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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  65,972 ratings  ·  3,461 reviews
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). ...more
Paperback, Reprint, 152 pages
Published March 4th 1989 by Vintage (first published 1946)
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Jypsel the Trailblazer YES! I just taught this to my 8th graders and it was a very important read for them. It really opens their eyes to what humanity is capable of, no mat…moreYES! I just taught this to my 8th graders and it was a very important read for them. It really opens their eyes to what humanity is capable of, no matter what your patriotic or political allegiance. (less)
Tony Hersey himself published "Hiroshima: The Aftermath. Survivors’ stories."
in the July 15, 1985 issue of The New Yorker Magazine (the same magazine that …more
Hersey himself published "Hiroshima: The Aftermath. Survivors’ stories."
in the July 15, 1985 issue of The New Yorker Magazine (the same magazine that published his watershed "Hiroshima" in the Aug. 24, 1946 issue).

The magazine has kindly placed the entire text of this follow-up online (together with Hersey's original 1946 reporting):

Also see:

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Paquita Maria Sanchez
This book will:

1) Make you cry. A lot. You will cry on your cigarette break at work so that when you go back to your desk, your coworker will see your ragged eyes and think you just got dumped over the phone or found out your cat died. No, you were just reading about something roughly one googolplex worse, but you won't even bother trying to explain because your coworker couldn't give two shits about world history, and hadn't even heard about the 2011 mass murder in Oslo until you explained it t
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“My God, what have we done?” Robert Lewis, the pilot

Hiroshima after the bombing

On August 6 1945 a quiet hysteria buzzed through Hiroshima. The Americans had been firebombing Japan for weeks, and it was one of only two key cities they had not yet hit. "A rumour was going around that the Americans were saving something special for the city.” The citizens heard the bombing alarm at 7am, which wasn‘t unusual, or indicating a severe attack. However the "All clear" sounded at 8am and people relaxed, s
Diane S ☔
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It seems almost indecent to put a rating on this book, I feel as if I am giving all these poor people's horrific suffering an excellent. Yet this is a very powerful book, told in a matter of fact, reporting tone and it is an account that puts a human face to this devastation. By following certain survivors we come to see and in my case to care greatly about these poor people. How much suffering and horror this bomb caused, on innocent people at the mercy of their emperor's decisions. People like ...more
Jason Koivu
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, non-fiction


Utterly shame-enducing.

In Hiroshima Hersey has cobbled together the tales of a handful of survivors and woven them effortlessly through his narrative to create a spellbinding history lesson not to be forgotten. The engrossing eye-witness stories are horrifying, too real, and charged with emotion and drama without the least bit of induced melodrama. There's no need. Hiroshima shows that truth is far more terrible than fiction.
Timothy Miyahara
Let me start with a preambular warning: do NOT buy the Amazon kindle edition which is missing Chapter 5. This is the eBook edition published by Pickle Partners (ASIN B00QU4BBTY). Chapter 5 is the John Hersey follow up 40 years later telling the story of the main characters after the original magazine article in 1946. The "illustrated" kindle edition does not disclose that it includes only the 1946 magazine article text. Read a physical edition published after 1989 for a more complete picture.
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
I went old school with this one: I printed out the original version of John Hersey's article from The New Yorker's Web site so I could read it in its original three-columns-per-page format and surrounded by advertisements for Chesterfield cigarettes, U.S. Savings Bonds, Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey, Rosalind Russell in RKO's "Sister Kenny," Bell System Overseas Telephone Service, and Knox the Hatter, on Fifth Avenue at Fortieth Street.

