From Publishers Weekly
George Weller, a Pulitzer Prize– winning war correspondent for the Chicago Daily News
, entered Nagasaki on September 6, 1945, four weeks after the atomic blast leveled the city. The first Westerner to tour the city's ruins, he talked with doctors at the makeshift hospitals and scoured the countryside in search of the POW camps scattered across southern Japan over several weeks. His eyewitness dispatches were intercepted and buried, however, by Gen. Douglas MacArthur's censors. Weller saved his carbons, but they disappeared in the hectic months after the war and remained lost for 60 years, until rediscovered after his death by his son Anthony, himself a journalist and a novelist (The Garden of the Peacocks
). Weller's dispatches from Nagasaki are riveting even at this late date, though they are only a small part of the book. His extensive interviews with POWs mostly reinforce what we already know about their brutal treatment. The book also offers an account of one of the so-called "death ships" that carried POWs from the Philippines to Japan, and a 1966 essay on Weller's experiences in Nagasaki. On balance, Weller's dispatches are a welcome addition to the historical record. (Jan.)
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In September 1945, four weeks after the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Weller, a reporter and photographer, disguised himself as an American officer and filed a series of dispatches and photos documenting the material and human devastation. Unfortunately, General MacArthur censored the dispatches, and Weller's account remained unpublished until his son found it. The account is, at first, curious. Weller describes the destruction of the city in a detached, unemotional manner; however, once he visits the shell of a hospital and views the suffering of children with acute radiation burns, his mask of objectivity falls away. Weller graphically recounts the slow, painful agony of children dying from radiation poisoning, yet he does not engage in guilt-ridden breast-beating over America's crime. With an equal tone of outrage, he also reports on the savage treatment of American POWs at camps on the outskirts of the city. As the number of nations capable of producing nuclear weapons appears to be growing, this gruesome glimpse at the results of nuclear war is timely and important. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved