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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  59 Ratings  ·  16 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

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Published (first published April 18th 2011)
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Paul Cahill
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic quick read. Very illuminating in regards to the historical context in which the use of the atomic bomb must be viewed.
Jim
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 costly war in human history).

In general, discussions of the use of t
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Michael
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my choice for my annual Memorial Day War history reading. A quick read, with a clear and well justified point of view. The afterward on the historiography of Truman's decision is especially helpful.
Nakul
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Politics, nationalism, patriotic frenzy and war. And in the midst of this is the choice - the choice of deploying the first ever atomic bomb. This book is a well researched and thoroughly annotated piece, but it is surprisingly not so much about the decision itself but of the events leading upto it. The geopolitical scenario, the climate in Europe and South East Asia, the political conditions in USA - where the great Roosevelt who had steered America for 3 presidencies through Depression and the ...more
George
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A well written, well documented analysis of the decision to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Using detailed intercepts from the above top secret MAGIC and ULTRA intercepts of the Japanese diplomatic and military codes it is UNDENIABLE that Japan was never on the verge of surrender in July 1945. It is revisionist history and a willingness to suspend belief from those so morally against using weapons of any kind that believes otherwise.

In addition the proceedings of the Japanese Coun
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Paul
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Peter
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
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
Efranken
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww-ii-history
Truman and atomic bomb
Ryan
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
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
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Brittani
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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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...
Derek Ide
Mar 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jm2
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on the decision to use the Atomic Bomb on Japan to end WWII.
Andy
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent analysis, though not the most readable book ever written.
Samara
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cogent presentation of the pre-hiroshima world and more--a must-read for intelligent historical discourse of 20th century politics
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