In this harrowing history of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Paul Ham passionately argues that the nuclear attacks had little impact on the outcome of the Pacific War and thus were unnecessary. More than 100,000 people were killed instantly by the atomic bombs, mostly woman, children and the elderly. Many hundreds of thousands more succumbed to their horrific injuries later, or slowly perished of radiation-related sickness.
Yet American leaders claimed the bombs were “our least abhorrent choice” —and still today most people believe they ended the Pacific War and saved millions of American and Japanese lives. In this gripping narrative, Ham shows that despite it being one of the most iconic images of World War II, the bomb achieved none of America's most vaunted justifications for the weapon.
He also gives powerful witness to its destruction through the eyes of eighty survivors, from 12-year-olds forced to work in war factories to wives and children who faced it alone, reminding us that these two cities were full of ordinary people who suddenly, out of a clear blue summer′s sky, felt the sun fall on their heads.