AUTHORLinenthal, Edward T. / Engelhardt, Tom, Eds.
TITLEHistory Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past
PUBLISHERMetropolitan Books
CITYNew York, NY

This collection of eight long essays discusses the presentation of the history of the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, and other aspects of America’s past. The authors include Edward Linenthal, John Dower, Michael Sherry, Paul Boyer, Richard Kohn, Mike Wallace, Marilyn Young, and Tom Engelhardt. The essays use the 1995 Smithsonian controversy as a way to examine the difficulties America has with confronting its past. The essays show how efforts to illustrate the truth about Hiroshima have led to accusations of political correctness and anti-American revisionism. Some essays compare American history with Japanese history, which still skirts the atrocities committed during World War II. Interestingly, several essays discuss the role of interest groups and the stranglehold they have on what the American public sees. Mike Wallace writes an informative analysis of the American Air Force Association and its lobbying power. The book does not present judgments on the decision to drop the atomic bombs, but shows how this decision remains desperately and irrationally guarded by veterans groups and other organizations.

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