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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).

152 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1946

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About the author

John Hersey

103 books519 followers
John Richard Hersey, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer, earliest practiced the "new journalism," which fuses storytelling devices of the novel with nonfiction reportage. A 36-member panel under the aegis of journalism department of New York University adjudged account of Hersey of the aftermath of the atomic bomb, dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, as the finest piece of journalism of the 20th century.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,273 reviews
Profile Image for Swrp.
665 reviews
October 17, 2021
August 6, 1945.

On Hiroshima Day, wishing for all of us, a life filled with peace, empathy and compassion.

John Hersey's Hiroshima is an incredible first-hand account of the experience of six fortunate survivors of the terrible event that happened on Monday, August 6, 1945, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the American military. This book provides a vivid description of the events and happenings, through the eyes and memory of these survivors, few hours before and up to few weeks after the tragic event.

As noted in the introduction, more than 100,000 Japanese men, women and children were killed because of the bombing.
Profile Image for Pakinam Mahmoud.
755 reviews2,949 followers
May 29, 2023
"ليس هناك طريقة مشرفة للقتل ،ولا طرق لطيفة للتدمير ولا يوجد خير فى الحروب إلا نهايتها...
فى الحرب للأسف تصمت القوانين.."
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,738 reviews14.1k followers
March 27, 2014
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 you and I just trying to live their lives, feed their children, take care of their families. Not knowing what happened, what type of new weapon caused this total devastation.

A young doctor, one of the few available in the immediate aftermath, who tries to take care of those he can with very few supplies and with only one hour of sleep in three days. Another man who brings water to those who need it and tries to save as many as he can. A young woman holding a dead baby for over four days, waiting for her husband to be found so he can say goodbye. So much anguish, so much heartbreak.

My husband's uncle was the load master for the Enola Gay, the bomber for this terrible act. He suffered from depression for the rest of his life. Why do these terrible things happen and why do they still continue today?
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
4,934 reviews687 followers
May 24, 2023
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.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,228 followers
December 19, 2012


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.
Profile Image for Daniel.
203 reviews
August 26, 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 in the Aug. 31, 1946, issue of The New Yorker:
The New Yorker this week devotes its entire editorial space to an article on the almost complete obliteration of a city by one atomic bomb, and what happened to the people of that city. It does so in the conviction that few of us have yet comprehended the all but incredible destructive power of this weapon, and that everyone might well take time to consider the terrible implications of its use.

Hersey's book-length article focuses primarily on six victims of the bombing -- Miss Toshiko Sasaki, Dr. Masakazu Fujii, Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamara, Father William Kleinsorge, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki and the Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto -- tracking their lives from the morning of the bombing through the months of its aftermath. It's a masterful piece of journalism, and of a type little seen anymore. The article has almost no attribution and few quotes. Rather, it uses a straightforward narrative style, telling the story as it happened, and the reader simply has to trust that Hersey did the footwork needed to compose his piece. And it's obvious he did.

Hersey gives almost no information about the U.S. decision to bomb Hiroshima or the larger context of World War II, but rather focuses solely on how the bombing and its aftermath affected the city's people. The book is stronger as a result, showing the full range of horrors caused by the dropping of an atomic bomb -- in particular on six people we come to know and care about deeply.

It speaks to Hersey's talents as a writer that, despite the tragic subject matter and the physical and emotional turmoils he recounts, we the readers don't want the book to end, because that means leaving Miss Sasaki, Dr. Fujii, Mrs. Nakamura, Father Kleinsorge, Dr. Sasaki (no relation to Miss Sasaki) and the Reverend Tanimoto behind. We want to stay with them, and make sure they're able to build new lives for themselves.

The book's last paragraph -- a school essay written by Toshio Nakamura, who was 10 years old when the bomb was dropped -- is particularly heartbreaking, and serves as a fitting coda for Hersey's piece. It's short enough to quote here, but really needs to be read in context. It's the perfect ending to an important, stirring work of journalism. The entire book is highly recommended for all readers.
Profile Image for Timothy Miyahara.
25 reviews22 followers
October 27, 2015
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.

After reading a note written by a German Jesuit priest who survived the atomic bomb at Hiroshima, John Hersey located him and was introduced to five other survivors and documented their stories. When I first read the book, I found the story moving, shocking and disturbing. The vivid depictions of the survivors and their struggle to live through the next few days are eye-openers. The new chapter added 40 years later provides some closure to the story of their lives.

The prose is simple yet the reader is able to get a good grasp on events and environment. John Hersey wrote Hiroshima in a neutral tone and style. He told interviewer Steve Rothman, "The flat style was deliberate and I still think I was right to adopt it. A high literary manner, or a show of passion, would have brought me into the story as a mediator. I wanted to avoid such mediation, so the reader's experience would be as direct as possible."

The New Yorker magazine originally intended to serial publish the story, but made an unprecedented decision to devote the entire issue to John Hersey's story. When the article was first published it sold out within hours. People were hawking the magazine for up to $20 (a great sum in those days) and the publisher was unable to fulfill Albert Einstein's order of 1000 copies.

The issue of the magazine was prepared in great secrecy, even the clerks and staff of The New Yorker magazine itself were not let in on the secret, and the weekly proofs for publication were seen only by the editors. Part of the reason was the subject. John Hersey could not actively seek interviewees in Hiroshima since the atomic bomb's aftereffects were heavily censored by the U.S. Army of Occupation in 1946. Newspapers in Japan were not allowed to mention the atomic bombs and the survivors, and even poetry mentioning the events was illegal. Attempts by the Nippon Times to publish Hersey's article in Japan were blocked in 1946, but copies of the book in English surreptitiously made their way to Tokyo in 1947. It was eventually allowed to be published there in 1948.

Many critics on sites like Amazon complain Hiroshima does not give the reasons for the U.S. employing the atomic bombs and so is anti-American. Hersey's purpose was not to delve into the argument of whether the bombs should have been used, but to report on its effects and the stories of the survivors. This book was originally intended as a long magazine article and it did not have the space to cover all arguments and nuances. The debate of whether the bombs should or should not have been used really didn't exist when Hersey wrote Hiroshima in 1946. There was no question about using the atomic bombs. When the bombs were dropped, America and her allies were in the midst of a total war with Japan, an embrace of death that neither belligerent was willing or could afford to relax. The horrors and struggles of war were still fresh in everyone's minds. This was a new horror, the face of nuclear war to which Americans were vastly ignorant until John Hersey made the world aware.

