Thursday, August 6, 2009

On this date in history ~ related books

August 6th, 1809, one of the leading Victorian poets, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. has some interesting facts on this much beloved poet. For a more comprehensive look at his life visit here.

The Charge of the Light Brigade was a disastrous charge of British cavalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. It is best remembered as the subject of a famous poem entitled The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, whose lines have made the charge a symbol of warfare at both its most courageous and its most tragic. (From Wikipedia)

On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, resulting in an estimated 140,ooo deaths. This was the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare.

Synopsis from Amazon: The bombing of Hiroshima was one of the pivotal events of the twentieth century, yet this controversial question remains unresolved. At the time, General Dwight Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur, and chief of staff Admiral William Leahy all agreed that an atomic attack on Japanese cities was unnecessary. All of them believed that Japan had already been beaten and that the war would soon end. Was the bomb dropped to end the war more quickly? Or did it herald the start of the Cold War? In his probing new study, prizewinning historian Ronald Takaki explores these factors and more. He considers the cultural context of race - the ways in which stereotypes of the Japanese influenced public opinion and policymakers - and also probes the human dimension. Relying on top secret military reports, diaries, and personal letters, Takaki relates international policies to the individuals involved: Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, Secretary of State James Byrnes, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and others... but above all, Harry Truman.

Synopsis from Amazon: The world entered the atomic age in August 1945, when the B-29 Superfortress nicknamed Enola Gay flew some 1,500 miles from the island of Tinian and dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The "Little Boy" bomb exploded with the force of 12.5 kilotons of TNT, nearly destroying the city. Three days later, another B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The Japanese government, which had been preparing a bloody defense against an invasion, surrendered six days later. The aircraft was the primary artifact in an exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum from 1995 to 1998. The original, controversial exhibit script was changed, and the final exhibition attracted some 4 million visitors, testifying to the enduring interest in the aircraft and its mission. This book tells the story of the Enola Gay, the Boeing B-29 program, and the combat operations of the B-29 type. After nearly two decades of restoration, the Enola Gay will be one of the highlights of the museum’s new Udvar-Hazy Center, which is scheduled to open at Dulles International Airport on December 15, 2003.

Synopsis from Amazon:
In this concise account of why America used atomic bombs against Japan in 1945, J. Samuel Walker analyzes the reasons behind President Truman's most controversial decision. He delineates what was known and not known by American leaders at the time and evaluates the role of U.S.-Soviet relations and American domestic politics. In this new edition, Walker takes into account recent scholarship on the topic, including new information on the Japanese decision to surrender. He has revised the book to place more emphasis on the effect of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in convincing the emperor and his advisers to quit the war. Rising above an often polemical debate, Walker presents an accessible synthesis of previous work and an important, original contribution to our understanding of the events that ushered in the atomic age.

Heartbreakingly senseless slaughter, yet again.


  1. Second set of history books I've seen today! Interesting choices!

  2. I can only comment on the first book because the others are just too sad.

    I wish we could see a photo of Alfred on the day he was born! : )

  3. Thank you for reminding us about Hiroshima on the anniversary Aug. 6th. The annihilation of Hiroshima and then Nagasaki was unfortunately as unstoppable as a bullet once it leaves the chamber. The race to create the bomb was a challenge on both sides at a frenetic pace. It would have been dropped regardless. Fortunately, the good that has come from this tragedy is dialogue, negotiations and restraint.

    I do remember having bomb drills in school as a child. This was very scary and hopefully something that will not be repeated any time soon. It is bad enough we have lock down drills in the shadow of terrorism in schools today.

    Thanks for your informative post.

  4. Wow.. Great feature. You know the day came and went and I didn't know what day it was as far as Hiroshima. It is always good to have a reminder. Great post however somber. :)

    I have to comment that my word verification for this is Hy bom Ya. Weird eh? Not separated of course.. but that is how I read it.


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