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The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan (Cambridge Essential Histories)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  12 reviews

This book explores the American use of atomic bombs, and the role these weapons played in the defeat of the Japanese Empire in World War II. It focuses on President Harry S. Truman's decision making regarding this most controversial of all his decisions. The book relies on notable archival research, and the best and most recent scholarship on the subject to fashion an inci

Published (first published April 18th 2011)
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A question, which has a more disturbing implication: That the use of the atomic bomb was necessary to obtain the surrender of Japan or that is was not necessary? The latter either requires more then one hundred thousand civilians must die to accomplish for reasons whether malicious or not, and the latter requires the acknowledgement that the killing of so many civilians can, in fact, produce a moral good (the ending of the most human war in human history).

In general, discussions of the use of th
Paul Cahill
Fantastic quick read. Very illuminating in regards to the historical context in which the use of the atomic bomb must be viewed.
The political history of the atomic bomb between 1941-1945 as told by Miscamble:

1. Truman didn't use the bomb as a diplomatic tool against the Soviet Union.
2. Truman didn't use the bomb as a diplomatic tool against the Soviet Union.
3. Some stuff happened with Japan, whatevs.
4. Truman didn't use the bomb as a diplomatic tool against the Soviet Union.

Miscamble probably wanted to provide different information than the usual death and destruction of the atomic bombs, but repeatedly saying that Truma
This is a deliberately short book, in the Cambridge Essential Histories, written by an expert in Truman and the transition from Roosevelt to Truman, but self-avowedly dependent on other experts for the subject.

It is also admittedly written by a proponent of the traditional position on the decision to drop the atomic bomb. The summary is a good one, although like some critics I have found in journals, the chapter on "Necessary, but was it Right?" is at the least too short, at the most contradicto
Derek Ide
This is essentially a slightly more sophisticated version of Paul Walker's trashy defense of the use of the atomic bomb ("Truman's Dilemma"). A hagiographic love-affair with Truman and Byrnes at its worst. Nasty reading, nasty writer.
What went into Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan? Miscambles, a Catholic priest, interprets the decision in the light of Japan’s propensity for brutality and its firm resistance to any surrender (as shown repeatedly on islands like Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Tarawa). In addition to Japanese intransigence and brutality, the anticipation of possibly millions of military and civilian deaths from an invasion of Japan, and the idealogical and (possibly) post-war military struggle wit ...more
This book is very well written. At first I thought this book was primarily about the use of the atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but Prof. Miscamble also discusses the use of the atomic bomb as a political/military tool during the opening stages of the Cold War. It is hard to write that I enjoyed this book; not because of the book itself, but because of the subject matter.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about the atomic bomb and the reasons behin
The Book : An Online Review at The New Republic
THIS BOOK, by the priest and cold war historian Wilson D. Miscamble, is a volume in the Cambridge Essential Histories series, which is (according to its statement of purpose) “devoted to introducing critical events, periods or individuals in history … through thesis-driven, concise volumes.” Concise The Most Controversial Decision certainly is: it packs into its 150 pages discussions that other scholars have spent careers grappling with. Read more...
A cogent presentation of the pre-hiroshima world and more--a must-read for intelligent historical discourse of 20th century politics
Excellent book on the decision to use the Atomic Bomb on Japan to end WWII.
Excellent analysis, though not the most readable book ever written.
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