I also read complaints at Amazon that the article was unbalanced because Hersey did not list Japan’s war crimes, especially the Nanking Massacre, or that because of these war crimes the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki got what they deserved. These arguments are specious at best and immoral at worst. There can be no doubt the Japanese military and the Japanese government were responsible for many war crimes, perhaps even on a greater scale than Nazi Germany. The Nanking Massacre, the Bataan Death March, the Laha Massacre, and the Sandakan Death March to list but a few. The victims of man's inhumanity to man, whether they died in the bombing of Rotterdam, the Holocaust, the Nanking Massacre, the Bismarck Sea incident, the Coventry Blitz, the firebombing of Dresden, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the Malmedy Massacre - few, if any, of the victims deserved death. The people were all sons and daughters; some were husbands, wives, brothers or sisters. Each one was a human being with a name, hopes and dreams. Each has a story and should be respected and remembered.

War is savage and brutal, but one tragedy does not justify the next, and the killing of one prisoner or civilian does not justify the killing of another.

Every victim deserves to be remembered and have their story told.

Hiroshima gives a face to the victims of the atomic bombs. This is their story.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,385 reviews2,256 followers
May 25, 2022

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 reminiscent of such writers as Yasunari kawabata, John Hersey basically splits the book in two, firstly we have the immediate aftermath of events where widespread panic and confusion are placed on those who managed to survive and try to grasp just what is going on around them, and rather than go into too much detail regarding the actual deaths which were just horrific, Hersey mainly pays attention to those frantically looking for loved ones or those able enough to help. Into the second half the six individuals are looked at in more detail during the years following war and here it becomes very moving and life affirming to see the spirit and resolve they use to do good and make the most of their lives which almost bought a tear to my eye. If I could be granted just one wish, world peace would be the only thing on my mind, and today we need it more than ever as there doesn't seem to be a day that goes by without an atrocity taking place somewhere. Sadly that's just a distant dream but we must always live in hope. Love&peace.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
August 6, 2022
“In a city of two hundred and forty-five thousand, nearly a hundred thousand people had been killed or doomed at one blow; a hundred thousand more were hurt.”

“Of a hundred and fifty doctors in the city, sixty-five were already dead and most of the rest were wounded. Of 1,780 nurses, 1,654 were dead or too badly hurt to work. In the biggest hospital, that of the Red Cross, only six doctors out of thirty were able to function, and only ten nurses out of more than two hundred.”

“He was the only person making his way into the city; he met hundreds and hundreds who were fleeing, and every one of them seemed to be hurt in some way. The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands. Others, because of pain, held their arms up as if carrying something in both hands. Some were vomiting as they walked. Many were naked or in shreds of clothing. On some undressed bodies, the burns had made patterns—of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on the skin of some women (since white repelled the heat from the bomb and dark clothes absorbed it and conducted it to the skin), the shapes of flowers they had had on their kimonos. Many, although injured themselves, supported relatives who were worse off. Almost all had their heads bowed, looked straight ahead, were silent, and showed no expression whatsoever.”

Originally published in one long issue of The New Yorker August 1, 1946, a year after the bombing, Hiroshima added information in later editions. Little had been written about the bombing from the perspective of the human beings who were living in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, and so John Hersey wrote his tale from the perspective of six survivors, whose lives were also largely ruined by the catastrophe: Two doctors, a Protestant minister, a widowed seamstress, a young female factory worker and a German Catholic priest. It describes their mornings before the bomb was dropped, what happened to them during the bombing, and their time in recovery. That simple, and that sad.

“A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the survivors. They still wonder why they lived when so many others died. Each of them counts many small items of chance or volition a step taken in time, a decision to go indoors, catching one street-car instead of the next that spared him. And now each knows that in the act of survival he lived a dozen lives and saw more death than he ever thought he would see. At the time none of them knew anything.”

Hersey, born to missionaries in China, had been a war correspondent and novelist. In spare, mostly descriptive prose that somehow accentuates the horrors, he wrote a story that made the victims relatable to a world audience, and was not an explicitly political tale, though the US military worked hard to suppress the publication of the article in Japan. They didn’t want to encourage sympathy for an enemy that had, after all, attacked Pearl Harbor. They didn't want anyone questioning their tactics.

Hersey’s purpose was spiritual; he wanted to humanize the victims of war. And yet, he makes clear, in the years after the bombing that country after country tested bombs even as they do today. And yes, some scientists expressed shame and guilt over their involvement in the development of these weapons that caused not just immediate death for tens of thousands but also radiation sickness, birth defects, and generations of trauma.

US President Truman made the call to bomb Hiroshima, on the advice of the military, and don’t forget Nagasaki initially lost also nearly 60,00 lives. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist that led the development of what was called The Manhattan Project, bomb testing accomplished in part on American soil, at Los Alamos, New Mexico, only told Truman, via phone, “It worked!” Later he is famously said to have been more sober at the moment of the explosion:

“We waited until the blast had passed, walked out of the shelter and then it was extremely solemn. We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita: Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, he takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.'”

You can see him saying this speech on You Tube, and he looks drained, possibly even repentant. But years later Oppenheimer said he would not change a thing about what he had done. No regrets, finally, though he would in 1956 admit:

“Much has been said of the prospect that man, along with many other forms of life. . . would disappear as a species. In time, not a long time, that may come to be possible. What is more certain and more immediate is that we would lose much of our human inheritance, much that has made our civilization and our humanity. . . the threat of the apocalypse will be with us for a long time; the apocalypse may come.”

I read this book in high school--required reading--and i taught it several times when i myself became a high school teacher. Read it if you can. It is probably available for free online now. Read it on this anniversary of the bombing. So necessary.


