In this harrowing history of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Paul Ham argues against the use of nuclear weapons, drawing on extensive research and hundreds of interviews to prove that the bombings had little impact on the eventual outcome of the Pacific War. More than 100,000 people were killed instantly by the atomic bombs, mostly women, 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 demonstrates convincingly that misunderstandings and nationalist fury on both sides led to the use of the bombs. Ham also gives powerful witness to its destruction through the eyes of eighty survivors, from twelve-year-olds forced to work in war factories to wives and children who faced the holocaust alone.
Hiroshima Nagasaki presents the grizzly unadorned truth about the bombings, blurred for so long by postwar propaganda, and transforms our understanding of one of the defining events of the twentieth century.