The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb

Article excerpt

The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb by Dennis D. Wainstock. Praeger Publishers, 88 Post Road West, Westport, Connecticut 06881, 1996,180 pages, $55.00.

With historical revisionists skulking behind every corner, attempting to rewrite history according to their own secret, sometimes selfish, agendas, it is a breath of fresh air to read a well-written, highly documented account of the events leading up to the American use of atomic bombs against Japan. The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb presents an extraordinarily balanced and riveting account of the political, military, and diplomatic maneuvering that took place on both sides of the Pacific and within Stalin's Soviet Union, resulting in the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan.

The author, despite making clear his position on the use of atomic bombs, does not preach unsupported and opinionated positions to the reader. Rather, he lets his research and documentation do most of the talking. There is no doubt left in the reader's mind that Wainstock does not approve of our using the bombs, yet he skillfully negotiates a maze of complicated political wickets and decisions in order to define what he feels were the real purposes for leveling Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

An associate professor of history at SalemTeikyo University in Salem, West Virginia, Wainstock is also the author of The Turning Point: The 1968 Presidential Campaign. His bountiful use of footnotes and historical references, gleaned from primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, adds significant credibility to his work. By using his sources with care, he has produced one of the significant pieces of work on this incredibly sensitive subject. Further, he artfully avoids the hard-core, proatomic Goliaths without simultaneously denigrating policy makers whose unsavory task it was to order the deployment and use of atomic weapons. …