Profile Image for Kasia.
76 reviews200 followers
December 14, 2009
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 and only because, in Sweden, at an another nuclear facility noticed increased radioactivity levels on their own clothes and figured out something nasty must have happened in the eastern block. Sneaky communist governments with their sneaky conspiracies! That's my own, little, nuclear story. Nothing in comparison to Hersey's Hiroshima. 

Because Hiroshima has pounded me into the ground. Bodies evaporated on spot, shadows of people in mid motion cast into stones. Hersey's second by second account of the bombing has a feel of Armagedon. The intricate burn patterns (you'd often recognise the lace flower patterns of their former clothing in their injuries) add absurdity to the situation. The radiation sickness, people puking out their insides, not knowing why. Utter confusion as to what actually happened. Miles of concrete city block obliterated with people still alive burried under it. No real help ever to come. Not with this level of destruction. And the book doesn't stop there, Hershey's aftermath is thorough. You get to hear about the consequences of the bombing. Both long and short term. It turns out nobody was left unaffected.

There's the poor government handling of the survivors. Hiroshima was pretty much left to tend to its own needs. Only years later a special health support system was introduced. There's the initial unwillingness of health professionals to provide help to Hiroshima victims. There's the sense of isolation, loss and depression hunting survivors in years to come. Because how do you live past an apocalypse?

It's an emotionally draining book, hard to get through, but very much worth the strain. Well written, well reached and very well thought out, it touches on all the important aspects of the bombing. I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Afaf Ammar.
889 reviews494 followers
April 19, 2020
عمل استثنائي يروي حكاية ستة ناجين من كارثة هيروشيما، وثّقها بسرد روائي الكاتب الصحفي جون هيرسي، عندما سافر بعد أقل من سنة من إلقاء القنبلة الذرية، وبعد أربعين سنة من نشر الفصول الأولى في الكتاب، زار هيرسي، هيروشيما لمعرفة أحوال الناجين الستة، وكيف مرت عليهم العقود الأربعة الطويلة التالية للكارثة... بتقديم وترجمة رائعة لعبد الله العجيري.

هنا الحكاية الإنسانية للآنسة توشيكو ساساكي، والدكتور ماساكازو فوجي، والسيدة هاتسويو ناكامورا، والأب الألماني فيلهلم كلينزوغر، والطبيب الشاب تيروفومي ساساكي، والقس كيوشي تانيموتو،
من لحظات ما قبل إلقاء القنبلة الذرية، واللحظة التي أضاءت فيها سماء هيروشيما بذاك البرق الصامت، وحتى كل لحظة من الأربعين سنة التي تلت الانفجار...
كل لحظة رعب، وخوف، وصدمة، وألم، واعياء،
كل لحظة عاشوها بذاكرة مثقلة بمشاهد الأيام والليالي المرعبة التي أعقبت الانفجار، وهم في سعي دائم لتناسيها دون سبيل للنسيان، ذكرتهم بها دائمًا آثارها التي بقوا يحملونها لعقود طويلة.
ورغم الأيام والليالي المرعبة ورغم الألم الرهيب الذي عاشوه، قدروا أن الله منحهم حياة جديدة عندما نجوا من الانفجار، فاختاروا أن يعبروا على أنقاض الألم، وأن يستمروا في الحياة، ولو بحياة شبه طبيعية، وبأمل جديد، رغم التوقعات المحبطة، وبحثوا عن كل ما بمقدوره أن يمدهم بالقوة اللازمة لمجابهة انهاك القنبلة الذرية، وعن أي شي يمكن أن يكون باعثًا على الحياة من مجرد الاستسلام السلبي.

كنت أعبر السطور ببطء لثقل الألم، وتقديرًا لأولئك الستة الذين نجوا ولكل ضحايا جريمة هيروشيما، ضحايا انعدام الإنسانية والأخلاق، كنت أشعر بأنفاسهم المتألمة، وكأنهم يروون حكايتهم بأنفسهم،
تلك الحكاية المؤلمة والملهمة في آنٍ واحد، التي أثبتوا فيها أن بمقدور الإنسان أن يعبر على أنقاض الألم، وأن يتناسى رغم استحالة النسيان، ويتمسك ببقايا حياته ليعبر بها إلى حياة جديدة حيث الأمل رغم الألم، وباصرار أضاء سماء هيروشيما بعد أربعين سنة من الانفجار، يلمع في عيون كل مَن نجا،
وفي عيون الآنسة توشيكو ساساكي، يوم قالت :

"لن أخوض بالحديث في أمور الماضي...
إنني أُفضِّل ألا ألتفت للوراء، وسأظل أتقدَّم نحو الأمام."

Profile Image for Hirdesh.
399 reviews88 followers
March 22, 2017
“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 that drastic and vital situation.

