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Most Americans believe that the Second World War ended because the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan forced it to surrender. Five Days in August boldly presents a different interpretation: that the military did not clearly understand the atomic bomb's revolutionary strategic potential, that the Allies were almost as stunned by the surrender as the Japanese were by the attack, and that not only had experts planned and fully anticipated the need for a third bomb, they were skeptical about whether the atomic bomb would work at all. With these ideas, Michael Gordin reorients the historical and contemporary conversation about the A-bomb and World War II.

Five Days in August explores these and countless other legacies of the atomic bomb in a glaring new light. Daring and iconoclastic, it will result in far-reaching discussions about the significance of the A-bomb, about World War II, and about the moral issues they have spawned.

Five days in August - Michael D. Gordin

9780691128184
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Title
Five days in August - how World War II became a nuclear war
Author
Michael D. Gordin
format
Hardback
Publisher
Princeton University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20070126

Most Americans believe that the Second World War ended because the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan forced it to surrender. Five Days in August boldly presents a different interpretation: that the military did not clearly understand the atomic bomb's revolutionary strategic potential, that the Allies were almost as stunned by the surrender as the Japanese were by the attack, and that not only had experts planned and fully anticipated the need for a third bomb, they were skeptical about whether the atomic bomb would work at all. With these ideas, Michael Gordin reorients the historical and contemporary conversation about the A-bomb and World War II.

Five Days in August explores these and countless other legacies of the atomic bomb in a glaring new light. Daring and iconoclastic, it will result in far-reaching discussions about the significance of the A-bomb, about World War II, and about the moral issues they have spawned.

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Michael D. Gordin is professor of the history of science at Princeton University. He is the author or editor of several books, including Red Cloud at Dawn: Truman, Stalin, and the End of the Atomic Monopoly.

"In addition to lucid and careful summaries of the issues, a particular virtue of this book is the substantial and well-chosen collection of documents from American and Japanese sources."---Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"In this brief but impressive work, Gordin takes a fresh, unique look at a much-studied topic. Although he touches on the development of the atomic bomb, his main concern is how scientists, politicians, and military planners from the bomb's inception to the present have viewed this new weapon."---J.L. Gall, Choice

"Five Days in August is brief and accessible, effectively communicating even technical and scientific concepts, and would be of use to the history or international relations classroom. This reevaluation of 'nuclearism' is a timely study, worthy of consideration and discussion."---Stephanie L. Trombley, Historian

"Gordin has done an excellent job in surveying the diverse views on what happened during those momentous five days in August 1945."---John Krige, Science

"Refreshingly nonpolemical, Five Days in August is a must read for those interested in atomic history, the final stages of World War II, and the future of nuclear weapons."---William J. Astore, Proceedings

"This short book grips the general reader and leads the curious on to longer and more scholarly writings."---Edwin R. McCullough, European Legacy

"Michael D. Gordin's worthy study concludes that the bomb's uniqueness has inappropriately encouraged Japan's reluctance to recognize and evaluate its war responsibility, and points toward the importance of examining nuclear weapons outside the familiar context of a nuclear standoff."
Publishers Weekly

"This author has written a stimulating book that brims with insights and is based on an impressive amount of research. . . . Gordin has written a challenging book that ranges far beyond the five days mentioned in his title."---Robert James Maddox, The Historian

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Atomic bomb - United States - History.|World War, 1939-1945 - Japan.|Capitulations, Military - Japan - History - 20th century.|Hiroshima-shi (Japan) - History - Bombardment, 1945.|Nagasaki-shi (Japan) - History - Bombardment, 1945.
Country of Publication
New Jersey
Number of Pages
209

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