by John Hersey

Paperback(1st Vintage Books edition)

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679721031
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/1989
Edition description: 1st Vintage Books edition
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 17,242
Product dimensions: 4.17(w) x 6.85(h) x 0.43(d)
Lexile: 1190L (what's this?)

About the Author

John Hersey was born in Tientsin, China, in 1914 and lived there until 1925, when his family returned to the United States. He studied at Yale and Cambridge, served for a time as Sinclair Lewis’s secretary, and then worked several years as a journalist. Beginning in 1947 he devoted his time mainly to writing fiction. He won the Pulitzer Prize, taught for two decades at Yale, and was president of the Authors League of America and Chancellor of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Hersey died in 1993.

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Hiroshima 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 115 reviews.
keritera More than 1 year ago
John Hersey, a devoted writer and editor, tells the tales of six survivors who lived through the greatest single manmade disaster in history, in the book Hiroshima. The vivid descriptions of the experiences these people went thorough gave me chills. The scenes sounded too disturbing to even be true. But the entire book was very factual. Roads being so hot they were soft, human flesh slipping off from the lightest touch, and humans vanishing with only ash outlines to prove their existence. These descriptions were told so well they sound unimaginable. Although this book was interesting to read, I found myself getting bored and distracted easily. The lack of dialogue and a main plot made me get lost throughout the story and unexcited to keep reading. Although I was bored when reading most of the novel, I felt very compassionate towards these survivors, for they had risked their lives to help others in need. I was able to connect with this story because I visited the city of Hiroshima a couple years ago. The city is bustling and lively, filled with people. I couldn't imagine the horror these six survivors went through. I got to see the A-bomb dome, the largest building still existing from the time the bomb was dropped. The Sadako statue filled with colorful cases and thousands of cranes makes me happy that our world is striving for peace. But the images I witnessed in the peace memorial looked so similarly to the mental pictures I could visualize while reading. If someone were interested in Japanese history and facts then I would highly recommend this book. But for a person looking for an exciting story and plot I wouldn't. Overall this was a very decent book that informed me but didn't hold my attention through out the whole novel.
ChristiCR More than 1 year ago
.the change was too sudden, from a busy city of two hundred and forty-five thousand that morning to a mere pattern of residue in the after. (page 40) The atomic bomb signaled the end of World War II, but it came with a terrible price. The excerpt above describes one of the devastating effects of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Because of the bomb, people suffered, many died, families were destroyed, a whole city faced destruction, and the few that survived were scarred for life. John Hersey captures all of these in his novel Hiroshima. John Hersey skillfully captures the stories of six survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Through his writing, he demonstrates his knowledge and thorough research of this tragic event and the stories of the six survivors. It was easy to picture the surroundings and the suffering of the people because he stated it as the survivors saw it. Hersey's writing style was dry because he did not use sensory and concrete detail as much as he could of. Still, the subject and seriousness of his memoir made me think of the bombing of Hiroshima as more that just an event in history, but also as a turning point in thousands of peoples' lives. In my opinion, I believe that Hiroshima was a satisfactory memoir, and I neither liked nor disliked it. Intellectually, this book was excellent. It included accurate facts and stories and was well-researched. It had a strong basis and interesting subject. As a reader, though, I found this memoir a bit boring. I was expecting more dialogue and for the story to be told from the survivors' point of view. Instead, the majority of the book was narration, stating what happened to the characters instead of focusing on their emotional thoughts. Despite of this, Hiroshima is an interesting memoir to read because it focuses on a subject that has not been explored by many authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hiroshima, by John Hersey, is a historical book about two women, and four men that survived the atomic bomb on August 6th, 1945. It talks about what the six survivors were doing when the bomb went off, what they had to go through for many months, what sorts of devistation did they see, and their emotions. Their emotions like in mourning, dissapointment, anger, sadness, or relief. This book also shows a lot about the Japanese culture. Its also a good book because it doesnt just give you facts, but stories that will stay in your mind. This book might be a little gruesome since the bomb caused such chaos and killed many.If you're looking for a good historical book that tells both sides of the story : the American side and the Japanese side, this is a good book. However, in the begining, I was confused about the characters. There are six characters making it hard to follow each individual without getting cunfused on who is who. However, later on in the book, some people tie together in each others lives making it easier to remember who is each character.
Shane-H More than 1 year ago
Hiroshima, by John Hersey illustrates the events that took place on August 6, 1945, and its effects on the hibakusha, or A-Bomb victims. The book is very factual, and the narrator tells this in third person perspectives of six everyday people. Overall, I did not care much for this book. It lacked the ability so maintain my attention, and I often got bored while reading it. One of the main reasons why it didn't grasp my attention was because the whole story is basically told by the narrator, with very little dialogue. If choosing to read this book to learn about the events that occurred, and the hardships that the hibakusha faced,then I would recommend this book. If choosing to read this book for pleasure, then I wound not suggest it because of its inability to engage the reader for a large amount of time. As a person of Japanese descent, this book was able to connect to me as a reader. The plot is very detailed in events that took place, giving me a good picture illustrating the hardships that took place not only on that day, but throughout the decades that followed. This book displays the pride of the Japanese culture, and the willingness of the hibakusha to do whatever it takes to help the greater cause.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A moving story, told from the accounts of actual Hiroshima survivors. Captures, in great detail, the brutality, stupidity, and even integrity of the human race, showing the contrast between U.S. and Japan's cultural differences. How an average Japanese citizen feels to blame that he be the only uninjured soul among countless dead. I actually felt his pain... It hurt. He had to make the toughest decisions. Decisions that nobody should ever have to make. But that was considered normal under the circumstance. In a chaotic Japanese city in ruin, six survivors tell their tale. ~E.M.M~ "Truly Solid all together." ~SFm~