In end, it describes hows such nuclear devastation could lead to atmospheric as well human deparature if ever would be come in used in anyway.
Profile Image for Micah Cummins.
203 reviews187 followers
January 2, 2021
"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 Catholic priest, a seamstress, and a young surgeon, humanity seeps through every line. Highly recommend. Five stars.
Profile Image for Ali AlShewail.
200 reviews392 followers
May 27, 2020
أشد ما فيها رعبا أنها حقيقية.
لأي درجة يستطيع الإنسان أن يترك إنسانيته جانبا، ويصير وحشا!
Profile Image for Arnab Paul.
62 reviews108 followers
May 27, 2016
১৯৪৫ সালের ৬ অগাস্ট, সকাল সোয়া আটটায় পৃথিবীর প্রথম পারমাণবিক বোমাটি বিস্ফোরিত হল জাপানের হিরোশিমা শহরে। মানুষজনকে নিরাপদে মেরে ফেলার সহজতম উপায় আর কী হতে পারে? বোমা বিস্ফোরণের কেন্দ্রে ৬০০০ ডিগ্রি সেন্টিগ্রেড তাপমাত্রা ছিল। ৪ কিলোমিটার ব্যাসার্ধের সবকিছু ঝলসে যায়। মারা যায় লক্ষাধিক, যার ২৫% সাথে সাথে, ৫০% পরের কয়েকদিনে আর বাকিটুকু বছর গড়িয়ে।বিস্ফোরণের হাইপোসেন্টারের ৫০০ মিটারে কোন মানুষের চিহ্ন খুঁজে পাওয়া যায়নি, উবে যাবার আগে দেয়ালে কিছু ছায়ামূর্তি তৈরি হয়েছিল!
জন হারসে আমেরিকান সাংবাদিক, ১৯৪৬ সালে হিরোশিমা গিয়ে সারভাইবারদের বাস্তব অভিজ্ঞতা নিয়ে তৈরি করেছেন এই ঐতিহাসিক দলিল। ছয়জন মানুষের মুখ থেকে শোনা অভিজ্ঞতা নিয়ে বইটি।বাংলা একাডেমি ১৯৯৫ সালে,পারমাণবিক আক্রমণের ৫০ বছর পূর্তিতে এই বইটি অনুবাদ করে। অনুবাদক দীপা ইসলাম,চমৎকার সাবলীল অনুবাদ, আর কোথাও অনুবাদে ওনাকে চোখে পড়েনি। বইটা কিনেছি মিরপুর দশের হকার্স মার্কেট থেকে,চল্লিশ টাকায়। বইটি ওয়ার্ল্ড কনসার্ন ,বাংলাদেশ নামের কোন লাইব্রেরির। কোন দেউলিয়া পাঠক লাইব্রেরি থেকে পড়তে এনে বেচে দিয়েছেন।
বইটির শুরু হয় ঐদিন বোমা পড়ার ���ুহূর্তে কে কোথায় কী করছিলেন দিয়ে। সুস্থ,স্বাভাবিক ও গতিময় এক নগরীর পরবর্তী ইতিহাসটুকু স্রেফ নরকতূল্য। পলকের মধ্যে মানুষ এখন তার সহযাত্রীদের ভাগ্য পরিবর্তন করে দিতে পারে! স্ব-আরোপিত শ্রেষ্ঠত্বের কথাচর্চা করে আর কতো আত্মরতিতে ভোগা?
শহরবাসীর ধারণাও ছিলনা আণবিক বোমার প্রলয়ক্ষমতা সম্বন্ধে। বিস্ফোরণের পর কেউ কেউ ধারণা করল, আগে বিমান দিয়ে আমেরিকানরা গ্যাসোলিন ছড়িয়ে দিয়েছিল শহরজুড়ে,তাই এতো আগুন। কেউ বলল, এবোমা শুধু যেসব জায়গায় বৈদ্যুতিক সংযোগ আছে, সেখানেই বিস্ফোরিত হয়ে আগুন ধরায়। E=mc^2 এই দেখতে-নির্দোষ সমীকরণটির যে এত ক্ষমতা,কেউ ভাবতে পেরেছিল?

বোমা না মেরে কি উপায় ছিল?
একটু ফ্ল্যাশব্যাক করি।আমেরিকার সাথে জাপানের গোস্বা শুরু হয় যখন জাপান চিনের মাঞ্চুরিয়া দখল করে নেয়। জাপান বিপুল জনসংখ্যা, ভূমিকম্প-পীড়িত দেশ। এর অপর আবার প্রাকৃতিক সম্পদ নেই বললেই চলে। এমতাবস্থায়, দুর্বল রাজনৈতিক কাঠামোর বিপুলায়তন চিনকে দখল করাই এর সমাধান। এতো চিনে স্থাপিত আমেরিকান উপনিবেশের জন্যে এটা বিশাল হুমকি, অতএব বন্ধ করে দাও জাপানকের কাছে তেল বিক্রি। যেখানে জাপানের শতকরা ৮০ ভাগ তেলই আসে আমেরিকার কাছ থেকে। কাহিনিটা হল, রাজায় রাজায় যুদ্ধ,উলুখাগড়ার প্রাণান্ত।
দুই প্রবল সাম্রাজ্যবাদী দেশ নিজেদের শক্তিবৃদ্ধির জন্যে অন্য দেশ দখল,শোষণ করবে; প্রয়োজনে যুদ্ধ করবে,মানুষ মারবে। বাকি দেশের মানুষগুলো বাঁচলে আর মরলেই কী? ১৯৪৩ এর দিকে জাপানি আর্মি মায়ানমার-চট্টগ্রাম হয়ে কলকাতা আসার কথা ছিল সেই আক্রমণ ঠেকাতে ব্রিটিশ-বজ্জাতেরা বাংলার সব খাবারের সঞ্চয় কেড়ে নিল,তৈরি করল কৃত্রিম সংকট। বিভূতিবাবু এই দুর্ভিক্ষের কথা লিখলেন অশনি সংকেত-এ। ইহুদিদের ওপর নাজি হলোকাস্ট নিয়ে জার্মানিতে কালো পাথরের একটা স্তম্ভ আছে।সেখানে শুধু একটি কথা লেখা, আমাদের পূর্বপুরুষেরা ৯০ লক্ষ মানুষকে হত্যা করেছিল, আমরা যেন এই গ্লানি ভুলে না যাই! সরকারি হিসেবে, ‘৪৩ এর কোমল গণহত্যায় ৩০০০০০০ টি মানুষ না খেয়ে মারা গেল। কার তাতে কী?

