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4.0 105
by John Hersey

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
On the basis of a return visit 40 years after the dropping of the bomb, Hersey has written a ``final chapter'' to one of the most important books to come out of World War II. The new chapter follows a reprint of the original text on the dropping of the first atomic bomb, and is written in the same spare, objective style. In it, Hersey brings up to date the lives of six survivors he covered so brilliantly in 1946. Once again he evokes the humdrum and the surreal elements in the aftermath of the bomb, and with eloquent simplicity he includes statements of other nations' nuclear tests. Compelling, unforgettable, and more timely than ever, this is absolutely essential for collections from junior high on. Robert H. Donahugh, Youngstown and Mahoning Cty. P.L., Ohio
Charles Poore
" Hiroshima "...is the the quitest, and the best, of all the stories that have been writen about the most spectacular explosion in the time of man. " Hiroshima " seems destined to become about the most widely read article and book of our generation.-- Books of the Century; New York Times review, November 1946

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Vintage Books edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.89(h) x 0.46(d)

Meet 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 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 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.
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One War, Six Survivors Hiroshima, a classic novel written by John Hersey in 1946, is a truly inspirational book. It traces the lives and dangerous experiences of six individuals (two doctors, two women, and two religious men).  Dr. Masakazu Fujii, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, Mrs. Toshiko Sasaki, Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, and Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto all go through daring and perilous journeys through the war just to survive in the end, even if it results in radiation sickness or severe injuries. After reading Hiroshima, the true meaning revealed itself. I believe that the theme or true meaning to Hiroshima is not about the reasons why the bombing of Hiroshima happened or to inform, but how something so devastating can bring together people as a community and work together. In chapter 4, John Hersey explains, “One feeling they did seem to share, however, was a curious kind of elated community spirit . . . a pride in the way they and their fellow-survivors had stood up to a dreadful ordeal.” I think the key words that should be recognized in this quote are “community spirit”. These two words are what fully support the major theme of this book. Reflecting on all the gruesome horror stories of the sicknesses and injures people experienced; it really makes the reader empathize what happened. What I really liked about this novel is that it strikes the readers emotions and explains the six survivors experiences, however, It annoyed me sometimes because the point of view kept changing throughout the entire book. It was hard to follow occasionally and it felt very disorganized even though the content was incredible. These flaws shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when deciding whether or not to read Hiroshima because it can be overlooked for the content. As much as I would love to reccommend other works by John Hersey, I cannot because I have not yet read any other novels written by him. However, Overall, i give this book 4 out of 5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
genius at work
FusionSM More than 1 year ago
Hiroshima is a non-fiction book that tells the stories of 6 survivors of the dropping of the first atomic bomb. The book started minutes before the bomb dropped and heated up quickly. The book is told in a very matter of fact manner, which means that is tells all the details without sugarcoating them. For instance, the author uses a lot of descriptions like this one, "their faces were wholly burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their cheeks" (68). Although the book is very graphic, intense, and sad, it is a good story and deserves a rating of 4 stars. It is a good book with great writing, but the way the story is told might not appeal to everyone and the content could be disturbing to a number of people. Overall the book is a good read and I recommend it if you can handle graphic content and immense sadness in a novel that tells the story of one of the greatest man-made tragedies the world has known thus far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the book, Hiroshima by John Hersey, and I thought it was pretty good. Not knowing really what to expect when I first read it, I was surprised by how much detailed description he had. I liked how each character had a totally different story. Some were tragic but others were not so bad. Overall, this book was just sad because to think that some one so sinister would do this to a populated city is so very wrong. I couldn't get over the fact that we Americans would do something so inhumane. I liked how John Hersey wrote the book, in like a sort of journal-like way. I would have enjoyed the book a little more if it were in 1st person narrations then 3rd, but that I just my opinion. I thought most of the characters acted calmly and well for such a big situation. One of them, Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, had to take care of herself and her children. She is also the one who went through the most, coming down with radiation sickness later in the book and having to go through poverty. This book was a good book for people who don't know what really happened in Hiroshima, and for those who want to know the untold stories of these six survivors. I loved this book, and I hope, for anyone who decides to read it, that they will love it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book, Hiroshima, by John Hersey, is a story about the struggle for survival for six defferent Japanese citizens during the bombing of Hiroshima. The book takes the reader from minutes to hours before the bomb was dropped in each person's perspectives. The six characters are Mrs. Nakamura, a tailor's widdow, Dr. Sasaki, a surgeon at the Red Cross Hospital, Father Kleinsorge, a German preist, Miss Sasaki, a young clerk working at a tin factory, Mr. Fujii, a doctor at a local clinic, and Mr. Tanimoto, a Methodist pastor. Throughout the story, each person struggles to survive sickness, sleep deprivation from helping the ill, and helping eachother to survive. I felt this book was an excellent book to read not only for school but for personal enjoyment. I read this book once for school, but later I decided to read it again because it was that good! I feel Hersey does a great job of adding the emotional effect to each page as the reader flips through the book. His writing style is fantastic because he is able to print the images (no matter how horrific) into the reader's mind to really keep the seriousness of the story present. This book also does a great job of showing readers the horror of the bombing and why the atomic bomb is such a dangerous weapon. Parts such as when Mr. Tanimoto is running through the debris and seeing all of the injured and dying people call for help really intensify the experience of reading this book. Overall, a very touching, fantastic book for readers at least in middle school. Hopefully this book will show people what war looks like at its ugliest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think the author of this book did an outstanding job of describing the chaos during the bomb dropping period. John Hersey described the scene vividly as the collapse of buildings, an ever flowing river of blood, and the pleas of people heard in the form of screams as they were desperate for help. It almost made the readers feel like they were in that situation. I would recommend this book to everyone, Not only because it is a historical fact, but also because there are a lot of valuable lessons in the book to be learned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Hiroshima by John Hersey he recollects the fateful day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 and how it affected the Japanese people. John Hersey touches on the delicate topic of the bombing by following the stories of six survivors and how they dealt and operated during this disaster and in time to come. I thought that an interesting aspect of the story was when the author went back to find the survivors many years after the event and see how their thoughts changed or stayed the same. I felt that this story was a very in depth view at the bombing and it made me realize that the "bombing of Hiroshima" that we all hear in history was not just the bombing of a place, but a bombing of real people. In some parts of the story the dialog got confusing and it was hard to tell the meaning of the paragraph. Overall this book had a powerful message and many moving points in the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who would love a good memoir that embodies a powerful meaning.