For Immediate Release: May 30, 2000
Contacts: Edeen Martin
Truman Library and Museum

Barkley & Evergreen Public Relations


- Author challenges revisionist scholars' criticism of use of atom bomb against Japan
in latest book: Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire -

(Independence, Mo.) - The Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs has selected Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (Random House, Inc.1999), authored by military historian Richard B. Frank, as its 2000 Harry S. Truman Book Award winner.

The Harry S. Truman Book Award of $1,000 recognizes the best book written within a two-year period that deals primarily and substantially with some aspect of the history of the United States between April 12, 1945 and January 20, 1953, or with the public career of Harry S. Truman. The award is given biennially in even-numbered years.

Mr. Frank's book was selected from a field of twenty-five submitted entries including James Chace's Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the Modern World, (Simon & Schuster); John W. Dower's Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, (W.W. Norton & Company); Michael Hogan's A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954, (Cambridge University Press); Robert H. Ferrell's, Truman and Pendergast, (University of Missouri Press); and Jessica Wang's American Science in an Age of Anxiety: Scientists, Anticommunism, and the Cold War, (North Carolina Press).

"This book addresses what is arguably the most important decision that President Truman made, to use nuclear weapons to end the war in the Pacific," Chair of the Truman Book Award subcommittee, Dr. Ronald Peters, said. "This decision has been the subject of much scholarly and journalistic attention over the past half century.

"While in the immediate aftermath of World War II most commentary supported Truman's decision, later revisionist scholarship has called into question the necessity and the wisdom of using the atom bomb against Japan," he added. "Frank challenges these revisionist interpretations by carefully researching each key aspect of the decision. He takes the reader into the heart of the Japanese people, the souls of its leaders, and into the minds of American policy makers. His account will set a new benchmark for scholarship on this question, one to which revisionist scholars will have to respond. The book is clearly and interestingly written, and convincingly argued. It deserves wide notice and merits the Harry S. Truman Book Award."

Dr. Peters is the Director of the Carl Albert Center for Congressional Research and Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
The Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs is the private, not-for-profit organization that supports the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. The Truman Library is one of ten presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

About Richard B. Frank
Richard B. Frank was born in Kansas in 1947. Upon graduation from the University of Missouri in 1969, he was commissioned in the United States Army, in which he served almost four years, including a tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam as an aerorifle platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division. In 1976, he completed studies at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. The following year he began research on his first book, Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Campaign, which was published in 1990. He lives in Annandale, Virginia.

The Truman Library and Museum is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware in Independence, Mo. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a. m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is $5 for adults, $4.50 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6 to 18, and free for children 5 years and under.

The Harry S. Truman Library is one of ten Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

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