This is an excellent account of the last weeks of World War II when the decisions and steps were taken to drop the atom bomb and bring Russia into the conflict. Feis makes it clear that-with Japan weakened- there were three ways to bring peace- attack, inducement, or shock. Each approach had its advocates within the government. The ""inducement"" approach would have softened the ""unconditional surrender"" terms which Japan faced and taken advantage of the peace feelers extended through the USSR, and the ""shock"" procedure would have involved some notice, either pictures or an actual demonstration that the U.S. had the bomb. However Feis concludes there was not really much chance that Japan would surrendered at a much earlier date. On the other hand, atom bomb or no atom bomb, it could not have held out much longer. Therefore he concludes that the dropping of the bomb was not essential to the conclusion of the war, but the decision to do so was probably justified by the climates and circumstances of the time. The big criticism the author levels at the U.S. high command is that the Potsdam Declaration, calling for Japan's surrender in 1945, should have spelled out exactly what would happen if they did not (i.e. the atomic bomb would be dropped). Also Feis suggests we should not have set out to strip Japan of such possessions as Formosa and the Kuriles which had been hers for many years, and we should have made it quite clear earlier than we would accept retention of the Emperor... a thoughtful book about a much-debated period in American history.