Darien Library, along with Barrett Bookstore, proudly welcomes esteemed author, Evan Thomas, in discussion of his newly released book, Road To Surrender: Three Men and the Countdown to the End of World War II.
The book is a riveting, immersive account of the agonizing decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan—a crucial turning point in World War II and geopolitical history.
It is 9:20 a.m. on the morning of May 30, and General Leslie R. Groves receives a message to report to the office of the secretary of war, Henry Stimson, “at once.” Stimson wants to know: has Groves selected the targets yet? So begins this suspenseful, impeccably researched history to tell the story of three men who were intimately involved with America’s decision to drop the atomic bomb—and Japan’s decision to surrender. They are Henry Stimson, the American Secretary of War, who had overall responsibility for decisions about the atom bomb; General Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, head of strategic bombing in the Pacific, who supervised the planes that dropped the bombs; and Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, the only one in Emperor Hirohito’s Supreme War Council who believed even before the bombs were dropped that Japan should surrender.
Henry Stimson had served in the administrations of five presidents, but as the U.S. nuclear program progressed, he found himself tasked with the unimaginable decision of determining whether to deploy the bomb. The new president, Harry S. Truman, thus far a peripheral figure in the momentous decision, accepted Stimson’s recommendation to drop the bomb. Army Air Force Commander Gen. Spaatz ordered the planes to take off. Like Stimson, Spaatz agonized over the command even as he recognized it would end the war. After the bombs were dropped, Foreign Minister Togo was finally able to convince the emperor to surrender.
Thomas drew on new access to diaries of Stimson, Togo and Spaatz, contemplating the immense weight of their historic decision. In this immersive, surprising, moving account, Thomas beautifully portrays the behind-the-scenes thoughts, feelings, motivations, and decision-making of three people who changed history.
About the Author:
Evan Thomas is the author of bestselling books including First: Sandra Day O’Connor, Being Nixon, John Paul Jones, and Sea of Thunder. Thomas was a writer, correspondent, and editor at Time and Newsweek and has taught writing and journalism at Harvard and Princeton.