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Hiroshima

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Author: John Hersey

Published: March 4th 1989 by Vintage (first published 1946)

Format: Paperback , Reprint , 152 pages

Isbn: 9780679721031

Language: English


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On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times). Almost four decades after th On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times). Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told.  His account of what he discovered about them is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima .

30 review for Hiroshima

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    This book will: 1) Make you cry. A lot. You will cry on your cigarette break at work so that when you go back to your desk, your coworker will see your ragged eyes and think you just got dumped over the phone or found out your cat died. No, you were just reading about something roughly one googolplex worse, but you won't even bother trying to explain because your coworker couldn't give two shits about world history, and hadn't even heard about the 2011 mass murder in Oslo until you explained it t This book will: 1) Make you cry. A lot. You will cry on your cigarette break at work so that when you go back to your desk, your coworker will see your ragged eyes and think you just got dumped over the phone or found out your cat died. No, you were just reading about something roughly one googolplex worse, but you won't even bother trying to explain because your coworker couldn't give two shits about world history, and hadn't even heard about the 2011 mass murder in Oslo until you explained it to her a few weeks ago. Blind, me-centric America, folks. Scenes from this book will return when you are stuck in traffic, and you will cry some more. Do not operate a motor vehicle under the influence of this book. 2) Humble you. Calling my problems 'problems' is a little more difficult after reading this book, which is a high achievement in any artistic endeavor. Witnessing the sober-minded, empathetic will of the survivors, and the nation itself, after suffering one of the most blind, unfathomably enormous single blows dealt in all of military history really manages to put the term 'grace' into perspective. 3) Anger you. Arguably the most stomach-dropping scene in this two-part journalistic piece is not one told from the ground where Hersey largely concentrates, but years later on a television set in America. The scene featured a spot-lit survivor of the atomic bomb, a minister, a man who put tireless efforts toward assisting his fellow survivors through worldwide fundraising despite the impediment of living as a hibakusha, a sufferer of the for generations felt, infinitely complex and boundless in physical manifestations, lifelong, crippling beast that is radiation sickness, a man who championed the notion that hatred of America and anger toward the attack(ers) is a knee-jerk reaction and that it is the notion of Total War rather than that of American militarism in general or atomic warfare specifically which should be the target of emotional examination and legal action, and which should be fought against by redirecting all the power of concentrated anger rippling through Japanese society after the bombs were dropped toward the goals of peace, acceptance, and precautionary measures taken for the future of the world, a man who stood in front of the United States Senate and prayed to them for their welfare, congratulated them for their role as the leaders of Planet Earth, and thanked them for bringing peace, stability, and democracy to his nation. Here this man sat, thinking he was on a local television station promoting his charity designed to raise money for female a-bomb victims suffering from physically deforming keloid burn scars on their faces, as this is what he was told. He was lied to, to the extent that a pre-show rehearsal was conducted without his knowledge in preparation for this major television event. Little did he know, he was actually on a popular television show (similar to, say, Oprah or Real Time) in front of millions of American viewers, stunned to find that as cameras stared at his face--a face which heroically attempted but quite understandably failed to mask his sheer horrified astonishment--in front of a live studio audience he was introduced to and practically forced to shake hands and have a nice little chat with the co-pilot of the Enola Gay, a tears-feigning man who was late and drunk during the taping because he was angry when he found out he was not receiving a big paycheck for his appearance on the show, so he just got lit and showed up all tousled and disoriented. Talk about media exploitation. Man, it has been a long time since I read something which disgusted me so much, and that is saying a lot. Oh, I'm getting flushed with anger just typing about it. A lot of pathetic parading of ugly humanity happens here. Prepare yourself. 4) Scar the visual landscape that is your mind. The imagery in this thing, as told through the recollections of 6 survivors, illustrates with emotional restraint in a dry, respectfully factual narrative account, just what an atomic bomb does to a populace. Having grown up in Oklahoma City, I have seen the mind-boggling destruction which results from a large, targeted bomb attack, and distinctly recall being in math class 10 miles away from ground zero, yet feeling myself shifted in my chair at the moment of explosion. I remember wandering into the halls and, within twenty minutes, hearing the radio and television accounts, and witnessing students and faculty alike dropping to the ground in hysterics upon finding out that the city block or even the very building where their husband, mother, father, older brother, cousin, or best friend worked had been annihilated in a breath, those close to them incapable of knowing where they were or if they were. I remember my father pulling my brother and I out of school, and taking us to witness the destruction, so massive in scope, so emotionally trying, so brain-stretching and perspective-building in a way which a 13 year old girl had never even thought she would be forced to face, or had even considered in her silly, pre-adolescent mind. Reading Hersey's piece, I remembered that time, the surreal nature and bottomless melancholy of it all, and tried to imagine it multiplied by so many times it is a number I am incapable of even estimating. Hersey illustrates: kimonos permanently scarring flesh with ornamental patterns, practically faceless soldiers marching with oozing eyes before dropping to their deaths, a pan of a city of moans, of pleas for assistance which are drowned out by roaring fires which consume a landscape predominantly composed of rubble, a blazing trash heap of screams, forcing people to make non-stop me or them decisions, shadows burned into concrete, burial tombs uprooted, a sole doctor left to make decisions about who he can save, and who he absolutely cannot save with his limited resources, working nonstop for days and days with no food or water or sleep or even a single break. There was no FEMA dropping in to assist these people. There was a small handful of uninjured doctors and nurses dealing with a miles-stretching feed-line of wounded souls, many doomed to death before they even burrowed their way out of the wreckage. Sickening. 5) Terrify you. Though I always try my best to keep my ear to the ground concerning current politics, particularly the seemingly endless stream of wars conducted in the name of future peace, this book perked my ears up even more to the subject of nuclear warfare. It's so easy to hear that a nation has or could soon have nuclear capabilities and feel only the faintest, most abstract fear at the notion. It can additionally be such a distant knowledge that what was presumed to be one of the most human rights embracing nations in the world, this, my country of origin, is the only nation in the world throughout all of history to have made the decision to unleash such massive rage and suffering against fellow human beings in pursuit of dominance and stability. This supposedly great nation conducted this and one other mission, permanently damaging the genetic makeup of thousands upon thousands of people, and it terrifies me about what's to come. This book terrified me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Greta

