Cover image for Rain of ruin : a photographic history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Rain of ruin : a photographic history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Goldstein, Donald M.
Personal Author:
First paperback edition 1999.
Publication Information:
Dulles, Va. : Brassey's, 1999.

Physical Description:
xiii, 175 pages : illustrations, maps ; 28 cm
America builds the bomb -- Plans and preparations -- Target number one -- The Hiroshima bomb -- The Nagasaki bomb -- Peace -- Surrender -- Aftermath.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D767.25.H6 G65 1995 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This World War II classic is the first comprehensive photographic record of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the prolific team of Dr. Donald M. Goldstein, Katherine V. Dillon, and J. Michael Wenger, it contains over four hundred photographs of the U.S. preparations for the attack and of the two cities and their people before, during, and after those fateful days. Many are U.S. government and Japanese photographs never before seen by the public. Rain of Ruin is an objective, informative account of the momentous events that changed the world in 1945 and are still debated today.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The atomic destruction of two Japanese cities remains a hotly contested subject. Debaters can't even agree on what to label the bombings: Were they justifiable culminations of American victory? Immoral acts of vengeance? Amoral power posturing vis-a-vis the Soviets? Indicative of the ambiguity--though each alone would be a forceful partisan of unambiguous interpretation--these authors divide into the familiar revisionist versus defender camps. The library can't furnish the public more photos between two covers than Goldstein's album provides--over 400 black-and-white images. Generally supportive of the deplorable-but-necessary rationale for using the weapons, the author's team centers on the training of the air force personnel and their two fateful missions, aerial and street-level panoramas of devastation radiating from Ground Zero, and the victorious events ensuing from the attacks. Viewers get the unvarnished detail of an atom bomb's power, while the text endorses the main reason given for unleashing it on the Japanese, to obviate an invasion and save American lives. While disputing the figure used in contemporary documents (between 40,000 and 200,000 casualties), revisionists also argue that an invasion would never have taken place. These issues, combined with current culture conflicts (veterans versus academics), exploded when the Smithsonian Institution planned a commemorative exhibit that showcased criticism of the bombing. In the furor, the exhibit was shelved, and its planners resigned, but editor Nobile here reprints the script. According to Nobile, the bombing was a war crime morally equal to the Holocaust, except that the American perpetrators have gone untried. Intentionally incendiary, Nobile's bluster gives way, in the volume's concluding third, to a calmer and more standard revisionary survey of atomic bomb issues by Barton Bernstein. Historian Maddox, a defender of the decision to bomb, disputes the distortions he believes the revisionists have championed. These include objections by some generals to using the bombs; the idea that the Japanese were on the verge of surrender anyway; or the meaning of Japan's negative response to the Potsdam Declaration. In arguing for the "official" view, Maddox should attract readers well steeped in the issues who also share his position. Takaki's essay of the familiar decision chain partakes of his specialty in history, ethnic studies. Perhaps authors venturing into a new subject should be excused for making a few factual mistakes. But one of Takaki's, committed twice, claims MacArthur was "supreme commander" in the Pacific (he was chief of the Southwest area only). Otherwise a triviality, this error becomes significant when Takaki plays up MacArthur's objection to the attack, insinuating that the decision was irregular: If the "supreme commander" had been consulted, wouldn't Hiroshima have been spared? Takaki then speculates that Truman's psychological inadequacies impelled him toward a "diplomacy of masculinity" against the Soviets. With that, Takaki crosses the line from the serious to the fatuous: although there is evidence that the bombing was as much a message to Stalin as to Hirohito, no historian except Takaki believes Truman did it because it "symbolized virility." An army surgeon who was captured at the Battle of the Bulge, Yamazaki practiced pediatrics after the war. In this empathic memoir, he recalls his enlistment in the official commission investigating the casualties inflicted by the Nagasaki explosion, but the reading value lies in Yamazaki's experience as a nisei going to Japan for the first time, hearing first-hand accounts of the attack by his Japanese medical colleagues and patients. Modest but moving encounters with discrimination and destruction. --Gilbert Taylor

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
1 America Builds the Bombp. 1
2 Plans and Preparationsp. 16
3 Target Number Onep. 33
4 The Hiroshima Bombp. 48
5 The Nagasaki Bombp. 78
6 Peace!p. 117
7 Surrender!p. 125
8 Aftermathp. 147
Chronologyp. 167
Selected Bibliographyp. 169
Photo Creditsp. 171
Indexp. 172