ইম্পেরিয়াল জাপান আর্মি যুদ্ধের খারাপ অবস্থা দেখে হাতে নিয়েছে সুইসাইডাল মিশন 'কামিকাজি'। একজন বৈমানিক, একটা যুদ্ধজাহাজ এই নীতিতে বিমানে বোমা বেঁধে সোজা পতিত হত জাহাজে। প্রায় দেড় হাজার তরুণ বৈমানিককে এই মিশনে ঠেলে দিয়েছিল জাপান আর্মি। সফলতার সাথে আ���েরিকান নেভির প্রায় ৪০০ জাহাজ ধ্বংস করে এই কামিকাজি'র পাইলটেরা। জাপানের যুদ্ধ'বাজে'রা ভেবেছিল এই স্পিরিট দেখে অন্তত আমেরিকানরা পিছিয়ে যাবে। কিন্তু পার্ল হারবারে ২৫০০ মানুষকে আকস্মিক হত্যার ক্রোধ রুজভেল্ট ভোলেননি। জাপানি সামুরাইদের বিশ্বাস, মৃত্যু হবে পালকের মতো হালকা আর পরাজয়ের গ্লানি পাহাড়ের মতো ভারী। তাই নিশ্চিত হারও স্বীকার করতে নারাজ জাপান।এই স্পিরিট শুধু আর্মির নয়, জাপান-সম্রাট, আপামর জনগন,সবার! আত্মসমর্পণ দলিলে সাইন করতে সম্রাট হিরোহিতো,যুদ্ধের সর্বাধিনায়ক কেউ যায়নি। শেষমেষ গেল পররাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী। এই প্রলয়ঙ্করী বোমা আঘাত হানার পরেও অধিকাংশ জাপানি আপামর সাধারণ এতোটা মনোকষ্ট পায়নি,যতোটা আত্মসমর্পণের খবরে পেয়েছে। ‘’এত সহজে আমাদের সম্রাট হার স্বীকার করে বসলেন’!’, এমন ব্যথিত আর্তনাদও অনেক জাপানি সাধারণকে করতে শোনা গেছে! সামুরাই ঐতিহ্যমতে ,কোন সামুরাই তার গোষ্ঠীকে পরাজয়ের গ্লানি থেকে বাঁচাতে না পারলে তার পরিণতি ‘সেপ্পুকু’ : রীতিমতো অনুষ্ঠান করে ছুরি দিয়ে স্বহস্তে উদরকর্তন। এই স্পিরিটে বিশ্বাসী অনেক সৈনিকই মরণের পথ বেছে নেয়। উল্লেখ্য, হিরোহিত জাপানবাসীর উদ্দেশ্যে তার ঘোষণায় ‘আত্মসমর্পণ’ শব্দটি উচ্চারণই করেনি, তার বক্তব্যের মূলকথা, “অনেক তো হইল, বিশ্বশান্তির কথা ভেবে নাহয় আমরা এবার ক্ষান্ত দেই।”
জার্মানি তখন নিশ্চিত পরাজয় বরণের সম্মুখে। উইন্সটন চার্চিল তবুও জার্মান সিভিলিয়ানদের ওপর বোমাবর্ষণের অনুমোদন দিলেন। জাস্টিফিকেশনে বললেন, এতদিন কোন হিংস্র বর্বরকে সমর্থন দিয়ে এসেছে, এর উপলব্ধি জার্মানবাসীদের হওয়া দরকার।
একইকথা বার্লিন দখলের পর স্টালিনও বলেছিলেন। স্বদেশকে পুড়তে দেখে আসা সৈন্যদলকে একটু ধর্ষণ করা থেকে আমি ক্যাম্নে থামাই? নানকিং রেইপজাস্টিফিকেশনে জাপানের কথাগুলোও অভিন্ন ছিল।
এমন একটা যুদ্ধের অভিশাপ, শবের মিছিল, মানবতা হত্যার ফলাফল মানবজাতির ইতিহাসে মোছার নয়। এ শাপকাহিনির শেষকথাটা কি হতে পারে? এরিক মারিয়া রেমার্কের একটা উক্তি বোধহয় পুরোটার জবাব এক লাইনে দিয়ে দেয়;
" যুদ্ধের প্রথম বোমাটা ঠিক হৃদয়ের মধ্যিখানে পড়ে , গুঁড়িয়ে দেয় সমস্ত চেতনা আর মানবিক মূল্যবোধ।"

Profile Image for Chris.
735 reviews97 followers
May 1, 2023
A haunting record of 6 survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Written in 1946 a year after the first atomic bomb was dropped. It was originally written for the New Yorker and became the entire edition. This was the first time that the American public came to understand the totality of the human toll and devastation that resulted from the use of such a weapon. It was the catalyst for the movement to ban nuclear weapons.

It is said the presenting structure of the narrative was inspired by Hersey's reading of the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and according to online resources it is the earliest example of New Journalism in which storytelling techniques of fiction are adapted to nonfiction.
Profile Image for Omnia Elsayed.
162 reviews296 followers
February 22, 2022
" إن الإسلام دين واقعي نعم، لكنه مثالي في واقعيته، يسعى للارتفاع بالواقع إلى كماله الممكن "

كتاب يكشف عن لحظة واحدة فقط من اللقطات المرعبة التي تبين حجم ابتذال القيم التي تأسّس عليها الوعي الغربي..

وهذه اللحظة من أشد اللحظات رُعْبًا، لحظة اكتشاف الإنسان قدرته الفائقة على تدمير كل شئ؛ بل وتدمير وجوده تمامًا.

مقدمة المترجم ثرية جدًا جدًا جدًا وفي رأيي أفضل ما في الكتاب ❤️❤️

العمل مفترض أنه روائي ولكن ذا طابع صحفي أفقده الكثير من الأسس الروائية وإن لم يفقد نقل الشعور بالألم.

Profile Image for 7jane.
678 reviews256 followers
December 5, 2022
Quite interesting a way to approach the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the days, weeks, months, years, decades after. We follow the fates of 6 people who experienced and survived it; the Aftermath chapter was added 40 years after, to see how these people were doing (two had died, and I think the rest are also dead, now). Two of them have the same surname, but are not related; many of them were connected to each other, at least for a moment.

The six are:
Hatsuyo Nakamura, a poor tailor's widow with three children - watching her neighbor tear down his house...
Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, a member of the surgical staff in a Red Cross hospital - taking a blood specimen towards the lab...
Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge ('small worries'), later Makoto Takakura, a German Jesuit - reading a magazine in his cot after breakfast...
Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of a tin works factory - turning to chat with a girl next to her...
Dr. Masakazu Fujii, a doctor with a private clinic - reading a newspaper on the porch of his workplace, near a river...
Kiyoshi Tanemoto, a Methodist pastor - resting a bit after getting a handcart with a load to the front of a house after some travel through the city...

Then: a noiseless flash.. and a lot of misery for all afterwards.
The arrangement of things into chapters is done really well: first comes the immediate moments, then first hours after, then a few days, then next few months, and finally we get to learn how each character managed in the years and decades after, until about 1985-ish.

