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Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the…

Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the… (udgave 2020)

af Lesley M.M. Blume (Forfatter)

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828251,322 (4.21)4
Titel:Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World
Forfattere:Lesley M.M. Blume (Forfatter)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2020), Edition: Illustrated, 288 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Nøgleord:Hiroshima, Second World War, Japan, nuclear weapons, military atrocities, military psychology

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Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World af Lesley M. M. Blume



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A very compelling story. Its a perfect illustration of why Gore Vidal called this country the "United States of Amnesia". Without John Hersey, Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have completely faded away by the time Eisenhower was elected. ( )
  grandpahobo | Feb 14, 2021 |
"Journalism allows its readers to witness history. Fiction gives readers an opportunity to live it." John Hersey

This book presents the backstory on how John Hersey got the full story about the atomic aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima when no other journalist had been able to, and how his reporting, as ultimately set forth in his book Hiroshima became and remains one of the most important works of journalism ever created. Until Hersey's reporting appeared in the New Yorker, the US government had basically managed to hide the magnitude of what the bomb had done, its deadly aftereffects in terms of radiation sickness, and, importantly, the implications of potential nuclear warfare for humanity's future.

The power of Hersey's work was in its focus on individuals. Previously, the bomb was presented as a big bomb that could blow down lots of buildings. Hersey chose six individuals, and told their stories of how they experienced that day, rather than relying on statistics about the number of people killed or injured, or the square miles of property damaged.

The New Yorker was an unlikely publication for the story to first appear. The magazine was founded as a humor publication catering to "urban sophisticates" and ignoring "the little old lady in Dubuque." It devoted an entire issue to Hersey's piece, forgoing even its regular features. The cover of the issue was a fairly standard New Yorker cover, with little hint of what was to come in its pages when the magazine was opened.

Until Hiroshima appeared, "most of the reporting...had to do with the power of the bomb and how much damage it had done in the city," i.e. landscape and building destruction. Hersey and the New Yorker editors decided he would write about "what happened not to buildings, but to human beings." In choosing how to report the events, Hersey was influenced by Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey which detailed the lives of five people who met their fates when the bridge they were on broke. Hersey decided his goal was to tell the story from the victim's point of view, as they came to their "moment of shared disaster." Hersey determined that emphasizing minutiae, not grandeur, would be most effective at driving the point home. His goal was "to have the reader enter into the characters, become the characters, and suffer with them."

I don't know about you, but I read Hiroshima as a teenager, and was extremely affected by it. And based on the country's reaction to the piece when it appeared, and in the ensuing 70+ years, Hersey succeeded in achieving his goal.

The backstory of how Hersey achieved this was an interesting and informative read. I'm not quite sure that there's enough here to warrant a book rather than a magazine article, (if I had to guess I'd say that this book is longer than Hersey's work) but I'm glad I read it.

3 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Dec 30, 2020 |
This is the backstory behind the publication of John Hersey's article about Hiroshima in The New Yorker and then in book form. I hadn't known that not much was known about the results of the bombing because of intentional government silence until Hersey's article was published. Fascinating. ( )
  gbelik | Dec 28, 2020 |
Good NYT Book Review ( )
  MarianneAudio | Sep 4, 2020 |
I suppose it is not a coincidence that the publication of this new book coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing in August 1945.

In 1946 John Hersey visited Hiroshima and his subsequent story published in The New Yorker magazine and soon after as a book awakened the American public to what that big bomb really did.

This just published book reveals the story behind the story and if you ever had thoughts that big government cover-ups were a new thing, well, they are not. The author does a good job of describing the background against which Hersey and other journalists worked. Very interesting stuff.

There was a discussion of an Army Air Corps photographer who had been sent to Japan after the war film the effects of bombing on twenty Japanese cities. Hersey was told Hiroshima film footage was sent to Washington and would be classified for decades. I did a quick google and found one of the films:

There is a rather chilling story about the film and filmakers here: https://whowhatwhy.org/2015/08/08/hiroshima-secrets-part-3-death-and-suffering-i....

What this new book does is put Hersey's 'Hiroshima' in a different light for me. It made me realize that Hersey saved the world from a future nuclear war by revealing the truth about Hiroshima when he did in 1946.

Recommended. ( )
  RBeffa | Aug 30, 2020 |
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What has kept the world safe from the bomb since 1945 has been the memory of what happened at Hiroshima.
-John Hersey
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John Hersey later claimed that he had not intended to write an exposé.
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