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  • Published: 15 October 2024
  • ISBN: 9780593472255
  • Imprint: Dutton
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 560
  • RRP: $69.99
Categories:

Hiroshima

The Last Witnesses



In this vividly rendered historical narrative, M.G. “Bucky” Sheftall layers the stories of hibakusha—the Japanese word for atomic bomb survivors—in harrowing detail, to give a minute-by-minute report of August 6, 1945, in the leadup and aftermath of the world-changing bombing mission of Paul Tibbets, Enola Gay, and Little Boy. These survivors and witnesses—who now have an average age over ninety-years-old—are quite literally the last people who can still provide us with reliable and detailed testimony about life in their cities before the bombings, tell us what they experienced on the day those cities were obliterated, and give us some appreciation of what it has entailed to live with those memories and scars during the subsequent 70-plus years.

Sheftall has spent years personally interviewing survivors who lived well into the twenty-first century, allowing him to construct portraits of what Hiroshima was like before the bomb, and how catastrophically its citizens’ lives changed in the seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, and years afterwards. He stands out among historians due to his fluency in spoken and written Japanese, and his longtime immersion in Japanese society that has allowed him, a white American, the unheard-of access to these atomic bomb survivors in the waning years of their lives. Their trust of him is evident in the personal and traumatic depths he reaches in recording their stories.

The horrors this book details are impossible to look away from, and that is, of course, the point. Hiroshima will serve as cautionary tales about the dangers of nuclear weapons and remind a modern reader of the human travesty of atomic warfare.

The first volume in a two-book series about each of the atomic bomb drops that ended the Pacific War based on years of irreplicable personal interviews with survivors to tell a story of devastation and resilience

In this vividly rendered historical narrative, M. G. Sheftall layers the stories of hibakusha—the Japanese word for atomic bomb survivors—in harrowing detail, to give a minute-by-minute report of August 6, 1945, in the leadup and aftermath of the world-changing bombing mission of Paul Tibbets, Enola Gay, and Little Boy. These survivors and witnesses, who now have an average age over ninety years old, are quite literally the last people who can still provide us with reliable and detailed testimony about life in their cities before the bombings, tell us what they experienced on the day those cities were obliterated, and give us some appreciation of what it has entailed to live with those memories and scars during the subsequent seventy-plus years.

Sheftall has spent years personally interviewing survivors who lived well into the twenty-first century, allowing him to construct portraits of what Hiroshima was like before the bomb, and how catastrophically its citizens’ lives changed in the seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, and years afterward. He stands out among historians due to his fluency in spoken and written Japanese, and his longtime immersion in Japanese society that has allowed him, a white American, the unheard-of access to these atomic bomb survivors in the waning years of their lives. Their trust in him is evident in the personal and traumatic depths they open up for him as he records their stories.

Hiroshima should be required reading for the modern age. The personal accounts it contains will serve as cautionary tales about the horror and insanity of nuclear warfare, reminding them—it is hoped—that the world still lives with this danger at our doorstep.

  • Published: 15 October 2024
  • ISBN: 9780593472255
  • Imprint: Dutton
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 560
  • RRP: $69.99
Categories:

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