Bookworm95AO More than 1 year ago
A real story of real people. Devastatingly harsh in reality. This book was a great read! Makes you feel grateful for the things you have and resentful against the warlike nature of human beings. MUST READ.
LittlePig More than 1 year ago
This story was told simply. It felt as though you were reading a reporter's story notes. You get a true sense of the horror and confusion of the day and those that followed. It is interesting to follow each person from where they were at the momoment of impact. As they move through that day and the next days, weeks and months (then years), it is interesting to see how various people react to the same event and how little decisions make a difference in the outcome. It is good to know the impact of war. No matter how much you believe in the cause and support the actions taken, there is a cost. If we lose sight of the ramifications of waging war - that it does take lives of real people- then war will become too easy.
Rubo More than 1 year ago
I found that the book Hiroshima by John Hersey was a very interesting book. Often books like these only show the perspective from one person or one group of people. It had multiple stories in it which made it very interesting and also showed what everyone went through, both the common folk and the rich, but it also made it confusing. It was very difficult to keep track of what was going on. I believe the author could have worked on the organization but otherwise it was an amazing book. The stories let it sink in just how much damage the Atomic bombs did during world war 2. It goes into very deep detail. So profound in detail that you feel like you are experiencing it yourself. Many people got severe burns on their skin and the author makes sure to go into detail about them. I remember feeling my skin tingling as if trying to recreate the sensation. This book is definitely not for those with uneasy stomachs as the details are often on gross subjects such as puss spilling from radiated victims of the A-bomb. It also showed the viewpoints of both rich and poor people. It showed what regular people had to go through to show how hard it was for everyone. The book also showed racism takes place everywhere. The german priest, Kleinsorge, was often untrusted because he was white. At the end he attempted to get citizenship in Japan which was a struggle for him because they made it very difficult but he did succeed. John Hersey also effectively showed just how strong the Japanese people were. In a time of crisis they managed to work together to make sure their fellow citizens were safe. At one scene a woman was walking around handing out hundreds of tea leaves for free because it helped with peoples thirst. This shows how strong of a community they have and also that in times of trouble people band together. Another example of heroism is Dr. Sasaki. He put the community before himself. He built a clinic and a old peoples home and provided care for many people when they couldn't get it from anyone else. He worked hours on end to provide people with health care. Overall the book Hiroshima was good and although confusing I believe the authors unusual way of writing the book with multiple stories was intelligent and effectively showed what happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book Hiroshima by John Hersey is very informative about the topic of Hiroshima. This book helped me with some of my research questions I had for an English project. This book tells a lot about Japanese culture. This book is written through perspectives of people that went through the trama of the bomb dropped by the U.S. on to Japan on August 6, 1945. There are 6 different survivors in the book and it explains their thoughts and emotions going on during the time of the bomb. The brook was also a little bit confusing because it was hard to keep up when the characters stories were changing. Towards the end of the story the characters started coming so the book started to make more sense and it was easier to remember which characters where which. The book overall was helpful to do do project u if you do not like books with multiple perspectives and only a little bit of dialogue then this might be confusing to you but it wasn’t so bad :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
t1bnotown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes will always be my favorite story related to the atomic bomb, I still remember this from summer reading during high school. I remember stories and images, and feeling empathetic for the characters. The dropping of the atomic bomb isn't just something that happened somewhere else to someone else. It is something that hurt everyone in the world- we are all in danger now, and we must all read this to understand that. We must empathize.
ksmyth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I reread this book after many years and found it just as powerful as I did the first timeHersey wrote his book in 1946, focusing on six survivors of the August 6th bombing. The survivors came from various walks of life and their degree of injury from the bombing also varied. Hersey walks the reader through the experience from the flash of the bomb, through the survivors observations and experiences in the hours that came after, and through their exposure to radiation sickness. Finally, this being a much later version of the book than the original, Hersey included an afterward that shares with the reader the experiences of each of the six through the mid-1980's. Many continued to suffer affects throughout their lives. Hersey's accounts/observations originally filled an entire issue of the The New Yorker. His lucid and frank prose, the observations of the witnesses were intended to humanize the experiences of the dead and the living, and perhaps create another dimension to the decision American leaders made to end the war with this new and terrible weapon.