    “My God, what have we done?” Robert Lewis, the pilot Hiroshima after the bombing On August 6 1945 a quiet hysteria buzzed through Hiroshima. The Americans had been firebombing Japan for weeks, and it was one of only two key cities they had not yet hit. "A rumour was going around that the Americans were saving something special for the city.” The citizens heard the bombing alarm at 7am, which wasn‘t unusual, or indicating a severe attack. However the "All clear" sounded at 8am and people relaxed, s “My God, what have we done?” Robert Lewis, the pilot Hiroshima after the bombing On August 6 1945 a quiet hysteria buzzed through Hiroshima. The Americans had been firebombing Japan for weeks, and it was one of only two key cities they had not yet hit. "A rumour was going around that the Americans were saving something special for the city.” The citizens heard the bombing alarm at 7am, which wasn‘t unusual, or indicating a severe attack. However the "All clear" sounded at 8am and people relaxed, started to read their newspapers and cooked breakfast. Then at 8.15am "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima. The bomb kills nearly 100,000 people and injures 100,000 more, from the 250 000 that were living in Hiroshima. Atomic bomb mushroom cloud.Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki (right) In Hiroshima Hersey traces the lives of six survivors—two doctors, two women, and two religious men—from the moment the bomb drops until a few months later. In 1985 he added a postscript that forms the book’s fifth chapter. In this chapter, Hersey reexamines these six individuals’ lives in the forty years since the bomb. Starting with the “noiseless flash” I was surprised to learn, that the people in the city didn‘t hear an explosion and saw nothing more than a flash of bright light. The typical atomic mushroom and the noise, could only be experienced from the outside. Over 90% of the population of central Hiroshima perished, almost all the families of evacuated six to 11-year-olds died. Back in the city, most of the orphan children died within months of starvation In the days after the bombing, nobody knows what caused such destruction. Theories are developed, but people are left with ignorance and confusion for an entire week, until the news spreads that it was an atomic bomb and they started to remove the dead bodies from the streets. At first everyone thought that just their building had been hit and were irritated to see that the entire city was destroyed and on fire. The skin of the people in the inner circle basically evaporated, many were severely burned, causing the people to believe, that the Americans had covered them with toxic gas or gasoline, that they had set on fire. Between life and death Part of John Hersey’s goal was to show that there was no unified political or national response by the people of Hiroshima, but that they came together as a community. But despite the community spirit, they suffered alone as victims. People had severe injuries but did‘t complain or cry out; they suffered silently, which Hersey suggests is a uniquely Japanese characteristic; that it‘s important to the individual not to disturb the larger group and call attention to their own needs or pain. Thousands of people die all around, but no one expresses anger or calls for retribution. As Mr. Tanimoto ran unharmed through the city he apologized to the masses of injured people he passes, for not suffering more himself. Thirteen-year-old girls, died with noble visions that they were sacrificed for their country, and were not concerned for themselves or bitter over their fate. This stoicism becomes a major source of pride for them—they could be strong and supportive of their country and receive whatever hardship they were given with powerful silence. “. . . the silence in the grove by the river, where hundreds of gruesomely wounded suffered together, was one of the most dreadful and awesome phenomena of his whole existence.” Distinctive scaring The water in Hiroshima is a cause of death and disease. When Mrs. Nakamura and her children drank from the river, they vomited the rest of the day because it has been polluted, other died from drinking it. Mr. Tanimoto spend all his energy transporting injured people across the river, but many of them drown in the rising tide. Floods from a terrible storm wash away hospitals, houses, and bridges that had survived the bombing. The bomb turns day into night, conjures up rain and winds, and destroys beings from the inside as well as from the outside. When the Japanese learn how the bomb was created—by releasing the power inside an atom—they call it the "genshi bakudan", or original child bomb, emphasizing that when men made this bomb they were dealing with forces far beyond their own power. The narrative conveys the unsettling sense that the creation and use of the atom bomb crosses an important line between the natural and unnatural world. Severe burnings, acute radiation syndrome and children born with malformations Weeks after the explosion, after Japan capitulates and Hiroshima begins to rebuild, a new terror strikes: radiation sickness, which can be separated into three stages. The first stage is a drop in the number of blood cells, causing an anemia, extreme hair loss and the death of bone marrow. The second stage is gastrointestinal, causing extreme nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In the third stage then, the victims experience dizziness, headaches and loose consciousness. This neurological stage is invariably deadly, even though every one of the stages can cause death. It can occur within minutes or hours - people were just dropping dead or fell asleep out of nothing. Beyond that men became sterile and women experienced miscarriages. Even today people still die from leukemia, babies are born with malformations and other disabilities, caused by the radiation. Removing keloids from a child Dr. Sasaki spends a lot of his time trying to remove the thick, ugly scars called keloids that have grown over burns, suffered by the victims, without realizing, that much of their work has done more harm than good. The keloids also play an important role in the the lives of the young, scarred women who are taken to the U.S. to get plastic surgery. When they return to Japan they became objects of “public curiosity” as well as “envy and spite.” Employers wouldn‘t hire people with such scars, and people didn‘t want their children to marry people who suffered from symptoms of radiation sickness. The keloids mark people as survivors of the attack, and are a glaring physical symbol of both the damage inflicted by the bomb and the naivety of those who tried to heal Japan’s wounds after the war. Every character we meet inevitably has to deal with the death of close family members and friends, as well as being surrounded by death on a massive scale. Mrs. Nakamura’s neighbor is there one minute, and gone the next. The severely burned people that Mr. Tanimoto helps to the shore one night are drowned by the next morning. But even though Hersey does not give the reader many direct views of death, there is a constant, oppressive, and almost suffocating feeling that death is all around. John Hersey Hiroshima was first published by Hersey in "The New Yorker" and hailed as one of the greatest pieces of journalism ever written. It had a massive impact, revealing the full horror and effects of the bombing, which had been kept secret by the US government before. People all over the world began to understand what really happened not just to the city but to the people. It was a radical piece of journalism that gave a voice to those who only a year before had been mortal enemies. John Hersey combined all his experience as a war correspondent with his skill as a novelist to demonstrate the enduring power of storytelling, while revealing pictures that have been hidden away. This is why we need journalists.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    It seems almost indecent to put a rating on this book, I feel as if I am giving all these poor people's horrific suffering an excellent. Yet this is a very powerful book, told in a matter of fact, reporting tone and it is an account that puts a human face to this devastation. By following certain survivors we come to see and in my case to care greatly about these poor people. How much suffering and horror this bomb caused, on innocent people at the mercy of their emperor's decisions. People like It seems almost indecent to put a rating on this book, I feel as if I am giving all these poor people's horrific suffering an excellent. Yet this is a very powerful book, told in a matter of fact, reporting tone and it is an account that puts a human face to this devastation. By following certain survivors we come to see and in my case to care greatly about these poor people. How much suffering and horror this bomb caused, on innocent people at the mercy of their emperor's decisions. People like you and I just trying to live their lives, feed their children, take care of their families. Not knowing what happened, what type of new weapon caused this total devastation. A young doctor, one of the few available in the immediate aftermath, who tries to take care of those he can with very few supplies and with only one hour of sleep in three days. Another man who brings water to those who need it and tries to save as many as he can. A young woman holding a dead baby for over four days, waiting for her husband to be found so he can say goodbye. So much anguish, so much heartbreak. My husband's uncle was the load master for the Enola Gay, the bomber for this terrible act. He suffered from depression for the rest of his life. Why do these terrible things happen and why do they still continue today?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Haunting. Gut-wrenching. Utterly shame-enducing. In Hiroshima Hersey has cobbled together the tales of a handful of survivors and woven them effortlessly through his narrative to create a spellbinding history lesson not to be forgotten. The engrossing eye-witness stories are horrifying, too real, and charged with emotion and drama without the least bit of induced melodrama. There's no need. Hiroshima shows that truth is far more terrible than fiction.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    I went old school with this one: I printed out the original version of John Hersey's article from The New Yorker's Web site so I could read it in its original three-columns-per-page format and surrounded by advertisements for Chesterfield cigarettes, U.S. Savings Bonds, Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey, Rosalind Russell in RKO's "Sister Kenny," Bell System Overseas Telephone Service, and Knox the Hatter, on Fifth Avenue at Fortieth Street. This is the editorial note that ran with Hersey's story I went old school with this one: I printed out the original version of John Hersey's article from The New Yorker's Web site so I could read it in its original three-columns-per-page format and surrounded by advertisements for Chesterfield cigarettes, U.S. Savings Bonds, Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey, Rosalind Russell in RKO's "Sister Kenny," Bell System Overseas Telephone Service, and Knox the Hatter, on Fifth Avenue at Fortieth Street. This is the editorial note that ran with Hersey's story in the Aug. 31, 1946, issue of The New Yorker: TO OUR READERS The New Yorker this week devotes its entire editorial space to an article on the almost complete obliteration of a city by one atomic bomb, and what happened to the people of that city. It does so in the conviction that few of us have yet comprehended the all but incredible destructive power of this weapon, and that everyone might well take time to consider the terrible implications of its use. --THE EDITORS Hersey's book-length article focuses primarily on six victims of the bombing -- Miss Toshiko Sasaki, Dr. Masakazu Fujii, Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamara, Father William Kleinsorge, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki and the Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto -- tracking their lives from the morning of the bombing through the months of its aftermath. It's a masterful piece of journalism, and of a type little seen anymore. The article has almost no attribution and few quotes. Rather, it uses a straightforward narrative style, telling the story as it happened, and the reader simply has to trust that Hersey did the footwork needed to compose his piece. And it's obvious he did. Hersey gives almost no information about the U.S. decision to bomb Hiroshima or the larger context of World War II, but rather focuses solely on how the bombing and its aftermath affected the city's people. The book is stronger as a result, showing the full range of horrors caused by the dropping of an atomic bomb -- in particular on six people we come to know and care about deeply. It speaks to Hersey's talents as a writer that, despite the tragic subject matter and the physical and emotional turmoils he recounts, we the readers don't want the book to end, because that means leaving Miss Sasaki, Dr. Fujii, Mrs. Nakamura, Father Kleinsorge, Dr. Sasaki (no relation to Miss Sasaki) and the Reverend Tanimoto behind. We want to stay with them, and make sure they're able to build new lives for themselves. The book's last paragraph -- a school essay written by Toshio Nakamura, who was 10 years old when the bomb was dropped -- is particularly heartbreaking, and serves as a fitting coda for Hersey's piece. It's short enough to quote here, but really needs to be read in context. It's the perfect ending to an important, stirring work of journalism. The entire book is highly recommended for all readers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Miyahara

