Hiroshima by John Hersey. Vintage, Paperback, 160 pages.
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).
Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told. His account of what he discovered about them is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima.
John Hersey, the son of US missionary parents, was born in China on 17th June, 1914. After graduating from Yale University he became correspondent in the Far East for Time Magazine.
During the Second World War Hersey also wrote for Life magazine and the New Yorker. He accompanied the US Army in the invasion of Sicily and Italy. Hersey used some of the information he gathered as a war journalist for his best-selling novel A Bell for Adano (1944). The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.
In 1944 Hersey covered the war in the Pacific and his many articles included one detailing the heroism of Lieutenant John F Kennedy when his Motor Torpedo Boat was sunk close to the Soloman Islands.
Hersey was one of the first western journalists to arrive in Hiroshima after the atom bomb explosion on 6th August 1945. Commission by the New Yorker to write a series of articles on the effects of a nuclear explosion, he decided to focus on the experiences of six people who had been in the city: two doctors, a Protestant minister, a widowed seamstress, a young female factory worker and a German Catholic priest. When the editor saw the articles he decided to devote one issue (31st August, 1946) to the material. Later that year it was published as the book Hiroshima (1946).
Other books by Hersey include the Child Buyer (1947), The Wall (1950), The Marmot Drive (1953), A Single Pebble (1956), The War Lover (1959), The Child Buyer (1960), White Lotus (1965), Too Far To Walk (1966), Under the Eye of the Storm (1967), The Conspiracy (1972), My Petition for More Space (1974), The Walnut Door (1977), Antonietta (1991) and Key West Tales (1993).
John Hersey died in Key West, Florida, on 24th March, 1993.
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