Review: Hiroshima, by John Hersey

John Hersey’s account of the lives of six survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was first published just a year after the events. Despite the passage of more than seventy years, the work endures, as moving now as it was when first published in 1946.

The book was updated forty years later, so we now know what happened to all six people and their families.

Probably the most shocking moment in the whole book was this one: In May 1955, one of the survivors, Kiyoshi Tanimoto, who was visiting the US, was given an unexpected starring role in the NBC television series “This Is Your Life”. Tanimoto had no idea what was happening, and his shock is palpable when the studio brings out as a surprise guest Captain Robert Lewis, the copilot of the Enola Gay, which carried out the bombing.

This incredibly insensitive movement comes at the end of a short book which cries out for sensitivity, for understanding, for empathy.

Nuclear weapons must never be used again, ever.