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Hiroshima Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 1989
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“One of the great classics of the war.” —The New Republic
“Everyone able to read should read it.” —Saturday Review of Literature
From the Inside Flap
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.
- Lexile measure : 1190L
- Item Weight : 3.04 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0679721037
- ISBN-13 : 978-0679721031
- Dimensions : 4.17 x 0.43 x 6.85 inches
- Publisher : Vintage; Reprint edition (March 4, 1989)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #82,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As far as the content, it is probably an essential read for adults, but explicitly graphic. My 13 year old started to read it as part of a homeschool class, and had to stop because she couldn't handle the gore.
Original review: I rarely read reviews for books that have been on my "need to read list." That was unfortunate here. This is a book everyone should read. The book itself would earn a 5-star review from me. My 1-star review here is based on the paperback version published by BN Publishing. The BN edition is nothing more than a low-quality photocopy of the book. You can tell immediately notice something odd by the cover, which is muddy looking as a low-res scan of a color image would be. The printing is exceedingly light, has blotches throughout (as if they couldn't bother cleaning the scan glass), and is missing the Chapter 5 summary of later editions. These problems are not present in the hardcover or mass-market paperback edition. My recommendation is definitely buy the book, just not the BN rip-off edition.
Even though the story was overwhelming, I found the people's stories very touching and immensely human. The fact that they did not simply give up. The fact that they tried to help one another, the fact that they somehow made it through whilst tens of thousands of others did not; this is what I have taken away from this book.
I truly feel this should be read by all students as they learn about WWII
Top reviews from other countries
Hershey’s book follows the lives of six individuals who survived the sheer devastation caused by the dropping of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima. He manages to achieve this in such a way that his narration is barely noticeable, it is as if the characters are telling their own story.
In this way we get to experience the horror and suffering through the eyes of the victims themselves.
This book is not about shock and gore; it is a good example of how a story told gently and with compassion can sometimes have a far greater impact.
I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good well written account of what happens to ordinary people when nuclear and atomic bombs are used on them.
Those people who are looking for a history of the Manhattan Project or for information on the war in the Pacific will not find it here… but that was not the book Hershey was trying to write…
Yet isn't it dreadful how decades of exposure to media bias can introduce cynicism even to a piece such as this? Looking back at Mr Hersey's work, it would be difficult to create a more 'deserving' cross-section of survivors to a Western audience in 1946. Two medics (one from the neutral Red Cross hospital), a Reverend (with pre-war friends in the USA), a war widow struggling with three small children (whose soldier husband died in the fall of Singapore and therefore less associated with later wartime atrocities), a Jesuit priest (one of literally a handful of Westerners in the city), a young female clerk whose father does war work ('making rubber ear plugs for gun crew' ; surely the most non-controversial 'war work' ever devised?).
Mr Hersey's compelling book describes the appalling impact on many others, including soldiers, yet his selection of the key dramatis personae is interesting. If you haven't read it, you should.
but had misplaced his copy. He was so pleased but sadly, he didn't finish it before he passed away (at 82 years) last year.
It is now on my bookshelf awaiting a time I can bring myself to read it too.