Wintersalen Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    The Powell's Playlist | October 21, 2014

    Anne Rice: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Anne Rice



    These are the songs that wake me up, take me out of my worries and anxieties, wash my brain cells, and send me to the keyboard to write with new... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$6.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside WCIV- 20TH CENT868

Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan

by

Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"This book is bound to win a lot of notice....But what's good in it isn't new — area bombing has been subject to rigorous scholarly scrutiny for decades now...and the moral questions involved have been thoroughly explored. And what's new in it — a rigid philosophical and legalistic approach to the complexities of history...isn't good. The book, then, is a lost opportunity: it addresses a troubling episode that has yet to be assimilated by the public mind, but it does so in a manner that proves that war is too important a business to be left to the philosophers." Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Nuremberg was scouted in 1945 as a possible site for the Nazi war crime trials, an American damage survey of Germany described it as being among the dead cities of that country, for it was 90% destroyed, its population decimated, its facilities lost. As a place to put Nazis on trial, it symbolized the devastation Nazism brought upon Germany, while providing evidence of the destruction the Allies wrought on the country in the course of the war.

In Among the Dead Cities, the acclaimed philosopher A. C. Grayling asks the provocative question, how would the Allies have fared if judged by the standards of the Nuremberg Trials? Arguing persuasively that the victor nations have never had to consider the morality of their policies during World War II, he offers a powerful, moral re-examination of the Allied bombing campaigns against civilians in Germany and Japan, in the light of principles enshrined in the post-war conventions on human rights and the laws of war.

Intended to weaken those countries' ability and will to make war, the bombings nonetheless destroyed centuries of culture and killed some 800,000 non-combatants, injuring and traumatizing hundreds of thousands more in Hamburg, Dresden, and scores of other German cities, in Tokyo, and finally in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Was this bombing offensive justified by the necessities of war, Grayling writes, or was it a crime against humanity? These questions mark one of the great remaining controversies of the Second World War. Their resolution is especially relevant in this time of terrorist threat, as governments debate how far to go in the name of security.

Grayling begins by narrating the Royal Air Force's and U. S.Army Air Force's dramatic and dangerous missions over Germany and Japan between 1942 and 1945. Through the eyes of survivors, he describes the terrifying experience on the ground as bombs created inferno and devastation among often-unprepared men, women, and children. He examines the mindset and thought-process of those who planned the campaigns in the heat and pressure of war, and faced with a ruthless enemy. Grayling chronicles the voices that, though in the minority, loudly opposed attacks on civilians, exploring in detail whether the bombings ever achieved their goal of denting the will to wage war. Based on the facts and evidence, he makes a meticulous case for, and one against, civilian bombing, and only then offers his own judgment. Acknowledging that they in no way equated to the death and destruction for which Nazi and Japanese aggression was responsible, he nonetheless concludes that the bombing campaigns were morally indefensible, and more, that accepting responsibility, even six decades later, is both a historical necessity and a moral imperative.

Rarely is the victor's history re-examined, and A. C. Grayling does so with deep respect and with a sense of urgency to get a proper understanding for how peoples and states can and should behave in times of conflict. Addressing one of today's key moral issues, Among the Dead Cities is both a dramatic retelling of the World War II saga, and vitally important reading for our time.

Review:

"The Allied bombing of Axis cities, which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and made smoking ruins of Dresden, Tokyo and Hiroshima, remains one of the great controversies of WWII; this probing study does the issue full justice. Philosophy professor Grayling (The Meaning of Things) focuses on Britain's 'area bombing' of entire German cities, a strategy adopted initially because bombers couldn't hit smaller sites and then, as attitudes hardened, continued as a deliberate attack on civilian morale. Grayling scrupulously considers the justifications for area bombing — that it would shorten the conflict by destroying Germany's economy and will to resist, that civilian workers were also combatants or that it was simply the rough justice of war — and finds them wanting. British bombing, he contends, did little damage to the German war effort at an unconscionable price in innocent lives, in contrast to American pinpoint bombing of industrial and military targets, which succeeded in paralyzing the German economy with few civilian casualties. (The Americans, he sadly notes, resorted to area bombing in their devastating air campaign against Japan.) Drawing on firsthand accounts by theorists, architects, victims and opponents of area bombing, Grayling situates a lucid analysis of the historical data within a rigorous philosophical framework." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In the summer of 1943, the Bomber Command of Britain's Royal Air Force began what it chose to call Operation Gomorrah, 'five major and several minor' aerial attacks on the German city of Hamburg, 'with the aim of wiping Hamburg from the map of Europe.' Most of the bombs it dropped were incendiaries, 'small bombs filled with highly flammable chemicals, among them magnesium, phosphorus and petroleum... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Perhaps most swayed by the voices of contemporaneous critics, Grayling's verdict is surprising not in ultimately condemning the attacks but in doing so in an elegantly blunt fashion that simultaneously radiates profound compassion for the perpetrators." Booklist

Review:

"A philosopher seeks to determine whether Allied area-bombing during World War II was a moral wrong....Well-argued and persuasive, but not likely to sway the red states." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The excellence of Among the Dead Cities...rests less on Grayling's deductions than his provision of enough information and argument for readers with alternate premises to draw different conclusions. That richness makes wrestling with his views a demanding intellectual exercise." Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"Grayling brings a fresh perspective to some of the great questions of modern history...and gives answers that should broaden thinking about how the United States conducts its global war on terrorism and its ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Almost immediately one senses what [Grayling's] answer will be...but he must be given full credit for reaching that conclusion only after a careful, nuanced analysis that gives full credit to the views and intentions of the bombers..." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Book News Annotation:

Grayling (philosophy, U. of London) investigates whether the massive bombing of cities by British and American air forces during World War II was a crime against humanity. He considers the bomber war, the experience of the bombed, the mind of the bomber, the voices of conscience, and the case for and against. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

"Was the bombing offensive [against civilians in Germany and Japan] a crime against humanity," writes A. C. Grayling, "or was it justified by the necessities of war? These questions mark one of the great remaining controversies of the Second World War." Their resolution, which Grayling accomplishes with great respect and with a sense of urgency, is a vital contribution to the debate about how far governments can go in the name of national security.

Synopsis:

Is it ever right to target civilians in a time of war? Or do the ends sometimes justify the means? The twentieth century - the age of 'total war' - marked the first time that civilian populations came to be seen as legitimate military targets. At this policy's most terrible extreme came the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki but it is an issue that remains relevant today with the needs of the 'War on Terror' used to justify the use of drone strikes. In Amongst the Dead Cities, A.C. Grayling explores these moral issues in all their complexity with a detailed examination of the Allied bombing of German cities during World War 2. Considering the cases for and against the area bombing and the experiences of the bombed and the bombers, Grayling asks: was the targeting of civilians in Germany a crime? Now available in the Bloomsbury Revelations series, the book includes a new afterword by the author considering the issues in light of later conflicts up to the present day.

About the Author

A. C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of several books, among them The Meaning of Things and a biography of William Hazlitt. He is a fellow of the World Economic Forum, and past chairman of the human rights organization, June Fourth. He contributes frequently to the Financial Times, The Economist, and the Observer, and appears regularly on radio and television. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Picture Credits Maps Preface 1. Introduction: Was It A Crime 2. The Bomber War 3. The Experience of the Bombed 4. The Mind of the Bomber 5. Voices of Conscience 6. The Case Against the Bombing 7. The Defence of Area Bombing 8. Judgement Postscript Appendix Afterword to the Bloomsbury Revelations Edition Notes Bibliography Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802714718
Subtitle:
The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan
Author:
Grayling, A. C.
Author:
Grayling, A C C.
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
History
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century
Subject:
General
Subject:
World History-1650 to Present
Subject:
Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
General History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
March 2006
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
10 BandW images
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