This is the editorial note that ran with Hersey's story
Steven Godin
On August 6th, 1945, the people of Hiroshima will witness the darkest of days, as at 8.15am a vision of hell on earth shall arrive on their doorsteps, the atomic bomb. 100,000 men, women and children lost their lives with countless more seriously burned, injured and mentally scared for life. This is the story of six survivors including doctors, priests and parents who show great courage, strength and determination at a time of complete and utter chaos to help whose in need. Using a simple prose ...more
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was 2 when Chernobyl blew up, it was a perfect sunny day (or so I'm told). The airborne nuclear waste was making its way through Poland over to Norway. My parents were pruning blackberry bushes, getting weeds out from between the carrots and the parsnips, blissfully unaware of the horrors going on few hundred km to the east. Little Kasia was helping them out pulling out baby beets with a great enthusiasm. Basking in the toxic sun. The reactor collapse was made public days after the explosion a ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Do not work primarily for money; do your duty to patients first and let the money follow; our life is short, we don't live twice; the whirlwind will pick up the leaves and spin them, but then it will drop them and they will form a pile.”

Stunning Book+ report on Atomic Bomb explosion by US on Japan during WWII.
Special piece of writing and all data's near-about the Facts.
It expressed frantically , by different perceptions.
Reveals by various person was remained alive and their efforts made in tha
Jon Nakapalau
It is not often that I find myself unable to convey the magnitude of importance a book has - but that is exactly where I am at when trying to describe this book. Read it - look at our world - try to get others to read it - hopefully a critical mass of common sense will implode in our collective hearts.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A deferential account of the Hiroshima bombing. It is told through the lives of six people – two Christian priests, two doctors, a mother of three and a clerk. It is not sensational at all and people who have been numbed by watching too many zombie movies might not enjoy it. John Hershey gives us a short account of the lives of each character and what they were doing on the morning that the bomb hit. These short accounts tell us what Japanese society was like during the war. The Christian priest ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Father Kleinsorge ran inside the mission house and scrambled up the stairs, which were awry and piled with plaster and lathing, and called to Mr. Fukai from the doorway of his room.

Mr. Fukai, a very short man of about fifty, turned around slowly, with a queer look, and said, “Leave me here.”

Father Kleinsorge went info the room and took Mr. Fukai by the collar of his coat and said, “Come with me or you’ll die.”

Mr. Fukai said, “Leave me here to die.”

Toward the end of World War II, the Axis powers
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-ww2, history
I always wondered if those atomic bombs had not been dropped, would that have increased the chances some other president or other country might have dropped one later in history? Did they serve as a deterrent once everyone witnessed the results?

Or this question: If there were survivors, why not practice hiding under your desk? Maybe it could save your life?

Or this: If you were a soldier fighting the Japanese, would you want the bombs dropped?

The Japanese avoided using the word "survivors." In
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first thing the reader learns about the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August of 1945 is that no one on the ground saw it coming. It fell from a single B-29 aircraft on a clear day, which Hiroshima's inhabitants had assumed was a reconnaissance or weather plane. In fact, the all-clear had been sounded shortly before the attack. The second thing to know is that unimportant, even trivial factors determined who survived the attack, and who didn't. Access to medical care and clean water played a ...more
Micah Cummins
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-world-war
"Hiroshima" by American journalist and pioneer of the "New Journalism" movement, John Hersey, is an incredibly moving story of six Japanese citizens who survived the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and the aftermath of the single most horrific explosion in human history. Hersey's work brings to light the personal horror of an event that must never be forgotten, in order to keep it from happening again. Through the six lives of "Hiroshima," a clerk, a physician, a Methodist minister, a German Cathol ...more
Most painful and most disturbing even after seventy years.

KOJIRI Tsutomu; Shrine gate and the Hiroshima Dome.
[Image taken from Children of the Atomic Bomb; used without permission]
(see status updates for more images)
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Important" is the first word that comes to mind. Everyone should occasionally read books that remind us of the human costs of war, as it's easy to grow complacent. ...more
Jr Bacdayan
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We've all heard about the Atomic bomb, whether it's the Scientific or Military point of view, it's always referred to as something majestic and always entails awe and power. John Hersey's journalistic master-piece uses a different approach, it uses the humanistic view towards the use of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Mr. Hersey writes it in a matter-of-fact way. Cold, detached, and straight to the point. He doesn't add drama or enhances the material, the blunt truth is enough to make it affecting ...more
Diane in Australia
Very good book where the author follows the lives of several survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima.

