Letters from the End of the World: A Firsthand Account of the Bombing of Hiroshima

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Kodansha, 2001 - History - 198 pages
5 Reviews
A love story in the form of letters to the author's young wife, who died soon after the bombing of Hiroshima.

More than fifty years after the Second World War, the scars left by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima refuse to heal. This compelling account of one man's experience gives a human face to the events of August 6, 1945.

For a week after the bombing, the author, who was an assistant professor at Hiroshima University, wandered the decimated streets of the city, searching for his wife and his youngest son. He finally located them, but his wife died just days later. Grief-stricken, the author wrote her a series of letters over the next year outlining the things he had seen and heard during her last days on earth. In 1948, the letters became the first eyewitness account of an atomic bombing ever published.

This powerful record shows how one family's future was altered in an instant. Comprised of correspondence, diary entries and drawings, Letters from the End of the World presents the events surrounding the close of World War II in terms so personal they will not soon be forgotten.

"By the time we reach the account of Fumiyo's horrifying death on Aug. 20, which we see from both Ogura's perspective and that of his 11-year-old daugther, Kazuko, who kept a diary, the sadness and anger that have been building up through the whole book are almost unbearable. . . . The uncompromising anger toward Japan's military leaders that is expressed throughout is striking and unusual."
Elizabeth Ward, The Japan Times

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Review: Letters from the End of the World: A Firsthand Account of the Bombing of Hiroshima

User Review  - Choonyeefan - Goodreads

Lugubrious! It almost moved me to tears. A true personal account of how life was immediately before and after the bombing. You have to read this book. Read full review

Review: Letters from the End of the World: A Firsthand Account of the Bombing of Hiroshima

User Review  - Wanda Kasmarzyk - Goodreads

While I was in Hiroshima on vacation I saw firsthand how devastated the Atomic Bomb was. This is a true account of the day of the A-bomb and what happened. Fascinating book. Read full review

References to this book

About the author (2001)


TOYOFUMI OGURA was born in 1899 in Chiba Prefecture. He taught history at Hiroshima University for nearly twenty years, from 1945 through his mandatory retirement in 1963, and was then appointed an honorary professor. His books include critical works on the well-known poet and children's author Kenji Miyazawa and a study of folk belief in the ancient historical figure Prince Shotoku. He died in 1996.

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