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Hiroshima by John Hersey

Hiroshima (original 1946; edition 1989)

by John Hersey

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4,021671,272 (4.03)131
Authors:John Hersey
Info:Vintage Books; Random House (1989), Edition: 49th printing, Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Hiroshima by John Hersey (1946)


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The impact of Hershey's reportage in the aftermath of Japan's 1945 surrender has only grown with each tri I take to Japan and each attempt by policy makers to revive the concept of a nuclear deterrent. ( )
  nmele | Jun 16, 2017 |
John Hersey's Hiroshima recounts the lives of six survivors of the atomic bombing on 6 August 1945. His matter-of-fact reporting is as powerful now as it was when it first appeared in The New Yorker in 1946. Hershey humanizes an event so easily condensed into statistics (100,000 dead) and forces his American audience to wrestle with the implications of the terrible power the U.S. unleashed at the end of World War II. This early account of the atomic age should be read and re-read until nuclear weapons no longer menace humanity. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Mar 23, 2017 |
I discovered The Saturday Review of Literature in the early seventies, after reading an article about Norman Cousins, the then editor. About a decade later, the magazine ceased publication. The second thing which struck me was a blurb on John Hersey’s Hiroshima: “Everyone able to read should read it.” The early seventies were the days of antiwar rallies, and calls to ban nuclear weapons. Of course I had heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and all the justifications for using the atomic bomb in 1945 as a way to end World War II quickly and save many millions of military and civilian lives. John Hersey’s work really opened my eyes to the horrors of nuclear weapons.

The original history was updated about four decades later to show the long term effects of the bomb. Hersey tells the story through the memoirs of six civilians who were in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 AM when the bomb exploded. The curious thing is the completely random steps these individuals had taken which took them out of the direct effects of the blast.

Hersey wrote, “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 guess. At that same moment, Dr. Masakazu Fuijii was settling down to read the Osaka Asahi on the porch of his private hospital, […]; Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a tailor’s widow, stood by the window of her kitchen, watching a neighbor tearing down his house because it lay in the path of an air-raid-defense fire lane; Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German priest of the Society of Jesus, reclined in his underwear on a cot on the top floor of his order’s three-story mission house, […]; Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, a young member of the surgical staff of the city’s large, modern Red Cross Hospital, walked along one of the hospital corridors with a blood specimen […]; and the Revernd Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, pastor of the Hiroshima Methodist Church, paused at the door of a rich man’s house in Koi, the city’s western suburb, and prepared to unload a handcart full of things he had evacuated from the town in fair of the massive B-29 [bomber] raid which everyone expected Hiroshima to suffer” (3-4). These six individuals lived to describe the aftermath of the explosion.

At first, they all thought a bomb had hit close to their location, but when they emerged from the wreckage, the amount of destruction was beyond imagination. As time passed and those who had lived through the terror, did not want to refer to themselves as “survivors” in fear of causing some slight insult to the victims. Instead, they referred to themselves as “hibakusha” or literally, “explosion-affected persons” (92). The “hibakusha” struggled for years to hold together what remained off their families, friends, and their own lives. For example, it wasn’t until 1951 that Mrs. Nakamura was able to move into a new house. Dr. Sasaki spent the next five years removing ugly keloid scars from residents of the city. Of course, as long term effects of the explosion began to surface, the full extent of the horrors of nuclear war emerged.

Yet today, we live on the brink of nuclear annihilation. Nations struggle to build nuclear weapons. Some call for using these weapons to further religious, political, or economic interests. As is the case in so many examples of war, some have forgotten the lessons of history. The Saturday Review was correct: “Everyone able to read [John Hersey’s book] should read it. 5 stars.

--Jim, 12/6/16 ( )
  rmckeown | Jan 7, 2017 |
A classic report on the Hiroshima bombing first published in the New Yorker in 1946 within a year of the attack. First Penguin edition was also in 1946, with further editions in 1958, 1966, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 (this edition) with further editions after that. For typography lovers the text was set in Linotype Pilgrim. ( )
  Indra_Sinha | Dec 15, 2016 |
Reread this classic; shows human effects of 1945 nuclear event. Seen through the eyes of several survivors, it leaves to the imagination many questions. First published in 1946, this edition includes a 1989 update. As a high school student, I remember "analyzing" this book--without a lifetime's experience, that made no sense. Now, it does. ( )
  buffalogr | Jul 16, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Herseyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Asner, EdwardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biggs, GeoffreyCover 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:36 -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)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118437X, 0141041862

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