Small things matter in surviving, like where one was (inside-outside, part of the building, part of the room), what one did differently that morning, etc. People had been nervous about planes a long time already - when would be this city's turn; also tired from all the alarms, and scarcity of food...

And after, people go searching, helping, digging out others from their houses, walk towards safer places (some have rucksacks and suitcases ready). Fires start, partly from breakfast fires, and the winds and the odd rain don't help things. People are cut by glass, burned, vomiting, badly wounded in many ways. Some have little or not clothes on, burned or otherwise missing. In the hospitals, patient overload as thousands flock in, and the few remaining doctors have to go without sleep.

Some ugly sights: sick, burned horses standing on a bridge...the two young girls in the river; and some others near the riverbank who are to weak to move, and are not taken high enough when the tide rises... a group of soldiers behind certain park bushes, eyeless ('they must have looked up when...'), swollen-mouthed. All those people in the park, hurt, asking for water and dead the next day.

But slowly things start to change: Toshiko, carried through the city during one of the days following, sees plants start to rise up everywhere - all the weeds. True, the radiation sickness, and many other illnesses happen then and after, injures and keloids on skins remain and need to be fixed. Still, the study of what has happened begins, and so does the rebuilding. Some people have the means to bounce back almost immediately and get back to work, to life, while others need to work hard for a long time, and this also shows in the fates of the six people here.

Hatsuyo Nakamura is an example of the latter, while Drs. Sasaki and Fujii are of the former kind. Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge suffers from bad health for the rest of his life, but works hard; Toshiko also suffer from her leg injury the same way, but her life as a nun is very rewarding. Kiyoshi Tanemoto is one of the people who works for peace, and does many tours in America to raise awareness and money for it.

This is a touching, heartbreaking bunch of stories that take you close to the experience. And maybe make you think what would you have done if you were there. Would you have had the luck to survive the bombing, injury/illness possibility, and perhaps loss of people, things, your work? A very well done book that tells you much yet just the right amount of things, and doesn't dwell on the horrifying scenes, but also gives you hopeful and uplifting ones.
Profile Image for Jayakrishnan.
488 reviews168 followers
December 19, 2019
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 is terrified by the rampant xenophobia against Japanese Christians. An ageing doctor who owns his own nursing home is enjoying his idyllic life in an underwear when the bomb hits. He likes to drink whiskey in the evening with his friends. The mother of three watches as her neighbor surrenders his house for wartime activities at the behest of the government. All of them live in a constant state of anxiety because Hiroshima is one of the few places that have not been bombed. Their lives are characterized by the preparations for the impending bombing.

Hershey’s tone is measured, whether he is describing misery or bravery or hatred, almost as if he is being weighed down by some great responsibility. I was not entirely convinced by his writing style. I am sure this is because I am used to reading or watching sensationalistic accounts of events, because one of the reasons for reading Hiroshima is the same as why I read books about serial killers. A latent sadism. An eagerness to know what misery befell these victims. What was it like when the atom bomb hit?

In August 2018, Kerala, the state in which I was born was awash after the government was forced to open more than thirty dams when their levels crossed the danger limits. The state had received more than 40% rainfall than it usually did over a period of one month. We in Kochi (located in Southern Kerala), eagerly watched the news while waiting for the water to reach us. False rumors spread on social media. We stocked food (in the book, the Christian priest helps his friend and daughter move valuable stuff to another house in case there is a bombing). The restaurants began to close. The water supply was cut off after one of the pumping stations got flooded. My wife told me to gather certificates of my educational qualifications and proof of all our investments in a file (Mrs.Nakamura, the mother of three similarly writes down account numbers of her bond investments). I went out and bought two bottles of vodka because I feared they would shut down the liquor stores and I would be left dry during the Onam festival period. Between August 15th and 26th, when the floods were at their worst, the Kerala State Beverages Corporation sold alcohol worth $75 million. The water kept coming. Refugee camps were opened. I noticed the long queues and chaos in the camps when they showed pictures on TV (Hershey seems to suggest that the Japanese endured the bombing with great dignity. The Christian priest is struck by how there were no cries from the wounded people who had gathered in a park). We talked nervously about moving to a hotel if the water reached our street (India is not an ordered society like Japan). Relatives living in flooded regions sent terrifying pictures and videos of flooded ground floors and old folk on terraces.

I was scared. But there was also a sadistic aspect to this waiting for doom while being informed through social media about what it would be like. The videos of water taking the roads and cars were entertaining as long as they were not mine. During the annual Mumbai floods, the poor folk living in the slums would come out to the flooded roads to help stranded middle class people. They did this gleefully as if they were celebrating. Their glee fueled no doubt by the knowledge that things were falling apart. The writer Manu Joseph described all this better than me - "I have seen sadists hiding in places of empathy because they need to be close to human suffering, they need to be in the best seats to watch human and animal suffering. They are fascinating. They themselves do believe they are good."

Some of the other reviews suggest that this was a terrifying book. Except for a few instances in the book (their faces were wholly burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their cheeks), I did not find it to be terrifying at all. It was almost like a detached account of a terrifying event with the author only occasionally stepping in with his commentary - “There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,181 followers
January 17, 2023
This is certainly one of the great books of the previous century. It is superlative in many respects. Most obvious is the book’s historical value, which needs no further elaboration. Hiroshima is also a stylistically innovative and influential book, pioneering the dramatic writing techniques that would come to characterize some of the best journalistic writing after the war. And Hersey also deserves praise for his stylistic restraint. Virtually no event could have been more liable to evoke overwrought prose or vain attempts to capture the broad sweep of the tragedy. Hersey’s decision to focus on only six survivors, and to narrate what they saw with simple directness, was an act of great authorial self-control.

But this book is great for more important reasons than these. The power of atomic weapons is such that most of us can barely imagine it, much less picture ourselves their victims. Thus, as with many historical atrocities, the stories of survivors bridge the gap between imagination and experience, and allow us—at least dimly—to grasp the extent of the horror. Merely being faced with the reality of the bomb is enough to make a point. Without any explicit preaching, Hiroshima utterly convinces us that weapons which wreak such indiscriminate violence and widespread destruction have no possible rational use, even in war.