    Let me start with a preambular warning: do NOT buy the Amazon kindle edition which is missing Chapter 5. This is the eBook edition published by Pickle Partners (ASIN B00QU4BBTY). Chapter 5 is the John Hersey follow up 40 years later telling the story of the main characters after the original magazine article in 1946. The "illustrated" kindle edition does not disclose that it includes only the 1946 magazine article text. Read a physical edition published after 1989 for a more complete picture. *** Let me start with a preambular warning: do NOT buy the Amazon kindle edition which is missing Chapter 5. This is the eBook edition published by Pickle Partners (ASIN B00QU4BBTY). Chapter 5 is the John Hersey follow up 40 years later telling the story of the main characters after the original magazine article in 1946. The "illustrated" kindle edition does not disclose that it includes only the 1946 magazine article text. Read a physical edition published after 1989 for a more complete picture. ********* After reading a note written by a German Jesuit priest who survived the atomic bomb at Hiroshima, John Hersey located him and was introduced to five other survivors and documented their stories. When I first read the book, I found the story moving, shocking and disturbing. The vivid depictions of the survivors and their struggle to live through the next few days are eye-openers. The new chapter added 40 years later provides some closure to the story of their lives. The prose is simple yet the reader is able to get a good grasp on events and environment. John Hersey wrote Hiroshima in a neutral tone and style. He told interviewer Steve Rothman, "The flat style was deliberate and I still think I was right to adopt it. A high literary manner, or a show of passion, would have brought me into the story as a mediator. I wanted to avoid such mediation, so the reader's experience would be as direct as possible." The New Yorker magazine originally intended to serial publish the story, but made an unprecedented decision to devote the entire issue to John Hersey's story. When the article was first published it sold out within hours. People were hawking the magazine for up to $20 (a great sum in those days) and the publisher was unable to fulfill Albert Einstein's order of 1000 copies. The issue of the magazine was prepared in great secrecy, even the clerks and staff of The New Yorker magazine itself were not let in on the secret, and the weekly proofs for publication were seen only by the editors. Part of the reason was the subject. John Hersey could not actively seek interviewees in Hiroshima since the atomic bomb's aftereffects were heavily censored by the U.S. Army of Occupation in 1946. Newspapers in Japan were not allowed to mention the atomic bombs and the survivors, and even poetry mentioning the events was illegal. Attempts by the Nippon Times to publish Hersey's article in Japan were blocked in 1946, but copies of the book in English surreptitiously made their way to Tokyo in 1947. It was eventually allowed to be published there in 1948. Many critics on sites like Amazon complain Hiroshima does not give the reasons for the U.S. employing the atomic bombs and so is anti-American. Hersey's purpose was not to delve into the argument of whether the bombs should have been used, but to report on its effects and the stories of the survivors. This book was originally intended as a long magazine article and it did not have the space to cover all arguments and nuances. The debate of whether the bombs should or should not have been used really didn't exist when Hersey wrote Hiroshima in 1946. There was no question about using the atomic bombs. When the bombs were dropped, America and her allies were in the midst of a total war with Japan, an embrace of death that neither belligerent was willing or could afford to relax. The horrors and struggles of war were still fresh in everyone's minds. This was a new horror, the face of nuclear war to which Americans were vastly ignorant until John Hersey made the world aware. I also read complaints at Amazon that the article was unbalanced because Hersey did not list Japan’s war crimes, especially the Nanking Massacre, or that because of these war crimes the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki got what they deserved. These arguments are specious at best and immoral at worst. There can be no doubt the Japanese military and the Japanese government were responsible for many war crimes, perhaps even on a greater scale than Nazi Germany. The Nanking Massacre, the Bataan Death March, the Laha Massacre, and the Sandakan Death March to list but a few. The victims of man's inhumanity to man, whether they died in the bombing of Rotterdam, the Holocaust, the Nanking Massacre, the Bismarck Sea incident, the Coventry Blitz, the firebombing of Dresden, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the Malmedy Massacre - few, if any, of the victims deserved death. The people were all sons and daughters; some were husbands, wives, brothers or sisters. Each one was a human being with a name, hopes and dreams. Each has a story and should be respected and remembered. War is savage and brutal, but one tragedy does not justify the next, and the killing of one prisoner or civilian does not justify the killing of another. Every victim deserves to be remembered and have their story told. Hiroshima gives a face to the victims of the atomic bombs. This is their story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kasia

