By the time of the dropping of the atom bomb in August 1945, the United States military situation in the Pacific was in disarray. As an Army staff officer stated simply, "The capitulation of Hirohito saved our necks."In 1944, a year earlier, success seemed near, but squabbling in the military command and the logistical challenges of launching a full-scale invasion of the Japanese mainland soon took their toll, and by the time of V.E. Day it was questionable whether the United States was up to the task of endingthe war in the Pacific. An exhausted American public was calling for troops to come home and for the country to return to manufacturing consumer items instead of arms. Republican politicians called for the Allies to back away from the demand for unconditional surrender. The politically powerfulconstituency of GIs won legislative victories, allowing soldiers more easily to leave the military and depleting units just as they most needed experienced soldiers. Weaving together analysis of grand strategy with a vivid narrative depicting the brutal, debilitating, and often terrifying experienceof combat, Waldo Heinrichs and Marc Gallicchio bring to life the final year in the Pacific. They explore the lives of the soldiers, sailors, and Marines who faced illness, drenching rain, and tenacious Japanese opponents. They also evoke the grand, clashing personalities of Douglas MacArthur andGeorge C. Marshall, who warned of "the agony of enduring battle," and shed light on the views of President Roosevelt, who doubted Americans' understanding of the conflict and worried about a public mood that oscillated between overconfidence and despair. After the bloodletting on Iwo Jima andOkinawa, the war against Japan seemed more repugnant and less meaningful than the struggle against Germany. It is in this context, of military emergency and patience wearing thin, that a new president, Harry S. Truman, made the decision to deploy the atomic bomb.This remarkable, gripping narrative challenges assumptions about the inevitability of the war's outcome, the consequences of the "Europe first" strategy, and the wisdom of America's leaders.