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“The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

— General Omar Bradley

The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb

bookcover has a closeup photograph of Harry Truman’s face, looking guilty as he apparently looks back over his shoulder. From the Common Courage Press:

Fifty-five years after the bombing of Hiroshima, America remains divided by one question: Was the bombing necessary?

This extensively documented work by the foremost historian of the atomic decision and its aftermath provides the indispensable materials and argumentation for any serious attempt to answer that terrible questions.

As it minutely reconstructs the events leading up to Hiroshima, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb reveals what President Truman and his advisors knew about Japan’s willingness to continue fighting; how they viewed the Soviet Union’s declaration of war against Japan; and how they transformed the atomic bomb from a military weapon into an instrument of postwar diplomacy and then effectively rewrote history to rationalize their actions.

Here, at last, is the truth about the most sobering episode in our century, enunciated clearly and with a wealth of supporting evidence, in a powerful, brilliantly organized book that will be read — and debated — for years to come.

About the Author

Gar Alperovitz, a historian and political economist, is president of the National Center for Economic Alternatives. He is also Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, and a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Formerly a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, and of the Institute of Politics at Harvard, he has served as Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives, Legislative Director in the U.S. Senate, and Special Assistant in the Department of State.

His books include Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam, and he has written numerous articles for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other academic and popular publications.


“A comprehensive and definitive history.”

Los Angeles Times

“A massively detailed yet fascinating and readable work of scholarship.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Mr. Alperovitz... has written what will almost certainly serve as a bible for the next generation of revisionist scholars.”

The New York Times Book Review

Related page

Atomic Holocaust of the People of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

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