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Hiroshima by John Hersey
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Hiroshima (1946)

by John Hersey

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First published in 1946, this simple little book recounts the experiences of six civilian inhabitants of Hiroshima who survived the atomic blast on April 6, 1945. Few residents recall hearing any sound from the explosion, just the bright flash and the shock wave. Even those who died soon after most often did so in silence. The book tells what those 6 were doing that morning, what happened when the atomic bomb exploded, and how they coped in the hours, days, weeks and months that followed. The final chapter returns 40 years later to follow up on the rest of their lives.

I've heard rave and almost reverential recommendations of this book and wondered if my thoughts would be changed by reading it. The text is mostly straightforward and seemingly neutral in its judgment; it reports that most Hiroshimans did not blame the US for the bomb, they just wanted to get on with their lives as best they could. It is not until the very end that it seems to take on an agenda, and while I found the initial part of the book fascinating and compelling, the follow-up chapter was disappointing. It isn't especially graphic or horrific in its account, but does portray what ordinary Japanese experienced, and made me feel grateful that such weapons have not been used since 1945.

I think this is a worthwhile book for anyone interested in the topic to read. But I would urge you *not* to read with the intent to fortify your views either way - the book's focus is much too narrow for such - but to read it for the history and human experience it reports. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
First published in 1946, this simple little book recounts the experiences of six civilian inhabitants of Hiroshima who survived the atomic blast on April 6, 1945. Few residents recall hearing any sound from the explosion, just the bright flash and the shock wave. Even those who died soon after most often did so in silence. The book tells what those 6 were doing that morning, what happened when the atomic bomb exploded, and how they coped in the hours, days, weeks and months that followed. The final chapter returns 40 years later to follow up on the rest of their lives.

I've heard rave and almost reverential recommendations of this book and wondered if my thoughts would be changed by reading it. The text is mostly straightforward and seemingly neutral in its judgment; it reports that most Hiroshimans did not blame the US for the bomb, they just wanted to get on with their lives as best they could. It is not until the very end that it seems to take on an agenda, and while I found the initial part of the book fascinating and compelling, the follow-up chapter was disappointing. It isn't especially graphic or horrific in its account, but does portray what ordinary Japanese experienced, and made me feel grateful that such weapons have not been used since 1945.

I think this is a worthwhile book for anyone interested in the topic to read. But I would urge you *not* to read with the intent to fortify your views either way - the book's focus is much too narrow for such - but to read it for the history and human experience it reports. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
First published in 1946, this simple little book recounts the experiences of six civilian inhabitants of Hiroshima who survived the atomic blast on April 6, 1945. Few residents recall hearing any sound from the explosion, just the bright flash and the shock wave. Even those who died soon after most often did so in silence. The book tells what those 6 were doing that morning, what happened when the atomic bomb exploded, and how they coped in the hours, days, weeks and months that followed. The final chapter returns 40 years later to follow up on the rest of their lives.

I've heard rave and almost reverential recommendations of this book and wondered if my thoughts would be changed by reading it. The text is mostly straightforward and seemingly neutral in its judgment; it reports that most Hiroshimans did not blame the US for the bomb, they just wanted to get on with their lives as best they could. It is not until the very end that it seems to take on an agenda, and while I found the initial part of the book fascinating and compelling, the follow-up chapter was disappointing. It isn't especially graphic or horrific in its account, but does portray what ordinary Japanese experienced, and made me feel grateful that such weapons have not been used since 1945.

I think this is a worthwhile book for anyone interested in the topic to read. But I would urge you *not* to read with the intent to fortify your views either way - the book's focus is much too narrow for such - but to read it for the history and human experience it reports. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
Classic text on the atomic bombing ( )
  BondLamberty | Jul 29, 2014 |
One of the best ways to understand the events of the past is through the eyes of individuals who experienced them. John Hersey does just that in this haunting, yet inspiring, novel about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945.

Hersey tracks the lives of about 8 individuals who survived the bombing. Although written in a reporter-type fashion, Hersey brings to life the horror that these people were exposed to, as well as highlights the overarching positive triumph of the human spirit when it is faced with ultimate darkness. As a history buff, I highly recommend this short book to anyone interested in the WWII era. It exposes the cultural beliefs of the 1940s while also cautions against the usage of such devastating technology. ( )
  rsplenda477 | Jul 27, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Herseyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asner, EdwardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biggs, Geoffrey, 1908-1971.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk.
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Hiroshima originally appeared in The New Yorker.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679721037, Mass Market Paperback)

When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, few could have anticipated its potential for devastation. Pulitzer prize-winning author John Hersey recorded the stories of Hiroshima residents shortly after the explosion and, in 1946, Hiroshima was published, giving the world first-hand accounts from people who had survived it. The words of Miss Sasaki, Dr. Fujii, Mrs. Nakamara, Father Kleinsorg, Dr. Sasaki, and the Reverend Tanimoto gave a face to the statistics that saturated the media and solicited an overwhelming public response. Whether you believe the bomb made the difference in the war or that it should never have been dropped, "Hiroshima" is a must read for all of us who live in the shadow of armed conflict.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:47 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118437X, 0141041862

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