Sunday, June 13, 2010
Hiroshima by John Hersey: A Book Review
On August 6, 1945, America dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed. In this powerful book, John Hersey tells the story of six survivors.
Miss Toshinki Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just turned her head to chat with the girl at the next desk.
Dr. Masakazu Fujii, a physician, had just sat down to read the paper on the porch of his private hospital.
Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a tailor's widow, was watching a neighbor from her kitchen window.
Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German priest, lay on a cot in the mission house reading a Jesuit magazine.
Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, a young surgeon, walked along a hospital corridor with a blood specimen for a Wasserman test.
The Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, pastor of the Hiroshima Methodist Church, was about to unload a cart of clothes at a rich man's home in the suburbs.
In an instant, the lives of theses six men and women would change forever. Some were injured; some, the lucky, were merely confused and disoriented. But they did all they could to help others in more trouble than them--the young orphans and the terribly maimed, showing true spirit and selflessness in the face of horrible destruction.
The first four chapters of the book are about what happened to the six during and directly after the bomb blast And in the moving final chapter, Hersey goes back to Japan nearly forty years after the disaster at Hiroshima to examine the aftermath of the bomb, and to discover what life for the survivors was like after the war.