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John Richard Hersey (1914-1993), a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and Mew Journalist. A 36-member panel under the aegis of New York University's journalism department judged "Hiroshima" the finest piece of journalism of the 20th century.
'The room was filled with a blinding light. She was paralysed by fear, fixed still in her chair for a long moment. Everything fell.' 2015 is the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima, when, on 6 August at 8.15am, an atomic bomb was dropped over the Japanese city, killing one hundred thousand men, women and children in its white fury. John Hersey's spare, devastating report on the attack was first published in the New Yorker in 1946. Written in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, it chronicles what happened through the eyes of six civilians who survived against the odds. It is a classic piece of journalism, and a defining moment of the nuclear age. 'One of the most powerful writers of modern times' Washington Post
The bombing of Hiroshima was one of the pivotal events of the twentieth century, yet this controversial question remains unresolved. At the time, General Dwight Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur, and chief of staff Admiral William Leahy all agreed that an atomic attack on Japanese cities was unnecessary. All of them believed that Japan had already been beaten and that the war would soon end. Was the bomb dropped to end the war more quickly? Or did it herald the start of the Cold War? In his probing new study, prizewinning historian Ronald Takaki explores these factors and more. He considers the cultural context of race - the ways in which stereotypes of the Japanese influenced public opinion and policymakers - and also probes the human dimension. Relying on top secret military reports, diaries, and personal letters, Takaki relates international policies to the individuals involved: Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, Secretary of State James Byrnes, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and others... but above all, Harry Truman.
This compelling autobiography tells the life story of famed manga artist Nakazawa Keiji. Born in Hiroshima in 1939, Nakazawa was six years old when on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the atomic bomb. His gritty and stunning account of the horrific aftermath is powerfully told through the eyes of a child who lost most of his family and neighbors. In eminently readable and beautifully translated prose, the narrative continues through the brutally difficult years immediately after the war, his art apprenticeship in Tokyo, his pioneering "atomic-bomb" manga, and the creation of Barefoot Gen, the classic graphic novel based on Nakazawa's experiences before, during, and after the bomb. This first English-language translation of Nakazawa's autobiography includes twenty pages of excerpts from Barefoot Gen to give readers who don't know the manga a taste of its power and scope. A recent interview with the author brings his life up to the present. His trenchant hostility to Japanese imperialism, the emperor and the emperor system, and U.S. policy adds important nuance to the debate over Hiroshima. Despite the grimness of his early life, Nakazawa never succumbs to pessimism or defeatism. His trademark optimism and activism shine through in this inspirational work.
HIROSHIMA By JOHN HERSEY PUBLISHERS NOTE ON Monday, August 6th, 1945, a new era in human history opened. After years of intensive research and experiment, conducted In their later stages mainly in America., by scientists of many nationalities, Japanese among them, the forces which hold together the con stituent particles of the atom had at last been harnessed to mans use: and on that day man used them. By a decision of the American military authorities, made, It Is said, in defiance of the protests of many of the scientists who had worked on the project, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. As a direct result, some 600,000 Japanese men, women and children were killed, and 100,000 injured and almost the whole of a great seaport, a city of 250,000 people, was destroyed by blast or by fire. As an indirect result, a few days later, Japan acknowledged defeat, and the Second World War came to an end. For many months little exact and reliable news about the details of the destruction wrought by the first atomic bomb reached Western readers. Millions of words were written, in Europe and American ex plaining the marvellous new powers that science had placed in mens hands describing the researches and experiments that had led up to this greatest of all disclosures of Natures secrets: discussing the problems for mans future which the new weapon raised. Argument waxed furious a to the ethics of the bomb: should the Japanese have received advance warning of Americas intention to use It ? Should a demonstration bomb have been exploded In the presence of enemy observers in some remote spot where it would do a minimum of damage, as a warning to the Japanese people, before its first serious use? But of the feelings and reactions of the people of Hiroshima to the bomb, nothing, or at least nothing that was not pure imagina tion, could be written for nothing was known. In May, 1946, The New Yorker sent John Hersey, journalist and author of A Bell for Adano, to the Far East to find out what had really happened at Hiroshima: to interview survivors of the catastrophe, to endeavour to describe what they had seen and felt and thought, what the destruction of their city, their lives and homes and hopes and friends, had meant to them in short, the cost of the bomb in terms of human suffering and reaction to suffering. He stayed in Japan for a month, gathering his own material with little, if any, help from the occupying authorities he obtained the stories from actual witnesses. The characters in his account are living individuals, not composite types. The story is their own story, told as far as possible in their own words. On August 31st, 1946, Herseys story was made public. For the first time in The New Yorkers career an issue appeared which, within the familiar covers, bearing for such covers are prepared long in advance picnic scene, carried no satire, no cartoonss no fiction, no verse or smart quips or shopping notes: nothing but its advertisement matter and Herseys 30,000 word story.
Three survivors of Hiroshima bear witness to the horrific event in prose and poetry
When President Harry Truman authorized the use of atomic weapons against Japan, he did so to end a bloody war that would have been bloodier still had the planned invasion of Japan proved necessary. Revisionists claim that Truman's real interest was a power play with the Soviet Union and that the Japanese would have surrendered even earlier had the retention of their imperial system been assured. Truman wanted the war to continue, they insist, in order to show off America's powerful new weapon. This anthology exposes revisionist fallacies about Truman's motives, the cost of an invasion, and the question of Japan's surrender. Essays by prominent military and diplomatic historians reveal the hollowness of revisionist claims, exposing the degree to which these agenda-driven scholars have manipulated the historical record to support their contentions. They show that, although some Japanese businessmen and minor officials indicated a willingness to negotiate peace, no one in a governmental decision-making capacity even suggested surrender. And although casualty estimates for an invasion vary considerably, the more authoritative approximations point to the very bloodbath that Truman sought to avoid. Volume editor Robert Maddox first examines the writings of revisionist Gar Alperovitz to expose the unscholarly methods Alperovitz employed to support his claims, then distinguished Japanese historian Sadao Asada reveals how difficult it was for his country's peace faction to prevail even after the bombs had been dropped. Other contributors point to continuing Japanese military buildups, analyze the revisionists' low casualty estimates for an invasion, reveal manipulations of the Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, and show how even the exhibit commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum hewed to the revisionist line. And a close reading of Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's acclaimed Racing the Enemy exposes many grave discrepancies between that recent revisionist text and its sources. The use of atomic bombs against Japan remains one of the most controversial issues in American history. Gathered in a single volume for the first time, these insightful readings take a major step toward settling that controversy by showing how insubstantial Hiroshima revisionism really is--and that sometimes history cannot proceed without decisive action, however regrettable.

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