Hiroshima

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Aug 12, 1985 - History - 208 pages
6 Reviews
Hiroshima is the story of six human beings who lived through the greatest single manmade disaster in history. With what Bruce Bliven called "the simplicity of genius," John Hersey tells what these six -- a clerk, a widowed seamstress, a physician, a Methodist minister, a young surgeon, and a German Catholic priest -- were doing at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, when Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a city. Then he follows the course of their lives hour by hour, day by day.

The New Yorker of August 31, 1946, devoted all its space to this story. The immediate repercussions were vast: newspapers here and abroad reprinted it; during evening half-hours it was read over the network of the American Broadcasting Company; leading editorials were devoted to it in uncounted newspapers.

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 -- the variety of ways in which they responded to the past and went on with their lives -- is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima.

"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. At that same moment, Dr. Masakazu Fujii was settling down crosslegged to read the Osaka Asahi on the porch of his private hospital, overhanging one of the seven deltaic rivers which divide Hiroshima; 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, reading a Jesuit magazine, Stimmen der Zeit; 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 for a Wassermann test in his hand; and the Reverend 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 town..."

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User Review  - english student - Borders

Hiroshima, population of about 250,000, was bombed by the United States, killing nearly 100,000 people and injuring 100,000 more. Through Hersey’s book, he traces the lives of six survivors: Miss ... Read full review

Review: Hiroshima

User Review  - Wendy - Goodreads

Personalizes a horror that I fear would otherwise remain a bit too epic for most to comprehend, both at the time it was published and now, many decades later. This is really great journalism. Read full review

Contents

A Noiseless Flash
3
The Fire
24
Details Are Being Investigated
56
Copyright

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About the author (1985)

John Hersey was born in Tientsin, China on June 17, 1914 where he lived until 1925 when his family went back to the United States. Hersey worked as a journalist and war correspondent during World War II for Time Magazine and became well known from those writings on the war. He was Master at Pierson College at Yale from 1965 to 1970 and spent the following year as Writer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome. He was a past President of the Authors League of America and was elected by the membership of the American Academy of Arms and Letters to be their chancellor. Hersey's first novel was "A Bell for Adano," which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945. The following year he wrote "Hiroshima," which was an account of nuclear devastation and human suffering. Hersey was outspoken against the bombing, leading the fight to reclaim humanity, and spoke out against the nuclear arms race. Hersey was also interested and involved in American public education and he published "The Child Buyer" in 1960. "Key West Tales" was published in 1993. Hersey retired from Yale University and lived between Key West, Florida and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. On March 24, 1993, John Hersey died at his home in Key West leaving behind his wife Barbara, five children and six grandchildren.