Suppose that the Bomb hadn't been dropped, that the U.S. had instead invaded the Japanese homeland Kyushu. . . . Mr. Westheimer presents his account from both sides with a dizzying array of characters and situations: you leap from the mind of a gunner to the terror of his target; from a frogman determined to make history by being first ashore to an old man who has refused to abandon his home. And you meet dupes, cynics, the lost, the nationalistic and the heroes and horror-stricken of both forces. The author is certainly sympathetic to the lives being ground up by the war machine -- particularly to the vulnerability of many of the Japanese with their death-binding sense of duty and honor. One very sad character is a young Japanese official who allows himself to be captured to his infinite disgrace and who Just can't find the will to suicide. Mr. Westheimer also includes a lengthy epilogue describing the importance of Kyushu and the decisions made to attack there, along with casualty estimates, etc. Chilling in its verisimilitude, and another reminder that war however waged, is mostly innocent blood shed.