Good morning bookies! It cloudy and grey and 35 degrees in West Tennessee. Nothing like weatherman’s spring, eh?
Charles Pellegrino’s Last Train From Hiroshima was widely acclaimed, won awards, was optioned for a movie by no less a personage than James Cameron and generally was accepted as great historical writing. Books implying that America was wrong for using the A-bomb are nothing new, of course, or telling pitiful stories of Japanese civilians who were there when hell came to Earth, or any one of about a thousand other agendas that seem to get wrapped around any controversial subject. And few subjects are as controversial as the sole use of atomic weapons.
The big problem with Pellegrino’s book is that, well, some of it didn’t happen. Indeed, it would appear that a lot of it was made up out of whole cloth. For political reasons? I don’t know. Did Pellegrino get duped? Maybe. Or was this nothing more than greed from an author who has known controversy before? I don’t know. Whatever the reasons, Pellegrino’s publisher has pulled the book, which means they can no longer stand by it.
To be clear, however: I am damned glad we dropped those bombs. Not that I enjoy the thought of civilians being incinerated, but that was already happening. The Tokyo fire raids killed at least as many civilians as the Hiroshima attack, but you never hear about those. Because the Japanese were willing to accept such losses to keep the war going. If the two atom bombs had not worked the only alternative was to invade Japan.
I had 4 uncles serving in the military at the time, 3 in the Army, 1 in the Seabees. All 4 were scheduled to have been included in the invasion of Japan, an invasion that would have cost more than 1 million US casualties, based on what happened at Okinawa. Chances are good I would have lost at least one of my uncles, and one was too many.