The End of the World That Was

Peter Louis Goldman, Author Plume Books $6.95 (129p) ISBN 978-0-452-25806-8
Expanded from a cover story that appeared in Newsweek last year, this book about people involved in the beginnings of the ""atomic age''defined by the authors as the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan in 1945is disappointing, even demeaning to its tragic, crucial subject. To begin, the writing is sloppy and cliche-ridden, from the minor ``Van Kirk built a brand-new house'' to the cutesy ``Mum was the word inside the compound, but with names like Bohr and Fermi floating around, Beser began putting E and mc2 together.'' Moreover, the reader's view of issues is essentially limited to the authors' interpretation of the bombing victims' experiences and a gung-ho, no-regrets attitude of American scientists and bomber crew members (at least among the few interviewed for this book). For example, discussion of whether the bombs needed to be dropped on cities, and whether two needed to be dropped, is limited to official rationales and a dismissive reference to ``the revisionist histories of a later generation.'' Other books, particularly John Hersey's classic Hiroshima, cover the topic much more satisfactorily. (April)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
Hardcover - 129 pages - 978-0-525-24428-8
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