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A Song for Nagasaki: The Story of Takashi Nagai: Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb
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A Song for Nagasaki: The Story of Takashi Nagai: Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  74 reviews
On August 9, 1945, an American B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing tens of thousands of people in the blink of an eye, while fatally injuring and poisoning thousands more. Among the survivors was Takashi Nagai, a pioneer in radiology research and a convert to the Catholic Faith. Living in the rubble of the ruined city and suffering from leukemia caused ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published October 30th 2009 by Ignatius Press (first published July 1st 1989)
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4.59  · 
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 ·  402 ratings  ·  74 reviews


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Clif Hostetler
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is a biography of Takashi Nagai (1908-1951), a Japanese physician and survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He is well known for his efforts to help the victims of the Nagasaki atom bomb despite his own injuries and loss of his wife during the bomb blast. He was a physician specializing in radiology and used his knowledge to write descriptions of symptoms of radiation sickness. He himself suffered from leukemia brought on by exposure to radiation in his work with early x-ray equipment ...more
Julie Davis
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In 1928 young Takashi Nagai was a medical student at the top of his class. An atheist, he passionately believed that science held the key to the future of the human race. He loved his country and believed the "spirit of Japan" would improve his nation's future.

Then came a telegram that sent him racing home to be with his mother as she died.  And his world changed.
"I rushed to her bedside. She was still breathing. She looked fixedly at me, and that's how the end came. My mother in that last penet
...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful biographies I have read. It talks about Takashi Nagai who survived the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. In the fatal event he lost much. He should have been a man reduced to meaninglessness. He had all the reasons needed to hate mankind and God. But then he did the opposite. He complained about nothing and loved God more and gave a hope to all the other survivors. Moreover, he was like a Japanese St. Augustine. Initially he was not a believer in Catholicism. He was a seeker of ...more
Jaye
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a rare gem. It is the story of the life of Takashi Nagai, who becomes a Catholic Christian. His faith survives and maintains him through the bombing Nagasaki, which kills his wife, who dies with a rosary in her hand, and ultimately brings about Nagai's death. Aside from Nagai's personal story, we learn of the history of Christians in and around Nagasaki.

The first time I read this book, it had been loaned to me with strict admonition for its return. My father had been led to hunt i
...more
Kris
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful. Easily placed on my favorites shelf. I loved how so much information on Shintoism, Confucianism, and the history of Christianity in Japan were woven seamlessly into this biography. One of the most inspiring bios, I've read -- it ranks right up there with Immaculee Ilibagiza's Left to Tell. Both lived through immense tragedies, but both maintain(ed) a strong sense of God's goodness and grace.
I think I need to read this one again, more slowly this time, to soak up the lyrica
...more
Mandy
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what to say, really, except that this was one of the most exceptional true-life stories I've ever read. Instead of burdening anyone with what I got out of it, I welcome you to read it yourself and glean what you will on your own.

Synopsis: The story of Dr. Takashi Nagai who was a pioneer for Radiology in Japan at the University of Nagasaki at the time the Atomic Bomb was dropped on the city. He also undertook a surprising religious journey that lead him to Christianity, by far a mino
...more
CL Castro
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A very good read. I wish I was able to read it continuously, not in spurts spanning a few months. But anyway.. It was very good. :)

"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."
Christina Jaloway
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that has influenced me most (in my adult life). I cannot recommend it highly enough.
TJ
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous book about an incredible witness of faith & trust in God's Providence, Takashi Nagai. His story will stay with me. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book.
Amy
I great admire Takashi Nagai, the holy man of Japan, who is the subject of this biography. A doctor and professor of radiology at the university in Nagasaki, he was also a Catholic, having married into one of the old Catholic families of Nagasaki, old as in, having somehow kept the faith over generations and generations without priests, sacraments or churches, and suffering additional dreadful persecutions. His beloved wife was incinerated in the atomic blast; his children were visiting relative ...more
Eustacia Tan
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love getting book recommendations, so when an email from Santiago arrived recommending a couple of books – A Song for Nagasaki among them – I knew that I had to check them out. The library had A Song for Nagasaki so I borrowed it as one of my year-end reads.

