A rapid-fire recreation of the grimmest disaster yet, the building and dropping of the first atomic bomb, by the pair who brought you Guernica, The San Francisco Earthquake, and the sinking of the Morro Castle. The pop-documentary prose tries for objectivity and authenticity, and scants judgment (""Truman could only reflect: They have been warned""). But contentions are rife: that the Japanese islands were fantastically fortified; that even the second bomb, on Nagasaki, did not convince the Japanese military to surrender; that millions of Japanese soldiers ""were spoiling for a fight and would probably not surrender even if ordered to do so."" When Emperor Hirohito finally broadcast that the war was over (a notice, in fact, of surrender), great numbers of Japanese believed they had won. Curiosa, some of it, but mostly who did what, said what, when, as reconstructed from interviews (listed) and written sources: the change of heart among the atomic scientists at Alamagordo even before the first bomb test; the drive of General Leslie Groves, commander of the Manhattan project which made the bombs; the choice and training of the officers and crew of the mystery-wrapped 509th Bombardment Squadron and the Enola Gay bomb ship; and a splay of first-hand views by civilians and military in Hiroshima. Crisp, panoramic, and sufficiently personalized to snag a live-action audience that, too, would prefer to withhold judgment.