4 Stars = It gave me much food for thought.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, japan
3.75 stars

Since many years ago I've seen this book on display in various bookstores in Bangkok and abroad but I didn't have any motive to buy a copy to read. Till I read some books written as more and more voices that reflect the atomic bomb aftermath in Hiroshima in 1945 before the end of World War II. For example, The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath (Grove Press, 1985) edited by Kenzaburo Oe, Hiroshima Diary (The University of North Carolina Press, 1995) by Michihiko Hachi
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book had its disturbing moments but it was very exciting.The book described the experience that these six survivors had after the atomic bomb was dropped on the city,Hiroshima. Jhon Hersey included even the smallest but most dramatic details from their stories. Not just researching but to acctually talk to the people who witness this horrible event was brilliant. It is a serious and definitly captivating book.I truly reccomend this book to those who enjoy exciting world histroy book.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I suspect that most people have at some point in their lives contemplated the implications of their hometown being hit by a nuclear weapon. There are only two cities on earth that have actually had to confront that terrifying experience: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This book is an account of the bombing of Hiroshima from six survivors, as well as a retrospective on their lives published four decades later. It is truly a vision of a world transformed into hell. I will not get into the pornographic de ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Today's world leaders, especially Trump, should read this book. In the case of Trump, who by his own reporting doesn't read, maybe he could have someone else read it for him and break it down point by point into twitter style updates.

Just saying...Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Read this with my soon to be 9th grader and found it worthwhile as it is a great book to provoke discussion of the real costs of war, human and otherwise, as well as the complex moral issues
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The horrifying testimonies of six civilians in the days after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, included are an impressive set of pictures, particularly chilling are the before and after photos. A must read.
Paul Haspel
At Hiroshima, the first use of the atomic bomb as a weapon of war took place. The world changed forever at 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, when the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress bomber, dropped the 20-kiloton bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima. And in one of the most important books ever written, John Hersey chronicles exactly what the use of an atomic bomb does to cities and their people. His book Hiroshima (1946) may be an important reason why nuclear bombs have not been used as a weapon of war since ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it
This is one of those books I meant to read years ago but never found the time, even considering the short length. I knew the book began as an article Hersey published in The New Yorker, roughly one year after the events described. I am surprised this book did not effect me more. Not that I planned to be lost in newly discovered grief but I am afraid that the knowledge I already possessed about this period deadened my reaction to Hersey's words. I have read more terrifying accounts but I am sure ...more
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, nonfiction
I read this very quietly. And I don’t mean by isolating myself in a silent room. Quietly as in with careful consideration of the words Hersey uses. It’s a book that reads very serenely. Isn’t that strange and awful?

Hiroshima covers the stories of six survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on 6th August, 1945. This is one of those brief covered topics in school that is difficult to talk about even 70 years after the event. Difficult because it shouldn’t be so hard to separate th
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it

Incredibly informative, horrifying and necessary
Dhanaraj Rajan
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
On 6th August, 1945 the first ever Atomic bomb was dropped on humanity. The location was Hiroshima in Japan. A lively city that was touted to be the capital of Japan at the fall of Tokyo in World War II was in a moment turned into a dead city with nothing but ruins.

A Sample Picture:


The devastation conceded some the existence of some 'survivors' - the Japanese government did not want to use the word survivors for it was in a way rendering disrespect to those who had perished. So the word used was
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The writer takes a strictly journalistic and impersonal approach to his reporting on the bombing of Hiroshima. This is meant to leave readers to form their own conclusions on the ethical aspects of this disaster. Perhaps, at the time this story was published in its entirety by the New Yorker, there was little knowledge or comprehension in the West about the horrible effects of this "greatest achievement of organized science in history" (excerpt from statement by US President Harry Truman who ord ...more
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John Richard Hersey was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so-called New Journalism, in which storytelling devices of the novel are fused with non-fiction reportage. Hersey's account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was adjudged the finest piece of journalism of the 20th century by a 36-member ...more

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