 128.9 (Sep. 2002), believes that Norris has succeeded in telling both the story of the birth of the atomic bomb and the life story of "an ambitious mission-driven general." According to Richelson, IJI&C 16.4, Norris has individual chapters on security for the Manhattan Project and its intelligence gathering responsibility, specifically the Alsos teams.

For Cohen, FA 81.5 (Sep.-Oct. 2002), "this well-executed biography evinces an honest respect for Groves" while not disguising the sides of "the man whom eyewitnesses and students of the atom bomb's creation love to despise." Sartori, I&NS 18.1, says this is a "meticulously researched and lively biography.... Norris's book provides a wealth of detail and is a valuable addition to the literature of the bomb project, but it does not significantly alter Grove's place in history."

Taylor, Booklist, 15 Mar. 2002, notes that the author's "exacting and complete research ... does not overwhelm the narrative.... Norris finds that as a personality, Groves was uncomplicated, patriotic, and traditional; as an officer, brusque, determined, and decisive. The latter traits made him too many enemies.... A critical contribution to the subject."

Quigley, Martin S. Peace Without Hiroshima: Secret Action at the Vatican in Spring, 1945. Lanham, MD: Madison, 1991.

"Martin S. Quigley, an executive with movie-industry trade publications who used his ties to the film world as cover for espionage in Europe during World War II, died" at the age of 93 on 5 February 2011. Adam Bernstein, "Martin Quigley, Who Used Film Work as Cover for World War II Espionage, Dies," Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2011.

Surveillant 1.5 notes that Quigley, a former OSS officer, has used "recently declassified US and Japanese documents" to describe "secret communications between Washington and Tokyo. The peace talks were initiated in the Spring of 1945 with a Vatican diplomat, a Japanese priest, and Tokyo's ambassador to the Vatican." According to Wandres, NIPQ 9.3, this is a "personal narrative." The author "still remains puzzled about what went wrong"; he "doesn't know why the peace initiatives were not followed up."

Sherwin, Martin.

1. "The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War." American Historical Review, Oct. 1973.

2. "Old Issues in New Editions." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Dec. 1985, 40-44.

3. A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance. New York: 1975.

4. "Hiroshima and Modern Memory." The Nation, 10 Oct. 1981, 329, 349-353.

Skates, John Ray. The Invasion of Japan: Alternative to the Bomb. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, 1994.

Giangreco, NWCR, Spring 1998, warns that "readers must approach this book with caution, since the author's knowledge of the subject is somewhat thin.... [W]hile the author had access to a considerable body of relevant material, he seems to understand little of what he has found. As a result, his book reveals innumerable misconceptions which directly or indirectly support his claim that casualties during an invasion would have been comparatively low and that using the atom bombs was unnecessary."

Smith, Gaddis. "Was Moscow Our Real Target?" New York Times, 18 Aug. 1985.

Takaki, Ronald. Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995.

Auer and Halloran, Parameters (Spring 1996), note that President Truman's "racial bias, his lack of international experience, and his inferiority complex" are the focus of this work.

Wainstock, Dennis D. The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996.

Giangreco, Parameters (Autumn 1999), finds that "Wainstock's work has a rough, uneven quality to it," but represents "an honest effort to examine all sides of the subject." Overall, the work suffers from the author's "lack of familiarity with the military dimensions of the conflict." For Tate, Air & Space Power, this "well-written, highly documented" work presents an "extraordinarily balanced and riveting account of the ... maneuvering that took place on both sides of the Pacific and within Stalin's Soviet Union, resulting in the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan."

Walker, J. Samuel.

1. "The Decision to Use the Bomb: An Historical Update." Diplomatic History 14, no.1 (Winter 1990).

2. Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 1997.

Hendrickson, FA 77.2 (Mar.-Apr. 1998), calls this a "careful scholarly" work that is "'post-revisionist' in tone and outlook." The author covers "the most important issues with economy," provides a "thorough bibliographic essay," and makes "an excellent addition to the literature."

Weintraub, Stanley. The Last Great Victory: The End of World War II, July/August 1945. New York: Dutton, 1995.

Auer and Halloran, Parameters (Spring 1996), comment that once the author "brings his narrative to Potsdam, he slips into a day-by-day account that, despite its meandering, provides certain insights. For one thing, arguments over the fate of Poland and war reparations from Germany,... seemed to have taken more time than discussions over how to make Japan surrender." However, the book "is marred by factual errors." For example, Weintraub mistakes the Kuriles" for the Ryukyus.

Wyden, Peter. Day One: Before Hiroshima and After. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984. [pb] New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985.

From publisher: "Never before have all the strands -- scientific, political, moral, military and human -- been woven together with such authenticity and such skill as to provide the reader with a full understanding of how the bomb was created and why it was used.... Because of the decisions that were taken and the mistakes that were made, it is, for the first time, the complete unvarnished account of the greatest and most dangerous gamble in the long history of the human race."

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