• 140 Days to Hiroshima

  • The Story of Japan’s Last Chance to Avert Armageddon
  • By: David Dean Barrett
  • Narrated by: Stephen Graybill
  • Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki comes this heart-pounding account of the war-room drama inside the cabinets of the United States and Japan that led to Armageddon on August 6, 1945.

Here are the secret strategy sessions, fierce debates, looming assassinations, and planned invasions that resulted in history’s first use of nuclear weapons in combat, and the ensuing chaotic days as the Japanese government struggled to respond to the reality of nuclear war.

During the closing months of World War II, as America’s strategic bombing campaign incinerated Japan’s cities, two military giants locked in a death embrace of cultural differences and diplomatic intransigence. The leaders of the United States called for the “unconditional surrender” of the Japanese Empire while developing history’s deadliest weapon and weighing an invasion that would have dwarfed D-Day. Their enemy responded with a last-ditch plan termed Ketsu Go, which called for the suicidal resistance of every able-bodied man and woman in the “Decisive Battle” for the homeland. But had Emperor Hirohito’s generals miscalculated how far the Americans had come in developing the atomic bomb? How close did President Harry Truman come to ordering the invasion of Japan?

Within the Japanese Supreme Council at the Direction of War, a.k.a. the "Big Six", Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo risked assassination in his crusade to convince his dysfunctional government, dominated by militarist fanatics, to save his country from annihilation.

Despite Allied warnings of Japan’s “prompt and utter destruction” and that the Allies would “brook no delay”, the Big Six remained defiant. They refused to surrender even after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

How did Japanese leaders come to this impasse? The answers lie in this nearly day-by-day account of the struggle to end the most destructive conflict in history.

©2020 David Dean Barrett (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about 140 Days to Hiroshima

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Never Giving Up

This is a diary of the last 140 days to Hiroshima, day by day and the final surrender of Japan. It is a highly detailed account of what occurred during that time period. As you listen to the book, keep your eye on the cover. This is a real photo, and notice the man looking back towards the devastation, can you only image what he is thinking. During listening to this book several times, I imagined myself in his place. This of course is the first time an atomic bomb was used against another nation. On August 6th 1945, followed on the 9th history changed the entire course of the world. You will learn of the "Big Six" in the Japanese military and governing control. How their choices forced President Truman into his decision to use the weapons developed in the Manhattan Project. You will also understand the end plan from both the Japanese and United States to the final conflict. It's been estimated that 1,000,000 American lives may have been saved from not having a massive attack on the Japanese mainland. 900,000 Japanese troops and 100,000,000 Japanese lives where on the line. What really amassed me is that even after the second bomb was dropped that the Big Six continued to lobby for a land invasion. The war with Japan ended with their surrender on August 14th and closed with the signing of the terms of surrender on September 2nd 1945. Had that not occurred plans for and invasions of the mainland of Japan through operation's Downfall ,Olympic & Coronet were already in place and could have caused the war to continue through 1946 or beyond. If you are looking for the true history, I highly recommend this book by David Dean Barrett a professional historian who specialty is World War ll.

6 people found this helpful

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Great recount of history

the view of this book is very much of the position that the atomic bombs were necessary and saved lives. however, the author does propose an effective third option which would have focused on blockade without invasion. the truth is atomic weaponry would likely have been involved in all these scenarios, and if not for the surrender, would have continued extensively. while the precedent this creates is appropriately not addressed in this book, it is critical of revisionism that condemns use of the atomic bombs against Japan. overall the chronological narrative from both perspectives is very engaging and makes for an exciting and fascinating listen.

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Great informative read!

As the author of Busted Wheelin' n Dealin', my hats off to David for a great, historical book. I know the work it takes to research history, and he has mastered it!

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A nice overview

Being a somewhat-more-than-casual historian of the Pacific War, I found this title to be a good listen but with no new revelations or insights. I might of missed it but no details on the influence of the Nagasaki bombing on the surrender debacle was, I thought, a little odd. Surely the second bomb had some impact on Japanese policy makers. Then again, I might of missed it. All in all, an enjoyable listen. The narrator was generally good but as with almost all narrations there were quite a few mispronunciations. Not enough to be aggravating but present nonetheless.
Who would enjoy this book? Anyone new to the Pacific Theater history and any knucklehead who has qualms about the usage of the bombs to bring about the end of the war. The author does a good job on this issue and provides plenty of stats on potential US (and Japanese) losses.

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Interesting

This is a good history and it is also trying to make an argument, that the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was the right decision. So it is not a detached history, rather falls in the “traditionalist” camp, as the author calls it, and a counter argument to the “revisionists.” Nevertheless, the arguments made are well informed and cogent. You will learn a lot, especially about the Japanese leaders making the decisions.

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Excellent

This is one of the best history books I’ve listened to recently. It’s also a convenient length. Riveting!

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Excellent work of history.

This is a tremendous and illuminating history of the final days of WWII in the Pacific as it pertains to the use of the two atomic bombs. It discusses in detail the Japanese and the American behind the scenes maneuvers that resulted at last in the Japanese surrender. I highly recommend this eye opening book.

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one of best

Unbelievably great.
Counting down the days format helps in understanding the complexity of that war.
I have read a lot of books on this particular topic but never felt the clarity that this author has given it.
Spacestationark ARK

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Fantastic! Held me from start to finish.

Wonderfully told in a very interesting manner. I look forward to more by this author. It's unfortunate more of this is not covered in your average histories of the end of WWII.

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An Insider's View

Truly vivid description of the inner workings of the Japanese High command in response to the pending American Invasion and the impact of the atomic bomb The Listener is left to realize there was no alternative but to drop the bomb and even then how difficult it was for the Japanese to accept the surrender terms.

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  • Linda Woolnough
  • 09-07-21

very interesting 👌

Good book well written. the history is factual. a good rendition of the situation. x

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-22-20

Great Value

Everything I expected and more. Highly detailed and chock full of facts. Madness to think that the "bombs" did not save likely millions of lives. Truman made a very difficult but correct decision. The Japanese warrior spirit and military leadership was fearless in its resolve to fight on at all costs. The Pacific Island campaigns more evidence. The emperor finally won out over the military.