Last, the book is a wonderfully humanistic document. The people in this book were struck with a weapon they did not even suspect existed. They lost their homes, churches, and businesses, and they lost parents, children, spouses, and friends. And yet Hersey shows how these ordinary people often proved capable of extraordinary heroism and resilience, not only in the immediate aftermath, but in the years that followed. I found this especially moving, as I am often ashamed of my own inability to deal calmly with petty frustrations and minor setbacks. Books like this may not make me any wiser, but they at least leave me with a little hope—for myself, and for us all.
Profile Image for Numidica.
372 reviews8 followers
July 22, 2022
John Hersey's matter-of-fact account of the stories of several Hiroshima survivors, as well as those of many who did not survive, is as powerful today as when he wrote it 75 years ago. The stories themselves are fascinating in a horrible way; while one admires the spirit of the Japanese peoples' stoic response to the immediate aftermath of the bomb, it is also dismaying to learn that most were willing to go on fighting even then. The emperor's speech on the radio was all that could douse that determination:

“The war is over.”

“Don’t say such a foolish thing, sister.”

“But I heard it over the radio myself.” And then, in a whisper, “It was the Emperor’s voice.”

“Oh,” Mrs. Nakamura said (she needed nothing more to make her give up thinking, in spite of the atomic bomb, that Japan still had a chance to win the war), “in that case . . .”

It is still a moral puzzle, even now. It is likely that millions of Japanese would have died in an Allied invasion of the main islands, not to mention over a million American and British troops. It's a gruesome calculus; over 200,000 dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to avoid many times as many dead in an invasion? Maybe - we'll never know. As a boy, I was acquainted with many veterans of the Pacific War because I lived in a military community, and they, to a man, expressed the feelings of relief they felt when the bomb was dropped because they knew then that they would live and not be killed in the planned invasion of Japan. Many also shared the feeling, as my dad (another veteran) said, that war is the absolute worst thing that can happen, and it should always be avoided if possible; and that if a war must be fought, it should be ended as quickly as possible. Sadly, our leaders in recent times have lost that fundamental understanding of war.
Profile Image for Ethan.
216 reviews236 followers
August 27, 2020
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 had fallen apart. Nazi Germany and fascist Italy had already surrendered, and Hitler was dead. In spite of the obvious defeat, Japan fought on, pledging to fight to the death. So on August 6th, 1945, at 8:15am, the United States changed the history of warfare and humanity forever.

A B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The uranium bomb, known as "Little Boy", detonated approximately 600 metres above the ground, unleashing a destructive force equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT. Somewhere between 90,000 and 146,000 people were killed. A second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki three days later, inflicting more mass casualties. Threatened with complete destruction, Japan's Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender to the Allies just days later on August 15th.

Hiroshima by John Hersey tells the haunting, powerful stories of six people who survived the bombing at Hiroshima. Some of the things I read in this book will live with me forever. Stories of children who had no symptoms and seemed fine one minute, but were suddenly dead the next, of men running into the firestorm so they can die with their country, of mothers holding their dead babies all day because they're too shocked to know they've passed, of people screaming for their lives, trapped beneath the rubble with fires approaching, who had to be left to their fate.

Though largely a depressing read, it's also incredibly uplifting. The stoicism of the Japanese people is admirable, and there are a lot of moments of extreme courage and selflessness in this book that are deeply moving. This is a quick read, and well worth checking out. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Jean-Luke.
Author 1 book384 followers
December 31, 2022
Hiroshima follows six individuals--Ms. Sasaki, a factory clerk; Doctor Fujii and Doctor Sasaki; Mrs. Nakamura, a tailor's widow, and her children; Reverend Tanimoto, a Methodist pastor; and Father Kleinsorge, a German priest--during and after the dropping of the world's first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. The result was obviously immediate death and destruction but this was soon followed by fire as well as months of what is today known as radiation sickness. Would WWII have ended when it did had the bomb not been dropped? Was it justified? Strange as it is to say, in the context of this book this is all completely beside the point. The book is written with such empathy that the occasional mention of the Japanese people's blind loyalty to their Emperor is almost jarring, along with the German priest's 'we are allies' comment to a Japanese soldier--in the story being told the terms 'enemy' and 'ally' have lost all relevance. Although nonfiction, Hiroshima is written in a narrative style that no doubt paved the way for books such as Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy.
Profile Image for Jimmy.
Author 6 books206 followers
February 5, 2017
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." Instead, they were called "hibakusha," which means "explosion-affected persons."

I read this book once long ago. This second read has lost none of the power.
Profile Image for Matthew Ted.
716 reviews594 followers
March 29, 2022
34th book of 2022.

In high school we studied Book I of Keiji Nakazawa's graphic novel series Barefoot Gen, based partly on his own experiences as a Hiroshima survivor. I was about 14 years old, the quiet kid, avoided detentions and raising his hand. After studying the first volume, I went on throughout the next year or two reading the subsequent 9. The atomic bomb falling on Hiroshima has since floated about in the back of my psyche, something that I presumed would always haunt and interest me with similar power. Some of the panels from Barefoot Gen I can still recall with almost perfect clarity. We had to read the book aloud in class each week, every time someone was allocated a certain character. On the week we finally got to the dropping of the bomb itself in the narrative, I had been allocated as the voice of Gen's little brother. I'll put in panels from the series throughout the review to illustrate it; I'll say now that there are many haunting panels, I'll avoid the worst of them.


Hersey was sent to Hiroshima just 9 months after the atomic bomb was dropped. I've known about this book for years and never had chance to read it, despite my affinity with the event. I finally found it in Badger's, my trusty old bookshop, and bought it. It set me back £2.95, which was expensive considering it is an old Penguin edition, that appeared to be coming apart. Indeed, with each page I turned, it snapped from the brittle glue of the spine and fell away as if as I was reading it was exercising some Márquezian self-obliteration. By about 80 pages in I let the pages come completely away from the cover and just shuffled them around like a pack of cards as I read the rest.

