A documentary story of the military and diplomatic decision-making that led to the creation and the use of the first atomic bomb. Kurzman (Ben Gurion, Subversion of the Innocents) uses the narrative technique of Jim Bishop in ""The Day. . .""-type books. The result is a lively rendition in counterpoint of these historic years. The broad story is well-known. What Kurzman gives us is some of the thoughts and dialogues, recently released from the archives of General Groves, who was in charge of the Manhattan Project, and some new material from the papers of James Byrnes, Harry Truman, and Leo Szilard, one of the physicists who was instrumental in convincing Roosevelt to spend two billion dollars on the project, but who later then led a petition fight once Germany surrendered to keep the US from using the weapon against Japan. Kurzman inserts a cruel irony into his documentary--returning again and again to a group of American prisoners of war who were held captive in Hiroshima Castle; most perished in the bombing. This is one of the more interesting books to have been written about the Bomb. The actual explosions take up only several pages, but the recounting of diplomatic negotiations and of the mind-set of some of the participants, such as General Groves, leaves the reader chilled.