    I was 2 when Chernobyl blew up, it was a perfect sunny day (or so I'm told). The airborne nuclear waste was making its way through Poland over to Norway. My parents were pruning blackberry bushes, getting weeds out from between the carrots and the parsnips, blissfully unaware of the horrors going on few hundred km to the east. Little Kasia was helping them out pulling out baby beets with a great enthusiasm. Basking in the toxic sun. The reactor collapse was made public days after the explosion a I was 2 when Chernobyl blew up, it was a perfect sunny day (or so I'm told). The airborne nuclear waste was making its way through Poland over to Norway. My parents were pruning blackberry bushes, getting weeds out from between the carrots and the parsnips, blissfully unaware of the horrors going on few hundred km to the east. Little Kasia was helping them out pulling out baby beets with a great enthusiasm. Basking in the toxic sun. The reactor collapse was made public days after the explosion and only because, in Sweden, at an another nuclear facility noticed increased radioactivity levels on their own clothes and figured out something nasty must have happened in the eastern block. Sneaky communist governments with their sneaky conspiracies! That's my own, little, nuclear story. Nothing in comparison to Hersey's Hiroshima.  Because Hiroshima has pounded me into the ground. Bodies evaporated on spot, shadows of people in mid motion cast into stones. Hersey's second by second account of the bombing has a feel of Armagedon. The intricate burn patterns (you'd often recognise the lace flower patterns of their former clothing in their injuries) add absurdity to the situation. The radiation sickness, people puking out their insides, not knowing why. Utter confusion as to what actually happened. Miles of concrete city block obliterated with people still alive burried under it. No real help ever to come. Not with this level of destruction. And the book doesn't stop there, Hershey's aftermath is thorough. You get to hear about the consequences of the bombing. Both long and short term. It turns out nobody was left unaffected. There's the poor government handling of the survivors. Hiroshima was pretty much left to tend to its own needs. Only years later a special health support system was introduced. There's the initial unwillingness of health professionals to provide help to Hiroshima victims. There's the sense of isolation, loss and depression hunting survivors in years to come. Because how do you live past an apocalypse? It's an emotionally draining book, hard to get through, but very much worth the strain. Well written, well reached and very well thought out, it touches on all the important aspects of the bombing. I highly recommend it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    On August 6th, 1945, the people of Hiroshima will witness the darkest of days, as at 8.15am a vision of hell on earth shall arrive on their doorsteps, the atomic bomb. 100,000 men, women and children lost their lives with countless more seriously burned, injured and mentally scared for life. This is the story of six survivors including doctors, priests and parents who show great courage, strength and determination at a time of complete and utter chaos to help whose in need. Using a simple prose On August 6th, 1945, the people of Hiroshima will witness the darkest of days, as at 8.15am a vision of hell on earth shall arrive on their doorsteps, the atomic bomb. 100,000 men, women and children lost their lives with countless more seriously burned, injured and mentally scared for life. This is the story of six survivors including doctors, priests and parents who show great courage, strength and determination at a time of complete and utter chaos to help whose in need. Using a simple prose reminiscent of such writers as Yasunari kawabata, John Hersey basically splits the book in two, firstly we have the immediate aftermath of events where widespread panic and confusion are placed on those who managed to survive and try to grasp just what is going on around them, and rather than go into too much detail regarding the actual deaths which were just horrific, Hersey mainly pays attention to those frantically looking for loved ones or those able enough to help. Into the second half the six individuals are looked at in more detail during the years following war and here it becomes very moving and life affirming to see the spirit and resolve they use to do good and make the most of their lives which almost bought a tear to my eye. If I could be granted just one wish, world peace would be the only thing on my mind, and today we need it more than ever as there doesn't seem to be a day that goes by without an atrocity taking place somewhere. Sadly that's just a distant dream but we must always live in hope. Love&peace.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hirdesh

