Kitty Kelley Book Club: Literary Cocktail Party with Evan Thomas  

The Washington Independent Review of Books held a literary salon at the home of Kitty Kelley on Oct. 29. The guest of honor was journalist, historian and author Evan Thomas, who worked for Time and Newsweek and was seen for years on “Inside Washington.”  

“Thank you all for coming today and supporting the Washington Independent Review of Books,” said Jennifer Bort Yacovissi, president of the Independent. “If you’re not familiar with us, and you’re just here because a friend of yours invited you, we’re an online book review site featuring daily reviews, columns, various features, podcasts, and spotlight events at local area independent bookstores. And thanks so much to our gracious hostess, Kitty Kelley, for welcoming us into her garden on this lovely day.”   

Thomas’s new book, “Road to Surrender: Three Men and the Countdown to the End of World War II,” tells the tale of those involved in dropping the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki to force the unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allies. It is, of course, one of the most important events of our age.  

The book goes through the dispatches and diaries of Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Gen. Carl “Tooey” Spaatz and Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo. The thinking of Emperor Hirohito is also scrutinized. The Americans discussed where to drop the bomb — and the need to do it. Thomas vividly puts the reader in a you-are-there position for this valuable history lesson, coming on the heels of “Oppenheimer.”  

In his backyard remarks, Thomas recalled that his father was a sailor on an LST, which took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. He spoke of the intransigence of the Japanese high command not to surrender.  

The biggest question asked by attendees was “Did we have to drop the bomb?” Thomas said he had grappled with the question for years — and knew academia’s position — but concluded: “Yes, we did.”  

After the discussion, Thomas happily spoke with attendees and signed copies of his new book.  

“Our event with Evan is the Independent’s first literary salon, and we hope that many others will follow,” Yacovissi said. “We love putting authors together with readers — after all, that’s our day job — and hosting literary salons like this one is a fun and engaging way to make that happen.” 

“Given the number of readers and writers and book lovers in and around D.C., Washington Independent Review of Books will be holding fall and spring events so that writers like Evan Thomas can meet and greet their readers and discuss their books over wine and food,” Kelley said. “What could be more civilized than a literary cocktail party?”  




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