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Hiroshima Nagasaki

The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and their Aftermath

Pan Macmillan 2014

In this history of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I tell the unadorned truth about the bombings, blurred for so long by postwar propaganda. In doing so, this book transforms what we thought we knew of one of the defining events of the 20th century.

Not a shred of evidence supports the contention that the Japanese leadership surrendered in direct response to the atomic bombs. On the contrary, Tokyo’s hardline militarists shrugged off the destruction of two more cities - more than 60 had already been destroyed - and overrode the protests of the Japanese moderates. They barely acknowledged the news of Nagasaki’s destruction.

Nor would a nuclear-battered Japan modify its terms of ‘conditional surrender’: the leaders clung stubbornly to their core condition – the retention of the Emperor – to the bitter end. In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of Hiroshima, Japanese hardliners and the state-run media girded the nation for a prolonged war ... against a nuclear-armed America.


Oppenheimer confided, ‘Mr President, I feel I have blood on my hands’ . Truman bluntly replied that ‘the blood is on my hands, let me worry about that’ … and instructed Dean Acheson never to bring ‘that son of a bitch in this
office ever again’ .


‘Ham is a master of engrossing and exciting narrative. …[he] digs deeper, and brings back to life the figures who dominated this history…’

Los Angeles Review of Books

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