Anyway, I always presumed the book would be about what Hersey saw when he explored post-atomic Hiroshima. It turns out that isn't the case: Hersey has actually written a narrative piece following six survivors, survivors he presumably met and gathered information from firsthand. It's really like reading a short story about these 6 characters, pre-bomb, mid-bomb and post-bomb. One of the scariest persisting images of the book is the silence of it. No survivors, according to Hersey, reported hearing any sound at all from the bomb, only the flash. And later on, when one 'character' (real person now immortalised as a 'character') stumbles through a sea of dead, dying, burnt, injured people, their silence: no one screamed in pain or cried out. Many parts of it reminded me of Pynchon's descriptions of the V-2 rockets in Gravity's Rainbow. There's one line in here which isn't too dissimilar from Tommy P's opener, 'A screaming comes across the sky.' One idea that has never left me from Barefoot Gen is the fact that the shadows of people were scorched into the ground. I didn't know if this was scientifically possible at 14 and frankly, I still don't. But then I read it again in Hersey and realise it must be true,
The scientists noticed that the flash of the bomb had discoloured concrete to a light reddish tint, had scaled off the surface of granite, and had scorched certain other types of building material, and that consequently the bomb had, in some places, left prints of the shadows that had been cast by its light [...] (a few vague human silhouettes were found...


Once again the threat of nuclear war is a topic of conversation. It just goes to show that Hersey's reportage of this event all those years ago is still a wailing warning in the form of just 100 pages. at times a difficult read, the descriptions of burns, glass, bodies, babies dying with their mouths clogged with dirt, people drowning because they are so weak they can't move, the slow arrival of radiation poisoning in the bodies of the survivors and the six poor souls we follow closely through Hersey's close camera-eye, which is detached but without coldness somehow. He is an early practitioner of new-journalism and I see his influence in Capote's later work. Vital stuff. Recommend this and Barefoot Gen equally. I've never heard the latter mentioned by anyone else since reading it in school. And glad I finally read this even though my copy has destroyed itself in a strange form of art in motion.

One of the closing paragraphs reverberates off the page,
As for the use of the bomb she would say, 'It was war and we had to expect it.' And then she would add, 'Shikata ga nai,' a Japanese expression as common as, and corresponding to, the Russian word, 'nichevo': 'It can't be helped. Oh, well. Too bad.' Dr Fujii said approximately the same thing about the use of the bomb to Father Kleinsorge one evening, in German. 'Da ist nichts zu machen. There's nothing to be done about it.'

Profile Image for Maede.
275 reviews398 followers
March 16, 2017

یک کتاب از هر کشور: 2. ژاپن

Political Location Map of Japan

فکر نکنم کسی باشه که از این فاجعه چیزی به گوشش نرسیده باشه. اسم شهر هیروشیما و ناکازاکی همیشه بمب اتم رو همراه با خودش میاره
ولی اینکه بودن در شهری که بالای سرش اولین بمب اتم منفجر میشه و حداقل صد و پنجاه هزار نفر رو می کشه ولی تو به طرز عجیبی زنده می مونی چطوریه؟ چه چیزهایی می بینی؟ چی میشه که نجات پیدا می کنی؟

تعدادی از نجات یافته ها تجربه هولناکشون رو شرح می دن. از نور درخشان، از حرارتی چندین برابر خورشید، از شدت تخریب و پدیده های عجیبی که فقط یک بمب اتم می تونه به وجود بیاره
بیماری رادیواکتیوی، موهای در حال ریختن، سوختگی، پوستی که از بدن جدا میشه و آدم هایی که از شدت اشعه ها سلول هاشون پاشیده میشه و در حالی که سالم به نظر میان میمیرند

همه ی این ها اما فقط یک شروعه. تسلیم شدن به کشوری که از جنگ جهانی برای امتحان کردن بمب هاش استفاده کرده و سال ها تلاش برای بازسازی و مواجه شدن با عوارض ژنتیکی رادیواکتیو
چیزی که هیچوقت بهش عادت نمی کنم
اینکه در جنگ میشه چه کار هایی کرد و از عواقبش برای همیشه فرار کرد

فقط تصور کنید که بمب های اتم امروزی قدرتی 3000 برابر بیشتر از بمب های گذشته دارند

Profile Image for هَنَـــاءْ.
342 reviews2,153 followers
April 11, 2020
‫الكتاب الثالث عشر مع ⁧‫#أريكة_وكتاب‬⁩ ..‬
‫هيروشيما | جون هيرسي.‬
‫الكتاب ممتاز، وصراحة أروع ما فيه مقدمة المترجم عبدالله العجيري .. تستحق لوحدها أكثر من قراءة🌿‬
Profile Image for ALLEN.
553 reviews121 followers
October 1, 2020
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 part, as did the perseverance of those searching for bodies in the rubble, and even which way the blast victims had been turned when the bomb exploded.

John Hersey's masterful short book -- which originally ran as one installment in the NEW YORKER magazine -- focuses on the lives of six ordinary Hiroshimans who survived: an office clerk, a physician, a surgeon, a war widow, a Catholic priest and a Methodist minister. The amount of human suffering in HIROSHIMA is considerable, not just the blast burns and broken bones, but the blood and pus and suppuration that followed and in the long run, leukemia. In a kind of extended afterword, the six survivors' lives are examined well beyond the initial blast and aftermath and on into the 1980's.

HIROSHIMA is more than just a readable book -- it's a necessary book.

The younger [sister] had huge, raw flash burns on her body; the salt water must have been excruciatingly painful to her. She began to shiver heavily, and again said it was cold. Father Kleinsorge borrowed a blanket from someone nearby and wrapped her up, but she shook more and more, and said again, "I am so cold," and then she suddenly stopped shivering and was dead. (p. 45)
Profile Image for Repix.
2,179 reviews412 followers
October 5, 2021
Siempre es interesante y enriquecedor conocer la realidad de la guerra, el sufrimiento y la muerte.
Esto es lo que vale y no lo que cuentan las películas. Aún así, adolece de cierta falta de alma, supongo que por la cultura japonesa.
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