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Hiroshima and the end of the war:
a bibliography

[These books are available at Amazon.com. Click on the title for the Amazon page.]


The Atomic Bomb Suppressed: American Censorship in Occupied Japan by Monica Braw.  How the U.S. occupation government controlled access to information about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and shaped Japanese public opinion. 

The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Kyoko & Mark Selden (Editors).  The devastation wrought by the atomic bomb, described by its victims in fiction, drawings, poems, memoirs and photographs.   

The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb by Gar Alperovitz.    The author's thesis is that the United States did not need to drop atomic bombs on Japan in order to end the war. (But see below.)  

Effects of Atomic Radiation: A Half-Century of Studies from Hiroshima and Nagasaki by William J. Schull.  Schull, a professor of genetics and member of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, summarizes the scientific lessons learned from follow-up studies of the victims.  

Enola Gay: Mission to Hiroshima  by Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan-Witts.  An accessible, popular history of the men who dropped the atomic bomb.

Hiroshima by John Hersey.  The 1946 classic by Pulitzer Prize-winner Hersey, who recorded the stories of six  Hiroshima survivors. New York Times: "the quietest and the best, of all the stories that have been written about the most spectacular explosion in the time of man." 

Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945: Fifty Years Later  by Michihiko Hachiya.  "Towards evening," Hachiya writes,  "a light, southerly wind blowing across the city wafted to us an odor suggestive of burning sardines. I wondered what could cause such a smell until somebody, noticing it too, informed me that sanitation teams were cremating the remains of people who had been killed. Looking out, I could discern numerous fires scattered about the city. Previously I had assumed the fires were caused by burning rubble. Towards Nigitsu was an especially large fire where the dead were being burned by hundreds. Suddenly to realise that these fires were funeral pyres made me shudder, and I became a little nauseated." 

Hiroshima in America: A Half Century of Denial by Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell.  The political, ethical and psychological effects of the Hiroshima bombing on America, her government and her citizens.

Hiroshima Notes by Kenzaburo Oe.  A collection of essays on the moral and ethical implications of Hiroshima by the Nobel Prize-winning author.

Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Atomic Bomb by Ronald T. Takaki.  This slim volume by a prize-winning historian draws on once- secret military reports and hitherto unpublished documents to show how the personalities of Oppenheimer, Truman, and Secretary of State James Byrnes shaped the decision to drop the bomb.

History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past by Edward T. Linenthal & Tom Engelhardt (Editors).  Essays by eight prominent historians on the Enola Gay exhibit and its cancellation.  According to Professor Paul Boyer, the Enola Gay conflict revealed "the disparity between the mythic past inscribed in popular memory and the past that is the raw material of historical scholarship.'' 

Japan's Longest Day by the Pacific War Research Society. The essential study, hour by hour, of how the war ended and the role of the atomic bombs on the decision, by a team of Japanese scholars and journalists. Without this, you don't know what you are talking about. See How Japan surrendered on this website.

Letters from the End of the World: A Firsthand Account of the Bombing of Hiroshima by Toyofumi Ogura. Published in Japan in 1948, this first-person, eye-witness description of the bombing and its aftermath consists of thirteen poignant letters written by Ogura, a historian at Hiroshima University, to his dead wife Fumiyo, a victim of radiation poisoning.

Prompt and Utter Destruction: President Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan by J. Samuel Walker.  An even shorter --110 pages!--albeit highly readable account of the decision to drop the bomb.  The author, the historian of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, argues that the process was not really a decision at all, but more like a foregone conclusion.

Rain of Ruin: A Photographic History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Donald Goldstein, J. Michael Wenger and Katherine V. Dillon.   Four hundred previously unpublished photos--many of them recently declassified by the U.S. government--on the two cities and their citizens, before and after the atomic bombing.

Target Hiroshima: Deak Parsons and the Creation of the Atomic Bomb by Al Christman. A biography of the Navy's "Atomic Admiral."  According to the author, "Recent declassification of Manhattan Project records have now made it possible to reveal the full story of Parsons in the creation and first combat use of the atomic bomb."

Truman and the Hiroshima Cult by Robert P. Newman. The United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 to end World War II as quickly and with as few casualties as possible, according to the author.  Newman sees a conspiracy behind attempts to hold Truman accountable for the devastation.  "As with other cults, it is ahistorical," Newman argues. "Its devotees elevate fugitive and unrepresentative events to cosmic status. And most of all, they believe." 

War's End: An Eyewitness Account of America's Last Atomic Mission by Major General Charles W. Sweeney, USAF.  The pilot of Bock's Car, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, tells his story in this unapologetic memoir.

War Without Mercy  by John W. Dower.  Argues that racism shaped the conduct of the war against Japan and contributed to the use of nuclear weapons.  Dower's primary sources are U.S. government propaganda films, popular songs, cartoons, newspapers, and once-classified military documents.