HIROSHIMA

WHY AMERICA DROPPED THE ATOMIC BOMB

In a thoughtful and generally nonpolemical contribution to the extensive literature on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Takaki (Ethnic Studies/Berkeley; Democracy and Race, 1994, etc.) focuses on the complexities of the personalities of the American decision-makers, particularly that of Harry Truman. Takaki shows that the atomic bombings grew out of a psychology of mass destruction, fueled by a loathing for Japan tinged with racism; this led to massive firebombings of Tokyo and Yokohama that claimed tens of thousands of Japanese lives. After Japan's decisive defeat at Okinawa in June 1945, Takaki reveals, both Japanese and American war planners recognized that the war was over; American leaders, already preparing for the collapse of Japan, were planning the occupation months before the atomic bombs, and Truman and his generals recognized that the long-promised entry of the Soviet Union into it would end the war against Japan. Takaki argues that Japanese leaders, concerned about the retention of the imperial institution and rejecting the American demand of ``unconditional surrender,'' delayed surrender in order to seek a negotiated peace through the Soviet Union. Once the Soviets declared war, in early August 1945, the Japanese surrender (negotiated and conditional, after all, in that the emperor was permitted to survive) was rapidly forthcoming. Meanwhile, Takaki asserts that Truman, who claimed to be at peace with his decision for the rest of his career, was driven to use the bomb out of a deeply ingrained sense of insecurity; in fact, based on Truman's diaries, Takaki shows that he was a sensitive man, deeply troubled about his decision to use the bomb. An eloquent perspective on the atomic bombings, unusual for its simple focus on getting the facts right instead of blaming or exonerating those responsible for the decision.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 1995

ISBN: 0-316-83122-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1995

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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