In this well researched and eminently readable book, Palmer has corralled the available evidence that the war-ending bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 were not atom bombs.

What? What’s that you say?

Your family and friends, like mine, may find this notion incredible. If they do, ask them to read the book; it’s free online. I predict that most of those who take your suggestion will agree that the conventional Manhattan Project history may well be a contender for the Greatest Hoax of all Time. During the reading, readers both old enough to have experienced and young enough to remember those times may experience some Ah ha! moments. Palmer kicks off his study by analyzing physical data that reveal the hoax. In this, he makes good use of the recent book by Akio Nakatani: Death Object: Exploding the Nuclear Weapons Hoax [1], which draws upon reports by those who have examined the scene and assert that the destruction of those two cities was, by all appearances, the result of fire-bombing, like that which had already destroyed most of Japan’s major cities.

Palmer reviews and expands on this convincing physical evidence, and then complements it by analyzing the effects of the bomb on people. He concludes that the reported ‘radiation effects’ expected from an atom bomb are, instead, effects of sulfur mustard gas and napalm. It is not surprising that government documents regarding medical effects among victims and survivors remain classified for reasons of ‘national security’. Several chapters provide primers on elementary aspects of nuclear physics and human physiology that will be appreciated by those who aim for a critical understanding of Palmer’s thesis.

Thanks to this book, I can now understand a pair of perplexing conversations I had in the 1960s. The first, which took place in the new Institute for Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon, was with its founding director who told me that one of his activities in the Manhattan project was to collect soil samples from the site of the Trinity test a few hours after the explosion. An interesting story, but how come he was alive to tell it? Wasn’t the site lethally radioactive from a ground level explosion of a plutonium bomb?

The other puzzling conversation occurred during a flight to the west coast. A noted geneticist was angry with a world-famous chemist who, he claimed, grossly exaggerated the genetic damage from the Hiroshima atrocity. Why would the chemist, whom I knew and trusted, do such a thing? Palmer’s book provided the Ah ha! moments for both these puzzles.

The young director was not killed by intensely radioactive soil at the site simply because the test bomb had not been an atom bomb. The chemist, relying on physicists’ estimates of the bomb’s radiation intensity, used experimentally derived relations between radiation dose and mutation rates to predict the genetic damage to Hiroshima survivors and their offspring. The geneticist, on the other hand, had made direct observations on children born to survivors and not found the level of damage that the chemist had estimated—in fact, such studies have found only slight and non-significant increases of genetic disease in the offspring of survivors.

Some readers will acknowledge that Palmer has made a strong scientific case for the fakery but will resist it without answers to “How was it done?” and “Why?”. In the final two chapters, the author takes on those questions with arguments that are, by necessity, speculative. Please don’t cheat by reading these chapters first. Their conclusions are likely to appear reasonable only after you have acknowledged the possibility of the book’s primary conclusion, that We the People have been taken in by this enormous hoax.

Franklin Stahl