    “Do not work primarily for money; do your duty to patients first and let the money follow; our life is short, we don't live twice; the whirlwind will pick up the leaves and spin them, but then it will drop them and they will form a pile.” Stunning Book+ report on Atomic Bomb explosion by US on Japan during WWII. Special piece of writing and all data's near-about the Facts. It expressed frantically , by different perceptions. Reveals by various person was remained alive and their efforts made in tha “Do not work primarily for money; do your duty to patients first and let the money follow; our life is short, we don't live twice; the whirlwind will pick up the leaves and spin them, but then it will drop them and they will form a pile.” Stunning Book+ report on Atomic Bomb explosion by US on Japan during WWII. Special piece of writing and all data's near-about the Facts. It expressed frantically , by different perceptions. Reveals by various person was remained alive and their efforts made in that drastic and vital situation. In end, it describes hows such nuclear devastation could lead to atmospheric as well human deparature if ever would be come in used in anyway.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    It is not often that I find myself unable to convey the magnitude of importance a book has - but that is exactly where I am at when trying to describe this book. Read it - look at our world - try to get others to read it - hopefully a critical mass of common sense will implode in our collective hearts.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cbj

    A deferential account of the Hiroshima bombing. It is told through the lives of six people – two Christian priests, two doctors, a mother of three and a clerk. It is not sensational at all and people who have been numbed by watching too many zombie movies might not enjoy it. John Hershey gives us a short account of the lives of each character and what they were doing on the morning that the bomb hit. These short accounts tell us what Japanese society was like during the war. The Christian priest A deferential account of the Hiroshima bombing. It is told through the lives of six people – two Christian priests, two doctors, a mother of three and a clerk. It is not sensational at all and people who have been numbed by watching too many zombie movies might not enjoy it. John Hershey gives us a short account of the lives of each character and what they were doing on the morning that the bomb hit. These short accounts tell us what Japanese society was like during the war. The Christian priest is terrified by the rampant xenophobia against Japanese Christians. An ageing doctor who owns his own nursing home is enjoying his idyllic life in an underwear when the bomb hits. He likes to drink whiskey in the evening with his friends. The mother of three watches as her neighbor surrenders his house for wartime activities at the behest of the government. All of them live in a constant state of anxiety because Hiroshima is one of the few places that have not been bombed. Their lives are characterized by the preparations for the impending bombing. Hershey’s tone is measured, whether he is describing misery or bravery or hatred, almost as if he is being weighed down by some great responsibility. I was not entirely convinced by his writing style. I am sure this is because I am used to reading or watching sensationalistic accounts of events, because one of the reasons for reading Hiroshima is the same as why I read books about serial killers. A latent sadism. An eagerness to know what misery befell these victims. What was it like when the atom bomb hit? In August 2018, Kerala, the state in which I was born was awash after the government was forced to open more than thirty dams when their levels crossed the danger limits. The state had received more than 40% rainfall than it usually did over a period of one month. We in Kochi (located in Southern Kerala), eagerly watched the news while waiting for the water to reach us. False rumors spread on social media. We stocked food (in the book, the Christian priest helps his friend and daughter move valuable stuff to another house in case there is a bombing). The restaurants began to close. The water supply was cut off after one of the pumping stations got flooded. My wife told me to gather certificates of my educational qualifications and proof of all our investments in a file (Mrs.Nakamura, the mother of three similarly writes down account numbers of her bond investments). I went out and bought two bottles of vodka because I feared they would shut down the liquor stores and I would be left dry during the Onam festival period. Between August 15th and 26th, when the floods were at their worst, the Kerala State Beverages Corporation sold alcohol worth $75 million. The water kept coming. Refugee camps were opened. I noticed the long queues and chaos in the camps when they showed pictures on TV (Hershey seems to suggest that the Japanese endured the bombing with great dignity. The Christian priest is struck by how there were no cries from the wounded people who had gathered in a park). We talked nervously about moving to a hotel if the water reached our street (India is not an ordered society like Japan). Relatives living in flooded regions sent terrifying pictures and videos of flooded ground floors and old folk on terraces. I was scared. But there was also a sadistic aspect to this waiting for doom while being informed through social media about what it would be like. The videos of water taking the roads and cars were entertaining as long as they were not mine. During the annual Mumbai floods, the poor folk living in the slums would come out to the flooded roads to help stranded middle class people. They did this gleefully as if they were celebrating. Their glee fueled no doubt by the knowledge that things were falling apart. The writer Manu Joseph described all this better than me - "I have seen sadists hiding in places of empathy because they need to be close to human suffering, they need to be in the best seats to watch human and animal suffering. They are fascinating. They themselves do believe they are good." Some of the other reviews suggest that this was a terrifying book. Except for a few instances in the book (their faces were wholly burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their cheeks), I did not find it to be terrifying at all. It was almost like a detached account of a terrifying event with the author only occasionally stepping in with his commentary - “There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    I always wondered if those atomic bombs had not been dropped, would that have increased the chances some other president or other country might have dropped one later in history? Did they serve as a deterrent once everyone witnessed the results? Or this question: If there were survivors, why not practice hiding under your desk? Maybe it could save your life? Or this: If you were a soldier fighting the Japanese, would you want the bombs dropped? The Japanese avoided using the word "survivors." In I always wondered if those atomic bombs had not been dropped, would that have increased the chances some other president or other country might have dropped one later in history? Did they serve as a deterrent once everyone witnessed the results? Or this question: If there were survivors, why not practice hiding under your desk? Maybe it could save your life? Or this: If you were a soldier fighting the Japanese, would you want the bombs dropped? The Japanese avoided using the word "survivors." Instead, they were called "hibakusha," which means "explosion-affected persons." I read this book once long ago. This second read has lost none of the power.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Most painful and most disturbing even after seventy years. KOJIRI Tsutomu; Shrine gate and the Hiroshima Dome. [Image taken from Children of the Atomic Bomb; used without permission] (see status updates for more images) Most painful and most disturbing even after seventy years. KOJIRI Tsutomu; Shrine gate and the Hiroshima Dome. [Image taken from Children of the Atomic Bomb; used without permission] (see status updates for more images)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    "Important" is the first word that comes to mind. Everyone should occasionally read books that remind us of the human costs of war, as it's easy to grow complacent.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    We've all heard about the Atomic bomb, whether it's the Scientific or Military point of view, it's always referred to as something majestic and always entails awe and power. John Hersey's journalistic master-piece uses a different approach, it uses the humanistic view towards the use of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Mr. Hersey writes it in a matter-of-fact way. Cold, detached, and straight to the point. He doesn't add drama or enhances the material, the blunt truth is enough to make it affecting We've all heard about the Atomic bomb, whether it's the Scientific or Military point of view, it's always referred to as something majestic and always entails awe and power. John Hersey's journalistic master-piece uses a different approach, it uses the humanistic view towards the use of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Mr. Hersey writes it in a matter-of-fact way. Cold, detached, and straight to the point. He doesn't add drama or enhances the material, the blunt truth is enough to make it affecting. The facts are enough to make you shiver. Of the 245,000 people in Hiroshima that day, at least 100,000 of them died and thousands more were injured and suffered from the effects of radiation, including women and children. I cannot exaggerate on the importance of this book. That this opened the eyes of the people who celebrated when the bomb was dropped, people who looked towards the Atomic bomb as a wonder, as the answer to their prayers, as something incredible. "The atomic bomb is all but incredible." This article/book is the most celebrated piece of literature that came out of World War 2 because it shows the truth of the matter. That nothing can justify a massacre of hundreds of thousands of people no matter how noble the cause. This is the detailed account of 6 very lucky people who were in Hiroshima the day the atomic bomb exploded and lived to tell their tales. How they reacted, how it affected them, how it took away their lives, their family, their friends, their community, everything they ever knew. On that fine morning 15 minutes past 8, the 6th of August 1945, they were all living their lives, all innocent. They heard nothing, then they saw was a very bright light, a blinding light, and then...... I earnestly believe that every literate person should be able to read this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Diane in Australia