Tahlil77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a strange and sad read because you're going into it knowing full well of the destruction that is about to follow. As you're reading accounts of the everyday lives of the main protagonists, you can begin to feel unease, especially if you are able to empathize and consider that in any moment, your own life can be turned upside down and dragged into a major global conflict. The accounts of the pain, horror, and trauma experienced by the individuals and those closest to them is epic in scale...and something that we all need to be aware of and strongly consider when we are about to be, or are presently engaged in conflict and destruction of this nature.
dele2451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A succinct and stark historical account of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan as experienced by 6 blast survivors. The cover has a statement by the Saturday Review of Literature which states "Everyone able to read should read it." While it may be 65 years after the event, I'd have to say I concur with Saturday Review's opinion. An important read and a definite recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some typos. Some strange English sentence formations. Very compelling story of the event and how it effected the people of Hiroshima.
Dennis_Lieburn More than 1 year ago
I read this book while I was in high school, some 55 years ago. I believe that it should become mandatory reading for all HS Seniors so that all of our nation's future leaders understand the power and the consequences of the tools they may have at their disposal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good, a raw account of death and survival.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My problem isn't with the actual text itself, but with the Nook product. There are too many typographical errors to count, letters that are substituted for each other, and even a sentence that ends right in the middle (e.g., when the doctor is taking the woman's temperature). In short, the final product is a sloppy job that takes away from my ability to read a modern classic that touches on a highly sensitive topic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm 24 and I've read and researched my fair share of the atomic bomb throughout middle school to the end of high school. Yet, I have not found actual stories about the damage done and the enormous mental scars that contributed with it. The spirits of the people who were considered the luckiest still had terrible images burned within them. As their spirit represented the strong and whole country of Japan, these stories heart breaking, gruesome, and somehow uplifting. This, is something I'll be talking about for a long time and probably need to research even more heavily into because of this book. I might just be able to read this again without crying within 30 minutes of each session.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ebook is riddled with typos and is very poorly formatted. If that stuff bothers you, do not purchase it. (The book itself is a classic. I only put three stars because I didn't want to impact the book's overall rating.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AP World History review: Why this book was great, and Why I Highly Recommend it John Hersey crafted an amazing novel with his book Hiroshima. The book was about 4 men and 2 women who risked their lives to help others in need, and who were all heavily affected by the dropping of the A-bomb. This book helped me to understand just how devastating the bomb was to the Japanese people, and really illustrated the destructiveness of the bomb and the ensuing radioactivity. John Hersey really does a great job at providing another perspective to the dropping of the atomic bomb, and his descriptive word choice kept me in an anticipatory mood throughout the whole book. I feel as if the author's purpose of writing this novel was to really show the american public just how destructive and devastating the atomic bomb was to the japanese people and to Hiroshima. He does a great job of this by keeping the audience hooked with his awesome word choice. He also utilizes different perspectives between people of different ethnicities to really reach out to different audiences. Overall I feel as if John Hersey's masterful writing led to the broadened horizon in peoples perspective around the world regarding the dropping of the Atomic Bomb.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
       My first impression before even opening this book was that it would be a boring war or natural disaster report on the bombing of  Hiroshima. That is definitely not the case. This book is a fast pace, heart wrenching description of the devastating effects of the atomic bomb on Japan. It is told from the life stories of six lucky survivors of the bombing which adds to the sadness and violence of the  bombing knowing that it was told from these real life experiences. It also lets us see a different side of Japan's history that was once  never considered to affect our history of the United States.           So i would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good history driven novel that has multiple very good messages throughout the novel. It is very helpful in describing all the long-term effects atomic bombs have on Japan and its effect on all of the world. It also helps explain about military might and how it effects the war around the world, like the United States using the first atomic bomb opening a new way in military technology. It also opened a new way in medical technology due to the aftermath effects of radiation on the Japanese people. Everyone should read this book because it gives you a new perspective on life and makes you appreciate the almost non-affeced western world in wars. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rosegoddess9 More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for a Japanese history class and it was amazing. I honestly think every person should read this book. There are a few things to note however... 1. If you're looking for a plot-driven story do not read this book. This book covers the accounts of several survivors of the atomic bomb so this isn't like filled with Good vs. Evil or plot twists, it is simply what happened. 2. It is graphic. I love horror movies and have watched them since I was little without any issue and even I got ill from reading some of the descriptions. 3. It can be confusing. The book is separated by time, not characters. By that I mean it is sectioned into like "before the bomb" "the bombing" "etc. Therefore the stories of the characters are intermixed and overlap. It's a little jarring to go between several characters quickly, especially if you don't remember names well. 4. This book isn't like World War Z where the characters are describing the events, instead it is described from third person so it gives it less of a realistic feeling. Just fyi. Even after those comments I would still recommend the book to everyone, it is heartbreaking and gives you another view of what happened during the war. It certainly won't be liked by everyone, no book ever is, but it is a fascinating read nonetheless.