Keiji Nakazawa, the author, is a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima. I saw him in the HBO documentary film, White Light / Black Rain. I'd heard of BKeiji Nakazawa, the author, is a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima. I saw him in the HBO documentary film, White Light / Black Rain. I'd heard of Barefoot Gen before, but had never read it. After listening to Nakazawa-san speak of his experience, I couldn't wait to read this manga.
The book did not disappoint. I expected to be, and I was, deeply moved by the plight of the victims of the bomb. The characters we meet are well-formed--representing groups of people (fanatical patriots, brainwashed citizens, outspoken folks who want to protest the war...) without being two-dimensional.
What I did not expect was the background of how people treated each other at that time. Gen's father does not think the was is righteous. After making a couple of comments to that effect, he is harassed by his neighbors as a traitor. The initial disagreements turn into harassment of the family members, the father's arrest, and the eldest son volunteering for the war to redeem his family's honor.
Poverty, starvation, separation of families, were the norm for life in Hiroshima before the bomb. They were victims of the war even before Little Boy fell.
It is disturbing reading, but I'm anxious to read the next books in the series. ...more
Follows our hero, Gen into the day after the bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.
Nakazawa-san sends Gen on various errands for his mother and others victimsFollows our hero, Gen into the day after the bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.
Nakazawa-san sends Gen on various errands for his mother and others victims he tried to help. This is a great method for the reader to get an idea of what's going on in Hiroshima and the surrounding areas.
Everything Gen sees is, of course, heart rending. Nakazawa-san doesn't sugar-coat anything here, and the book is based on his real-life experience. The semi-autobiographical Gen's desperate plight of looking for food, trying to find help and help others, is tragic, but Gen was one of the few lucky survivors.
Gen was practically unharmed by the blast itself, though he does show signs of apparently mild radiation poisoning in this volume. Though his spirit is stomped down again and again, Gen continues to rise up and get stronger, just like his father taught him. ...more
Gen's family suffers more hardships indicative of most Hiroshima bombing survivors.
In this volume, Gen learns that people outside Hiroshima are not sGen's family suffers more hardships indicative of most Hiroshima bombing survivors.
In this volume, Gen learns that people outside Hiroshima are not sympathetic to survivors. On the contrary, most are cruel and heartless.
Sorrow is heaped on Gen and his family, and while he sometimes wants to break down, he remains strong. At the end of the book, Gen is once again reminded of his father's words, "You boys must grow up just like this wheat. No matter how often you get stepped on, keep growing straight and tall...No matter how hard life gets, don't give up. Push your way up out of the ground and grow big and strong!"
Even in the face of horrific surroundings, starvation, and abuse, Gen recalls those words and takes them to heart.
Another moving, beautifully written volume in the series....more
Japan surrenders and horror stories about the American soldiers' arrival spread. This serves to add more stress and fear to Gen's already harrowing exJapan surrenders and horror stories about the American soldiers' arrival spread. This serves to add more stress and fear to Gen's already harrowing existence in post-bomb Hiroshima.
Although not much time has passed from the time the bomb was dropped to the time taking place in this volume, it still seems as though Gen has lived a lifetime.
Gen suffers at the hands of black marketeers, unsympathetic people who were not harmed by the bomb, and classmates at the newly organized elementary school. He also discovers that although the Americans are frightening, they aren't all bad. Gen and other kids learn to say, Starving! Starving! in English. The Americans toss gum and candy to them, the likes of which they never knew existed.
Through Gen's eyes, we learn how different people reacted to the American Occupation, and what it meant to be Japanese in their occupied country.
Survivors no longer have to deal with so many corpses in the area, but the injured and radiation poisoned still need care. This, in the face of little food and medicine, poor or no housing, and continued prejudice and fear from unaffected people.
Once again Gen faces nigh-insurmountable adversity, again keeping his spirit high in the end.
These books are a rare and accessible window to the Japanese experience in Hiroshima. ...more
What a wonderful, exciting, hilarious, meaty book!
Without covering the plot lines over again here, I enjoyed the back-and-forth between WWII and modeWhat a wonderful, exciting, hilarious, meaty book!
Without covering the plot lines over again here, I enjoyed the back-and-forth between WWII and modern times. Stephenson handled the transitions flawlessly. The WWII action seemed authentic, from what I know, but told with a sort of "Catch-22" tone in the writing. Fabulous. Stephenson is truly an artist.
It was great to sink my teeth into this 900+ page tome. The story gave me pause to reflect on the War, what happened in the Philippines, and made me want to read more about that particular part of the War. This book has been classed as Sci-Fi (at least in my library), but it is properly Historical Fiction.
There was a goodly amount of math in the book, and math is my LEAST favorite thing. Even I could get through the math. Stephenson has the uncanny ability to use analogies to explain certain abstract equations and computations--so that I could actually get my head around them. I'm not saying I can now do advanced, abstract mathematics, but I could at least grasp the concepts he was trying to get across. Don't fear the math.
Cryptonomicon should be required reading for nerds, and recommended reading for non-nerds. 5 stars all the way--I can't wait to read it AGAIN!!...more
A fun YA steampunk adventure. It won't change your life, but it will entertain you, and the YA reader. Elements such a huge, living airships, giant stA fun YA steampunk adventure. It won't change your life, but it will entertain you, and the YA reader. Elements such a huge, living airships, giant steampunk death engines, a royal heir on the run, a girl masquerading as a boy in the British Air Service, made this an interesting, entertaining read. Set for a trilogy, I look forward to delving deeper into some mysteries begin in this fine first volume. ...more
This is more of a who-done-it taking place in during the Civil War, rather than a Civil War book which includes a mystery. That's not a problem howeveThis is more of a who-done-it taking place in during the Civil War, rather than a Civil War book which includes a mystery. That's not a problem however, as the character studies are excellent, and spends much time analyzing what war does to a soldier...and what happens when that soldier comes home. Things may be done in war, with the excuse that it's a WAR...this book shows how that line is sometimes crossed. An enjoyable book for mystery fans and/or Civil War buffs. ...more
This book is worth picking up for the photos alone, if nothing else. Said photos are REAL. Which is to say, while they may have been "artistically" alThis book is worth picking up for the photos alone, if nothing else. Said photos are REAL. Which is to say, while they may have been "artistically" altered (many decades before Photoshop), the photos were not created or enhanced for this book. They are truly fascinating.
The story itself isn't a new idea, but there are surprises and twists which kept me reading. It's equal parts coming-of-age, time travel, and a look at the treatment of children who are "different." There is a sub-plot, of sorts, which deals with a vague evil presence. I didn't feel this sub-plot was fleshed out enough to add to the story.
This is a nice entertaining read with extremely compelling photographs. ...more