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Was the atomic bomb necessary to end the war with Japan? This extensively documented work by the foremost historian of the atomic decision and its aftermath provides the indispensable evidence and arguments for any serious attempt to answer that terrible question. As it minutely reconstructs the events leading up to Hiroshima, the book reveals what Truman and his advisors knew about Japan's willingness to continue fighting; how they viewed the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan; and how they transformed the atomic bomb from a military weapon into an instrument of postwar diplomacy. This is a powerful, brilliantly organized, and eminently readable book that will stand as the definitive resource on the subject for years to come.