Other books you might like

  1. Antioxidant Revolution New Trade Paper $16.98
  2. The Science of Mind Used Trade Paper $5.50
  3. Overthrow: America's Century of... Used Hardcover $5.95
  4. The Illuminated Rumi
  5. Recovering the Soul: A Scientific... Used Trade Paper $5.95
  6. The Soul's Code: In Search of...
    Used Trade Paper $5.95

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Aviation History
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » 20th Century
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
Humanities » Philosophy » Ethics

Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Walker & Company - English 9780802714718 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The Allied bombing of Axis cities, which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and made smoking ruins of Dresden, Tokyo and Hiroshima, remains one of the great controversies of WWII; this probing study does the issue full justice. Philosophy professor Grayling (The Meaning of Things) focuses on Britain's 'area bombing' of entire German cities, a strategy adopted initially because bombers couldn't hit smaller sites and then, as attitudes hardened, continued as a deliberate attack on civilian morale. Grayling scrupulously considers the justifications for area bombing — that it would shorten the conflict by destroying Germany's economy and will to resist, that civilian workers were also combatants or that it was simply the rough justice of war — and finds them wanting. British bombing, he contends, did little damage to the German war effort at an unconscionable price in innocent lives, in contrast to American pinpoint bombing of industrial and military targets, which succeeded in paralyzing the German economy with few civilian casualties. (The Americans, he sadly notes, resorted to area bombing in their devastating air campaign against Japan.) Drawing on firsthand accounts by theorists, architects, victims and opponents of area bombing, Grayling situates a lucid analysis of the historical data within a rigorous philosophical framework." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "This book is bound to win a lot of notice....But what's good in it isn't new — area bombing has been subject to rigorous scholarly scrutiny for decades now...and the moral questions involved have been thoroughly explored. And what's new in it — a rigid philosophical and legalistic approach to the complexities of history...isn't good. The book, then, is a lost opportunity: it addresses a troubling episode that has yet to be assimilated by the public mind, but it does so in a manner that proves that war is too important a business to be left to the philosophers." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "Perhaps most swayed by the voices of contemporaneous critics, Grayling's verdict is surprising not in ultimately condemning the attacks but in doing so in an elegantly blunt fashion that simultaneously radiates profound compassion for the perpetrators."
"Review" by , "A philosopher seeks to determine whether Allied area-bombing during World War II was a moral wrong....Well-argued and persuasive, but not likely to sway the red states."
"Review" by , "The excellence of Among the Dead Cities...rests less on Grayling's deductions than his provision of enough information and argument for readers with alternate premises to draw different conclusions. That richness makes wrestling with his views a demanding intellectual exercise."
"Review" by , "Grayling brings a fresh perspective to some of the great questions of modern history...and gives answers that should broaden thinking about how the United States conducts its global war on terrorism and its ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Review" by , "Almost immediately one senses what [Grayling's] answer will be...but he must be given full credit for reaching that conclusion only after a careful, nuanced analysis that gives full credit to the views and intentions of the bombers..."
"Synopsis" by ,
"Was the bombing offensive [against civilians in Germany and Japan] a crime against humanity," writes A. C. Grayling, "or was it justified by the necessities of war? These questions mark one of the great remaining controversies of the Second World War." Their resolution, which Grayling accomplishes with great respect and with a sense of urgency, is a vital contribution to the debate about how far governments can go in the name of national security.
"Synopsis" by ,
Is it ever right to target civilians in a time of war? Or do the ends sometimes justify the means? The twentieth century - the age of 'total war' - marked the first time that civilian populations came to be seen as legitimate military targets. At this policy's most terrible extreme came the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki but it is an issue that remains relevant today with the needs of the 'War on Terror' used to justify the use of drone strikes. In Amongst the Dead Cities, A.C. Grayling explores these moral issues in all their complexity with a detailed examination of the Allied bombing of German cities during World War 2. Considering the cases for and against the area bombing and the experiences of the bombed and the bombers, Grayling asks: was the targeting of civilians in Germany a crime? Now available in the Bloomsbury Revelations series, the book includes a new afterword by the author considering the issues in light of later conflicts up to the present day.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.