    Very good book where the author follows the lives of several survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima. 4 Stars = It gave me much food for thought.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Smiley

    3.75 stars Since many years ago I've seen this book on display in various bookstores in Bangkok and abroad but I didn't have any motive to buy a copy to read. Till I read some books written as more and more voices that reflect the atomic bomb aftermath in Hiroshima in 1945 before the end of World War II. For example, The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath (Grove Press, 1985) edited by Kenzaburo Oe, Hiroshima Diary (The University of North Carolina Press, 1995) by Michihiko Hachi 3.75 stars Since many years ago I've seen this book on display in various bookstores in Bangkok and abroad but I didn't have any motive to buy a copy to read. Till I read some books written as more and more voices that reflect the atomic bomb aftermath in Hiroshima in 1945 before the end of World War II. For example, The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath (Grove Press, 1985) edited by Kenzaburo Oe, Hiroshima Diary (The University of North Carolina Press, 1995) by Michihiko Hachiya, Hiroshima Notes (Grove Press, 1996) by Kenzaburo Oe, etc. As his journalistic masterpiece (back cover), it has been interestingly written in a more readable feature-like descriptions based on individual, name-mentioned survivors whose memories on their detailed plight and spoken words are still horrible to read due to their pitifully hell-like suffering from the inexplicably deadly atomic bomb. During our family's first Japan trip to Hiroshima in 2012 to visit the remaining dome structure that once was the trade exhibition building, we've since been informed by the information board that the bomb exploded, with mathematically calculated precision, at the height of 600 meters above the ground, its epicenter. In Chapter One, entitled "A NOISELESS FLASH" explores the lives of six people in more detail on his/her morning life on August 6, 1945 in three phases, that is, pre-explosion, explosion, and post- explosion as witnessed respectively by The Reverend Mr Kiyoshi Tanimoto (pp. 2-6), Mrs Hatsuyo Nakamura (pp. 6-9), Dr Masakazu Fujii (pp. 9-11), Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge (pp. 11-13), Dr Terufumi Sasaki (pp. 13-15), and Miss Toshiko Sasaki (pp. 15-16). However, for some reason I would cite only one person, namely, "Mrs Hatsuyo Nakamura, a tailor's widow, was watching a neighbor from her kitchen window." (inner front page) And this was the moment she encountered the explosion: As Mrs Nakamura stood watching her neighbor, everything flashed whiter than any white she had ever seen. She did not notice what happened to the man next door; the reflex of a mother set her in motion toward her children. She had taken a single step (the house was 1,350 yards, or three-quarters of a mile, from the center of the explosion) when something picked her up and she seemed to fly into the next room over the raised sleeping platform, pursued by parts of her house. . . . (p. 8) Consequently, its readers would read Chapter Two THE FIRE, Chapter Three DETAILS ARE BEING INVESTIGATED, and Chapter Four PANIC GRASS AND FEVERFEW for different accounts from those above-mentioned six survivors in a tragic sample series of the ultimately devastated aftermath from the first atomic bomb ever planned, made and dropped to kill the Japanese people living in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. I think I would leave the readers to read about each survivor in the three chapters mentioned above as their post-explosion phases, in other words, as another understanding base to Chapter Five titled THE AFTERMATH, written 40 years later by the author who revisited Hiroshima to meet them and his "account of what he discovered about them is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima." (back cover) Again, I would cite a short extract from Chapter Five on Mrs Nakamura that sums up her view on her unimaginably unwelcome plight in which, I think, her words have subtly taught the posterity something: As Nakamura-san struggled to get from day to day, she had no time for attitudinizing about the bomb or anything else. She was sustained, curiously, by a kind of passivity, summed up in a phrase she herself sometimes used -- "Shikata ga-nai," meaning, loosely, "It can't be helped. " She was not religious, but she lived in a culture long colored by the Buddhist belief that resignation might lead to clear vision; . . . (p. 93) In short, this small paperback is still worth reading for your ensuing reflections and compassion to those unfortunate fellow human beings whose instantly genocide-like deaths and incurably lingering radiation diseases have since been too horrible to know or recall; it depends on the readers who may see the impact of the atomic bomb as the glory or the gory of World War II.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yamilet

