Since I am not a professional reviewer, my attempt may not meet with approval by the usual reviewers. Overall, I was bitterly disappointed in the lack of insight by the author into the coverage of this most important subject. Without doubt, author Martin J. Sherwin takes the attitude that nearly everything done by the United States government in its handling of the research, development and manufacture of the atomic bomb was wrong, morally and politically, and likewise, that the U.S. government unquestionably immorally decided to use the atomic bombs on Japan. The author wrote the book entirely from the scientist's point of view, assuming that since the scientists had the intelligence and knowledge to conceive of and build the bomb, they should have had major influence over the rightful decision makers and participated fully in all the decisions during the development of the bomb and allowed major input into the use of the bomb.
The author takes the reader through the entire process of the conception of the science behind nuclear weapons, and each step of the way in its development, criticizes the U.S. government for not giving the scientist's group full and equal sway over the leaders of the U.S. government, which anyone with half a brain would know belonged exclusively and rightly to the proper governmental and military leaders of the U.S. Not only does the author take this ignorant attitude, but each step of the way in the process, leaves no doubt in the reader's mind that not only were the scientists unfairly left out of the major decisions in the building of the bomb, but that the governmental and military leaders in the U.S. were incapable of and morally wrong in their decision-making process. The author never misses a chance to deride, ridicule or otherwise criticize the United States government and military in their difficult choices.
However, it is in his handling of the implications of the development and use of the bomb in the U.S. dealings with Soviet Russia and Josef Stalin, that the author fails most strongly, in his ridiculous demand that in order to prevent a later nuclear arms race, the U.S. should have brought Russia fully into the development and knowledge of all the atomic secrets. For this attitude alone, the author cannot be taken seriously. He totally ignores that the U.S. had to be friends with and financially support Russia during WWII to beat the German Nazi's but that the communist and totalitarian ideology of Russia could not be trusted to be let in on the atomic secrets. Of course, due to the fact that most of the scientists saw no problem with communism theoretically may explain this attitude by the author.
Finally, in his coverage and criticism of the U.S. decision to use the atomic weapons on Japan, and in the telling of the complete story of the reasons for using the bombs on Japan, the author simply ridicules the U.S. for using the bomb, failing to fully realize that the Japanese military completely ruled the country of Japan and would never of its own volition have surrendered to the U.S., leaving the U.S. no other decision but to use the atomic weapons on Japan, since the only other alternative to such use to convince Japan to surrender, was an invasion of the Japanese homeland, with the clear vision of the almost certain loss of one million U.S. military casualties in such an invasion. After the deaths of 400,000 U.S. military thus far in fighting the Second World War, the scientist group showed its total ignorance in its criticism of the U.S. government in making the decision to use atomic weapons on Japan, foolishly believing that negotiation alone would convince the Japanese military to surrender.
It is extremely disappointing to read a book showing the complete ignorance of the facts that while the scientists had the brains to invent the a-bomb, as a group, they didn't have the brains to realize the U.S. had no alternative but to use the bomb and to leave Russia out of the decision.