Maria's Reviews > The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back

The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino
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's review
May 27, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: overdrive-army, audio-books, history
Read from July 31 to August 04, 2012

Pellegrino delves into the horror of surviving the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Detailing the blast and how through quirks of fate the survivors made it, while their cities died around them. And he shares the tragic story of a handful of people who fled Hiroshima for the safety of Nagasaki to witness it again.

Why I started it: I've read history books about developing the bomb, but wanted a perspective from ground zero.

Why I finished the book: Half way through the book, I learned about the controversy. Some of the sources in the book lied about their participation. Some people mentioned don't exist and the author claimed to have a PhD that the university says it didn't award.

Newspaper link about the controversy of this book:
1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world...
2. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/boo...

Pellegrino is right that few in Japan or America understand the true horror of an atomic bomb. General MacArthur was very successful in silencing the reporters and scientists that visited the two cities. On the other hand, the Japanese have been very successful in whitewashing their participation and actions in WWII with their treatment of POW and conquered countries. But false history (deliberate or not) is just as bad as no history. I would recommend reading First Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Charles (new)

Charles Pellegrino Please note that those 2010 articles were a result of spoofing (by people pretending to be everyone from Keiji [Gen] Nakazawa) to James Cameron saying bad things about me - and the "journalists" who reported hoaxes as news without fact checking (including M. Rich at the NYT) lost their jobs. It is still on-going as one of the worst media scandals in the history of American publishing. If the 2010 stories were true, academic press Rowman and Littlefield would not have published the new edition. Also, at the same time M. Rich was quoting (in NYT) someone who said I failed my Ph.D. dissertation (not only published in the field's leading peer-reviewed scientific journal, Crustaceana, but certified here in the U.S. in 1985) - I was listed in a Victoria University advertising pamphlet (published by Barnes and Noble, 2010) as one of the 25 most distinguished graduates - for having developed the "Jurassic Park Recipe" while still a student there. Please note also that the only person in the original edition who does not appear in the new edition is Joe Fuoco, an American veteran of Tinian Island who exaggerated part of his WWII resume`Everyone else is still there - which would not be the case if any of their stories had been made up or exaggerated by me.


Maria I didn't not do much more than a google search, but to clarify your clarification:
1. You mention the new reprint under a new name: To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima.
2. Mokoto Rich did not lose her job and she is still employed at the NYT.


message 3: by Charles (last edited Apr 14, 2016 07:45PM) (new)

Charles Pellegrino Thank you for your response. (1) Many hibakusha were upset to hear reports from the U.S. media that their experiences must be doubted, as recorded in the book, and that some of them did not even exist. They came forward through the Hiroshima and Nagasaki museums in such numbers that the book became much expanded, in the new edition. (2) M. Rich had refused to speak with real nuclear physicists (like Jim Powell of Brookhaven National Laboratory), failed to follow up with the AAAS scientist (E. Stover) who told her my name sounded familiar to him (RE the illegal VUW ad hoc tribunals) and instead of asking the obvious next question ("Why?") Rich just implied I had lied because Stover didn't recognize me in a photo she sent him. Another obvious thing a journalist might ask: Did he ever meet me or in any other way know what I looked like in 1984 (in 1984 we had only snail mail and telephones attached to wires in walls) - and, worse, she had sent a letter to my publisher from Keiji (barefoot Gen) Nakazawa demanding an explanation from me about this Japanese survivor who said I told lies about him and his family and claimed the orphan Ryuta never existed. The email turned out to be from a spoofer. A through-and-through fake. M. Rich had been a NYT Political Reporter and called my home twice to blame me for her demotion down to New York City education reporter, over the Hiroshima book - evidently because I had the temerity to refuse giving any sort of apology beyond my Joe Fuoco mistake, and to defend myself from false accusations. One key thing the political reporter failed to mention: Her primary source was a member of an extremist branch of the "9/11 truthers" (by extreme, I mean the guy who publicly endorsed the giving of nazi salutes to me and other 9/11 family members at the memorial ceremony in 2005). Rich finally admitted that this person was her source, about mid-March, 2010. Embracing the most extreme end of the 9/11 truther bell curve (neo-nazis) to inflict further misfortune on a 9/11 family member is never a good idea for career advancement. And, yes, that is how it really happened. Meanwhile, Bill Broad, a scientist/explorer/journalist at the NY Times, who first wrote about my Joe Fuoco error, did his job well, and reported accurately, with no agenda except the truth. It will remain a mystery to me, why such an important scientific issue as the atomic bombings (and their lesson to the future) was allowed to be taken away from the science section of the NYT and given to someone who got spoofed by, among others, someone impersonating a Los Alamos nuclear physicist, and two veterans of the 509th who turned out never to have been in the 509th. Bill Broad would never have been fooled by experts who, along with claiming that shadow people and long term radiation effects in Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not exist (the two fake 509th veterans) and a nuclear physicist who got both the speed of light and the diameter of the Earth wrong. The lawyers were lining up wanting to sue the Dickens out of her; and Rich is lucky that hibakusha, the director of the Hiroshima Museum, and the Dalai Lama's co-author visited me in New York, and turned my attention more toward forgiveness and Omoiyari, and toward recording the hibakusha accounts, and writing the new and expanded editions (the 2nd American edition you cite is actually the 4th edition[it's currently in a dozen languages, in two other editions - and this time I was allowed a notes section that cites every interview, fact, and assertion in the book).


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