    This book had its disturbing moments but it was very exciting.The book described the experience that these six survivors had after the atomic bomb was dropped on the city,Hiroshima. Jhon Hersey included even the smallest but most dramatic details from their stories. Not just researching but to acctually talk to the people who witness this horrible event was brilliant. It is a serious and definitly captivating book.I truly reccomend this book to those who enjoy exciting world histroy book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    Today's world leaders, especially Trump, should read this book. In the case of Trump, who by his own reporting doesn't read, maybe he could have someone else read it for him and break it down point by point into twitter style updates. Just saying...Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Read this with my soon to be 9th grader and found it worthwhile as it is a great book to provoke discussion of the real costs of war, human and otherwise, as well as the complex moral issues Today's world leaders, especially Trump, should read this book. In the case of Trump, who by his own reporting doesn't read, maybe he could have someone else read it for him and break it down point by point into twitter style updates. Just saying...Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Read this with my soon to be 9th grader and found it worthwhile as it is a great book to provoke discussion of the real costs of war, human and otherwise, as well as the complex moral issues surrounding the dropping of the bomb in the first place. There was also an interesting albeit minor topic that presents itself in the last section of the book in which one of the survivors is involved in a decade-long campaign to raise money for those directly affected by the bomb. It raises all kinds of interesting points, one being that there are those who will find a way to profit off the misfortune of others even if they do it under the guise of helping those people.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎

    The horrifying testimonies of six civilians in the days after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, included are an impressive set of pictures, particularly chilling are the before and after photos. A must read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    I suspect that most people have at some point in their lives contemplated the implications of their hometown being hit by a nuclear weapon. There are only two cities on earth that have actually had to confront that terrifying experience: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This book is an account of the bombing of Hiroshima from six survivors, as well as a retrospective on their lives published four decades later. It is truly a vision of a world transformed into hell. I will not get into the pornographic de I suspect that most people have at some point in their lives contemplated the implications of their hometown being hit by a nuclear weapon. There are only two cities on earth that have actually had to confront that terrifying experience: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This book is an account of the bombing of Hiroshima from six survivors, as well as a retrospective on their lives published four decades later. It is truly a vision of a world transformed into hell. I will not get into the pornographic details of the violence. Suffice to say that perishing in a nuclear blast is a horrible way for ones life to end. Hersey's account of the city after the bombing seemed eerily calm in some ways. He did not describe mass panic among the crippled immediate survivors of the blast. It was more like a dazed resignation. Many Hiroshimans simply laid down to quietly die along the parks and riversides of the ruined city. Those who could shared bread, water and searched for loved ones. It took a while for people to learn what had happened to them, though many gathered that whatever bomb had struck their city was something new and out of the ordinary. Humans were burned into permanent shadows on the pavement by the 6000C heat of the blast. Many more suffered agonizing deaths from radiation effects and horrifying burns. In what had been a large city center, only four buildings were left standing and usable. Hiroshima recovered with remarkable speed given what happened. The Japanese did not succumb to victimhood and instead worked to rebuild their country after the ravages of war and even partial nuclear annihilation. Within a few months reconstruction plans in Hiroshima were underway. It takes a lot longer to excise ghosts than it does to reconstruct buildings, however. This short book is a deeply haunting look at not only our recent past but also an as-yet possible human future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    shakespeareandspice

    I read this very quietly. And I don’t mean by isolating myself in a silent room. Quietly as in with careful consideration of the words Hersey uses. It’s a book that reads very serenely. Isn’t that strange and awful? Hiroshima covers the stories of six survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on 6th August, 1945. This is one of those brief covered topics in school that is difficult to talk about even 70 years after the event. Difficult because it shouldn’t be so hard to separate th I read this very quietly. And I don’t mean by isolating myself in a silent room. Quietly as in with careful consideration of the words Hersey uses. It’s a book that reads very serenely. Isn’t that strange and awful? Hiroshima covers the stories of six survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on 6th August, 1945. This is one of those brief covered topics in school that is difficult to talk about even 70 years after the event. Difficult because it shouldn’t be so hard to separate the government from it’s people, yet it is. Give this a read if you ever want something that will make you question the world we live in. It’s a very good read, I promise you.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    4/5stars Incredibly informative, horrifying and necessary

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This is one of those books I meant to read years ago but never found the time, even considering the short length. I knew the book began as an article Hersey published in The New Yorker, roughly one year after the events described. I am surprised this book did not effect me more. Not that I planned to be lost in newly discovered grief but I am afraid that the knowledge I already possessed about this period deadened my reaction to Hersey's words. I have read more terrifying accounts but I am sure This is one of those books I meant to read years ago but never found the time, even considering the short length. I knew the book began as an article Hersey published in The New Yorker, roughly one year after the events described. I am surprised this book did not effect me more. Not that I planned to be lost in newly discovered grief but I am afraid that the knowledge I already possessed about this period deadened my reaction to Hersey's words. I have read more terrifying accounts but I am sure at the time of publication this was an effective piece of journalism. To get to the meat of why I am rating lower than I'd expected, I did not like Hersey's style. I also would have liked some information about his resources and contacts. Placing this book on my non-fiction shelf also feels off, rather how I felt with In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences. Both authors tried so hard to include just the facts but in an effort to force the reader to understand what has happened, liberties may or may not have been taken. I am not necessarily saying this is a bad thing, it just does not make for a read I love. There were more than a few parts in this book that I wondered how Hersey knew exactly what was said and done. From an objective and factual viewpoint, I do not like this. But from the viewpoint of getting the American people to begin to fathom the repurcussions of the bombs, and considering it was 1946, I feel Hersey should have taken greater liberties. I feel he shied away from certain subjects in consideration of the New Yorker's audience yet there were still terrible descriptions, scenes I will not forget. To conclude, I wish Hersey had decided to take his article further in one direction, either more personal and subjective or less personal and more objective. I am still happy I read this, if only for the historical significance. I am a believer in the adage that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, so anything which keeps events such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki in peoples' minds is a good thing. More people should read this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zak

