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Hiroshima Nagasaki Paperback – 18 Jul 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (18 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552778508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552778503
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 4.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[A] vivid, comprehensive and quietly furious account...Paul Ham brings new tools to the job, unearthing fresh evidence of a deeply disturbing sort. He has a magpie eye for the telling detail" (Ben Macintyre The Times)

"We are in Paul Ham's debt for showing that it is unjustifiable to consider ever again dropping an atomic bomb...Comprehensive and horrifying" (Jonathan Mirsky Literary Review)

"Provocative and challenging, Paul Ham's book strips away the cosy myth that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the Second World War...A voice that is both vigorous and passionate" (Christopher Sylvester Daily Express)

"Controversial...Gives an eye-witness picture that leaves Dante's Inferno looking pale...Well documented and stringently argued" (Peter Lewis Daily Mail)

"With more detail than the average text book yet written in a way that pulls you in ... this is essential for anyone remotely interested in our history" (Sydney Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

The first narrative history of the nuclear attack told from both the Japanese and American viewpoints.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In an interview, Paul Ham said that it took him four years to write this book: 2.5 years of research and 1.5 years to write and edit. He said that he chose this topic because `I have always felt that there is something wrong with American narratives that attempt to justify the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in a nuclear holocaust.' After researching and analysing the core archives, Paul Ham said he `felt a strong impulse to write an accurate account of the bomb, and to dissect the truth from the lies and popular myths.'

The lead up to August 1945, and the aftermath, is covered from a number of different angles: historical and political as well as military and scientific. Aspects of the book are based on extensive interviews with eighty survivors and depict the human communities of the two cities before and after they were destroyed. So much of the damage was civilian: schools, hospitals, and the homes of so many - primarily women, children and the aged.

`It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.'
Paul Ham writes that the orthodox view of why the atomic bombs were dropped is President Harry S Truman's justification (enunciated two years after the decision was made) that the bombs saved the necessity of invading Japan and the loss of one million American servicemen. Ham scrutinises this ex post facto justification: pointing out that the atomic bombs were not the only option and, in any case, Japan was rapidly running out of the raw materials required in order to continue.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am half way through this book and cannot put it down. So far it is very well written, full of factual information and yet also horrifyingly cold at times when I would not be able to contain my own views. The historical facts of the dropping of these bombs has been discussed many times, but this account is one of the more easy to read. There is no shying away from the fact that so many died with the dropping of these weapons and this author does not sugar coat this aspect of the story.

There are details included here that I did not previously know and this adds to the horror of the eventual bombings. I could wait until I finished the book to review it, but I very much doubt that my views will change between now and then. This is an excellent book detailing one of the most brutal campaigns in the history of warfare. The author has presented the facts with out bias one way or the other and as such this read presents the data as a time line upon which you can make up your own mind.

The key players here are well researched and presented as humanely as possible. Given that I am only half way through, I cannot judge it on the details about some of the people involved, but I hoping that there will be more about the story of the man who gave the plans to the Russians, rather than the brief mention he has had so far in the narrative.

So for historical accuracy, for remaining neutral when dealing with a very emotive subject, I can only give this book five stars, although it does deserve more. I am though expecting to shed some tears before I finish this long and involving book. Given that we have just marked the seventieth anniversary of these bombings, I would recommend that this book should be read by all who express an opinion on the use of Nuclear Weapons.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read many hypotheses as to why one bomb was ever necessary, never mind 2. It does seem to be the case that Truman's public reasoning (to save further American troop bloodshed) does not stand the test of time. Russia was already knocking at Japan's door and in any case they had no resources left. Japan was by then no threat to anyone. It seems that Truman's curiosity got the better of him, and he appears never to have regretted it, despite overwhelmingly awful evidence of the human suffering he engendered- at his sole hand.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent book. It raises all kinds of emotions and controversy if you read the rest of the reviews.

It seemed to me to be well researched and looked at 'the facts' from all points of view to try and give an accurate account of events and people leading up to the dropping of the bomb. It delved into the politics of the time and tried to point out motivations that I had not considered before. Russia, Japan, America and England were all considered as well as the scientists and the part they played

It was well worth reading and I may well re-read at some point.
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By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
First a comment about the earlier C Smith review. Harris did NOT order the area bombing of cities like Hamburg and Dresden,Winston Churchill did! It is time this myth was banished.
Paul Ham's book tills much old ground. His familiar material includes the evolution of bombing that has been told, often wrongly, many, many times. His account of the development of the nuclear bomb is poor, potted, inaccurate in places and tiresome.Likewise, his account of the use of propaganda by Japan and the Allies is old-hat.
Readers who are not familiar with the mountains of research on the decision to attack Hiroshima and Nagasaki should treat this book with caution. The author is clearly one who knows little of the actualities of war or warfare. He has little understanding of the context in which decisions like Hiroshima were made.The context is crucial. In 1945 Europe was in ruins and chaos. We were revolted by the the horror of Hitler's death camps. There was growing fear for the safety of thousands of Allied prisoners in Japanese hands. The world was beginning to learn that the behaviour of the Japanese military was depraved and bestial.
The direction of war is not for the squeamish. Little objection had been raised to the killing of some 750,000 German and Japanese civilians by conventional bombing. Those who know little of battle, like the author, are deluded to imagine that death by nuclear weapons is uniquely awful. Artillery, flame throwers, mines also do terrible things to the human frame.Nuclear weapons are horrific but even given their residual consequences they are only one means of inflicting misery and death.
Despite what Ham says the evidence makes clear that using the bomb made a very bloody invasion of Japan redundant.
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