THE LAST GREAT VICTORY

THE END OF WORLD WAR II, JULY-AUGUST 1945

Engrossing and skillful account of the Second World War's final month. Ranging from global strategy to unit actions, from high politics to scientific calculation, Weintraub (Arts and Humanities/Penn State Univ.; Long Day's Journey Into War: December 7, 1941, 1991, etc.) is most satisfying where recent controversies have been most intense. Using the wealth of material that has recently become available, he lays out the uncertainties and fears surrounding the US decision to use atomic bombs on Japan. America had one uranium bomb, never tested. One plutonium bomb could be made immediately but its reliability was unknown; the first and only other device had been fixed in a stationary tower and ignited electrically. In front of the US if it did not use these weapons lay the largest amphibious operation in history, involving 800,000 men, of which the American leadership expected the first echelon to be wiped out. Even after bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even with Japan totally beaten, on the brink of famine, and almost unable to muster any defense, Weintraub argues that the decision to surrender was a very close thing. ``Not a single ranking general or admiral in the military hierarchy that ruled Japan would have subscribed to anything resembling capitulation,'' he notes. Young officers tried to frustrate the emperor's decision, and Hirohito's cabinet rejected capitulation. American readers of the Japanese diplomatic code, which had been broken, found nothing in post-Hiroshima communications to confirm that Japan was interested in giving up the war. Weintraub is not sentimental in his judgments, nor does he whitewash the Japanese, whose treatment of prisoners of war was horrific and included handing them over to universities for vivisection. (For another look at this period, see Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar, Code-Name Downfall, p. 597.) A fine book by a historian who has mastered his sources and interweaves his themes with a sure sense of their significance and drama. (16 pages b&w photos, 3 maps) (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-525-93687-4

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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