    The writer takes a strictly journalistic and impersonal approach to his reporting on the bombing of Hiroshima. This is meant to leave readers to form their own conclusions on the ethical aspects of this disaster. Perhaps, at the time this story was published in its entirety by the New Yorker, there was little knowledge or comprehension in the West about the horrible effects of this "greatest achievement of organized science in history" (excerpt from statement by US President Harry Truman who ord The writer takes a strictly journalistic and impersonal approach to his reporting on the bombing of Hiroshima. This is meant to leave readers to form their own conclusions on the ethical aspects of this disaster. Perhaps, at the time this story was published in its entirety by the New Yorker, there was little knowledge or comprehension in the West about the horrible effects of this "greatest achievement of organized science in history" (excerpt from statement by US President Harry Truman who ordered the bombing); and so there was a widespread reaction to its publication. Today, we all know already the horrors visited on the people of Hiroshima (men, women, children alike, including foreign missionaries). As such, the writer's approach left me feeling a little detached from the people he wrote about. Maybe it's just me, but when I read a book, I want to know the writer's personal opinions and for him/her to take a stand so that I can argue for or against it in my head. Still, I have no doubts this was an important piece of work at the time it came out.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    ETA: Check out these two books too: Truman (My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) ******************************** Remember, my rating is in no way a judgment of the suffering of those who lived through or died as a result of the events that occurred in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.Although it does feel wrong to give this book anything but five stars, my reaction ETA: Check out these two books too: Truman (My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) ******************************** Remember, my rating is in no way a judgment of the suffering of those who lived through or died as a result of the events that occurred in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.Although it does feel wrong to give this book anything but five stars, my reaction to it was not one of pure love. Yes, I liked the book. It is an important book that needed to be written and should be read by all. It is a very clear description of exactly what happened that day to six Japanese people who lived through those events. The description is clear and concise and not emotional. It reads a as a research work. What happened? What would you have seen had you been there? That is what you get. It is very difficult reading, despite the absence of emotional involvement. None of the stories are presented in the first person. It reads as - he did that and he saw this. The book then follows what happened in the days, weeks, months and years after that day. Living through that day changed all those who survived. It is important to lo look beyond the event itself and look at how it changed forever the lives of those who survived. It is important to look at how the Japanese government reacted, how they helped/didn't help the survivors. All the facts of the people's lives are here, but some of the facts are not presented in a manner that can be comprehended. Some are pure statistics. One example being a salary is stated in yen or USD. I wanted to know what that salary bought then and there, not the monetary value. Some of the details were simply facts that I could not relate to. This is a short book and only covers a few individuals, albeit individuals that represent what many other individuals experienced. It is important, but limited in scope. It is clear that the author wants to say that human beings do not learn from the past. One country after another developed its own atomic weapons and then huge arsenals. Clearly the author wants us to realize by this we have learned nothing, and unfortunately I must agree. Still a more in-depth discussion of the arms race wouldn't have been out of place, but that was not the aim of this book. Its scope is to follow just a few individual. It is important that the details revealed in this book are known.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dhanaraj Rajan

    On 6th August, 1945 the first ever Atomic bomb was dropped on humanity. The location was Hiroshima in Japan. A lively city that was touted to be the capital of Japan at the fall of Tokyo in World War II was in a moment turned into a dead city with nothing but ruins. A Sample Picture: The devastation conceded some the existence of some 'survivors' - the Japanese government did not want to use the word survivors for it was in a way rendering disrespect to those who had perished. So the word used was On 6th August, 1945 the first ever Atomic bomb was dropped on humanity. The location was Hiroshima in Japan. A lively city that was touted to be the capital of Japan at the fall of Tokyo in World War II was in a moment turned into a dead city with nothing but ruins. A Sample Picture: The devastation conceded some the existence of some 'survivors' - the Japanese government did not want to use the word survivors for it was in a way rendering disrespect to those who had perished. So the word used was hibakusha, literally 'explosion-affected people'. The author of this book had reached out to six of these survivors and had recorded their experiences, the result of which is this slim volume. The author, in presenting the stories is neither on the seat of judgment nor a sentimentalist. He presents very objectively. But I say that you will invariably be moved and at times will find yourselves judging some of the historical acts and its agents. Let me give you some instances: 1. Once when the survivors in a group were moving from one place to another among the ruins, a lady in despair very respectfully tells them not to walk on the particular stretch of ash for it is her dead husband. 2. An young mother does not want to bury the dead child (for almost four days) for she wants that her husband who was conscripted in the army could see it for the last time. 3.In their running away from the city the less injured people see the heavily injured people (some without an arm) supporting those who were as severely injured as they were. In spite of such great damages to their city and to their own lives, it is recorded that none of the Japanese spoke anything against their government for entering into the war. Everyone without an exception thought the it was the sacrifice that one offered for the country and for its victory. For more pictures about the Hiroshima before and after bombing check this site. http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    'When he had penetrated the bushes, he saw there were about twenty men, and they were all in exactly the same nightmarish state: their faces were wholly burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their cheeks. [...] Their mouths were mere swollen, pus-covered wounds, which they could not bear to stretch enough to admit the spout of the teapot.' (pp.51-52) Really powerful account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, its immediate impact on 'When he had penetrated the bushes, he saw there were about twenty men, and they were all in exactly the same nightmarish state: their faces were wholly burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their cheeks. [...] Their mouths were mere swollen, pus-covered wounds, which they could not bear to stretch enough to admit the spout of the teapot.' (pp.51-52) Really powerful account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, its immediate impact on the lives of six Japanese survivors (& the people around them), their experiences with the subsequent fires, the deaths, the radiation sickness and the eventual rebuilding of their lives. More than seventy years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (and Nagasaki), this book can help people understand what went on that fateful morning, when the bomb was dropped, and later, when the after effects started manifesting themselves. Recommended to absolutely anyone and everyone. 'My God, what have we done?' (p.146) *** Side note/Addendum: For a re-telling of the events (on the Americans' side) during the three weeks leading up to the Bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, let me recommend Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    I read this up at grandmother's cottage on Lake Michigan during summer break from high school. I had previously read quite a bit of near-future science fiction describing the effects of nuclear blasts, but never something so long describing real effects on real people. The fact that its author had been a war correspondent, involved, like my father, in campaigns on both theatres and awarded a medal for heroism on Guadalcanal, the fact that he had reason to be prejudiced against the Japanese, just I read this up at grandmother's cottage on Lake Michigan during summer break from high school. I had previously read quite a bit of near-future science fiction describing the effects of nuclear blasts, but never something so long describing real effects on real people. The fact that its author had been a war correspondent, involved, like my father, in campaigns on both theatres and awarded a medal for heroism on Guadalcanal, the fact that he had reason to be prejudiced against the Japanese, just made the accounts he gave of the survivors of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima all the more powerful.

  30. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Very informative! I was not yet born (of course) when the bombing in Hiroshima happened and what I read so far are cold fact history books. In this novel, John Hersey effectively used 6 characters to describe without any bias what happened in Hiroshima the day before the bombing up to a year after. I read most parts while waiting for my family roaming around Fort Santiago one Sunday afternoon and the surrounding was perfect!

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