A Song for Nagasaki is about the life of Nagai Takashi, a Catholic Physician who was living and working in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb was dropped and who’s actions after the bombing earned him the title of the ‘Saint of Urakami’. I’ve be
...more
Francesco Angelini
La commovente testimonianza della conversione al cristianesimo del medico giapponese Nagai, vissuto a Nagasaki nella prima, tragica, metà del ‘900. Pur ritenendosi “servo inutile”, o in realtà proprio grazie a al suo modo cristiano di affrontare grandi prove, Nagai è poi diventato un eroe nazionale giapponese per come ha saputo vivere “l’olocausto” nucleare di Nagasaki. Scienziato appassionato, poeta sensibile e raffinato e, specialmente negli ultimi anni della sua debilitante malattia, instanca ...more
احمد هلال
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-i-return
الحمد لله رب العالمين
كتاب اغنية من اجل نجازاكى هذا الكتاب كتبه العالم والأديب اليابانى تاكاشى نجائى ويبدو انه غير اسمه من تاكاشى الى بول بعد ان دخل فى العقيدة الكاثوليكية المهم ان الكتاب تحفة فنية انسانية بارعة رائعة , فبداية تم ترجمة هذا الكتاب من اليابانية الى الفرنسية ومن الفرنسية تم الترجمة الى اللغات الاخرى , و منها نسختنا العربية التى صدرت ضمن مشروع الألف كتاب برقم 238 بعنوان كبير أجراس ناجازاكى وتحته تعريف صغير يقول : مذكرات احد ضحايا القنبلة الذرية .مكتبة الآداب هى من قامت بالنشر لصالح م
...more
Patrick Costello
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The story of Takashi Nagai is so powerful and Paul Glynn captures the profound spirituality and uniquely Japanese aspects of Nagai's life in this biography. It is certainly a companion to Nagai's famous "The Bells of Nagasaki" and is helpful to read concurrently as this biography shows the full story of Nagai becoming a holy man, from his days as a skeptical medical student, to the battlefields of Manchuria, to the atomic horror of Nagasaki, to his work in promoting peace and authentic religion ...more
Fer de Uña
El libro narra la conversión y la vida del Dr. Nagai, radiólogo converso al cristianismo, acogido en la comunidad de Nagasaki y víctima de la bomba atómica, que perdonó y supo ver la mano de Dios en lo que acontecía a su pueblo. El autor va introduciendo al lector en la cultura y costumbres niponas, especialmente en lo referente al cristianismo japonés, introduciendo habilmente reflexiones del propio Nagai, crónica histórica, explicaciones culturales, dichos y poemas, etc. El resultado final es ...more
Karyn Yager
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book in about two days. It is a story that will appeal to many people: those interested in Japan, WWII, the effects of the a-bomb, the development of x-rays and other medical techniques, and spirituality. The beginning of the story tells of Takashi's conversion to Christianity and his life as a scientist in Nagasaki. The description of the after-effects of the atomic bomb were a bit graphic, but the world needs to remember the power of this terrible weapon. The book says that if ...more
Leann
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith, autobiography
This book tells the story of life in Nagasaki before, during, and after World War II. It begins with a history of Christianity in Japan, including the persecution and execution of many. There is a first person account of battles with Chinese troops in Manchuria, the development of Western medicine in Japan, and the attitudes and fears of the people about war with America.

I recommend this book for people interested in Christianity in the Far East, people interested in military history, and people
...more
Bev
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
If we could all be as wise and full of faith as Takashi Nagai, this would be such a better world!! This amazing man could have been hardened and embittered after an atomic bomb wiped out his home, his wife, and so much more, but instead he inspired and uplifted others in the midst of so much tragedy. This biography not only follows Nagai's early life, his conversion to Catholicism, his work with radiology, and his sufferings with radiation illness, but also enhances the story by sprinkling in th ...more
Heidi
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this to be an incredibly inspirational book. Dr. Nagai's spiritual quest is one that I think many can relate to. However, most do not suffer the horrors that he had to endure. That he found faith and remained steadfast in it through all he endured is what is most incredible to me. While many would become bitter and angry toward God, Nagai's experiences only strengthened his devotion.
Cassie Hanson
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting story about finding Christianity. I loved how Nagai's moment of believing in an afterlife came from watching the separation of his mother's soul and physical body upon her death. After losing people close to me, this is a very true reality at the moment of death. There is something that continues to live beyond the physical being.
Cal
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, nonfiction
I have nothing bad I could say about this book. It was an attention grabber and holder, inspiring, tragic, and... all around really good. It deals with a horrible piece of history with grace and insight and leaves me feeling hopeful instead of beaten up like most WWII books. This is a book almost anyone could love.
Joe
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read. It is a compelling, touching, and inspiring story that provides an unbiased view of one of the most horrible events in human history while simultaneously offering a path of hope, redemption and joy. The book is well written and not only tells the story of Takashi Nagai, but also provides some invaluable insight into how we should approach life.
Megan
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An incredible read!! Definitely recommend for anyone interested in Japanese history mixed with a conversion story from Shinto to atheism to Catholicism. Beautiful read, very moving story, and wonderful thoughts about the terrible events that took place during WWII.
Rafdi
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A truly excellent life story of Takashi Nagai. Even though I'm not a catholic, the life of Takashi Nagai was truly one to behold. One of the best reads I've ever come across. The author combines his own research and Nagai's books to create an inspiration and insightful view.
Noonie
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I agree with another review on this page. I couldn't put it down. It was very intense in some portions. The descriptions of what the explosion was like and the aftermath are incredible. Dr. Nagai's life should be required reading for high school students who are studying Asian history.
Madison
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot even begin to explain how much I appreciated, and, I'll be honest, loved this book. It really helped me realize a lot of truths about life that I've been ignorant of. Takashi Nagai is a truly inspiring figure.
Zjjohnston
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zjjohnston by: Jack Price
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is definitely different from anything I've read before, so I feel as though I've learned much. The life of Takashi Nagai is an amazing story.
Raphael Mercikovsky
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very moving story of selfless service. It was very interesting to learn about the atomic bomb from those who experienced it's destruction.
K De
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Paul Glynn gives a moving history of the Christian movement in Japan and how it relates to Dr. Takashi Nagai's life. This is a excellent view of the meaning of Jesus and how Dr. Nagai's life embodied the way of Christianity in it's purest form of metaphysical spirituality when confronted with atomic warfare. The courage that Dr. Nagai displayed was through his resolute faith in Christ. He. Dr. Nagai, not only wrote eloquently about the science of radiation, radiological poisoning, and medical co ...more
Jen
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an unexpected page turner. This is the biography of a man who has a St Augustine-like conversion then lives his faith to such a degree that it inspires Nagasaki to rebuild with forgiveness and hope. The heroism of a physician, a hospital, and the people of Nagasaki was breathtaking. We have so much to be thankful for from the generation of the world that lived through WW2, rebuilt society, and left us their wisdom.
The scene that was most inspiring (but not surprising to physicians and
...more
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