Tuesday, August 02, 2005

New Books on Atomic Bombs

I am a subscriber to "The Good Book Guide (GBG)" [1] published in England. This month we have the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So, the August issue of the GBG lists some books on atomic bombs published or republished recently.

In the "History" section of the GBG, the book "Shock Wave: The Countdown to Hiroshima" [2] written by Stephen Walker is introduced with these words: "The author is an award-winning film maker, and that pictorial essence is evident throughout the narrative. A stunning chronicle of one of the 20th-century's defining moments."

In the same column John Hersey's "Hiroshima" is also mentioned. This book was first published in 1985, and now a paperback edition is available [3]. Hersey interviewed six Hiroshima survivors in 1946, and forty years later he returned to discover how the same six people have coped with the catastrophe and with crippling disease.

In the "Discovery" section of the GBG, the book "Before the Fall-out: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima" [4] written by Diana Preston is an editor's choice. This book is introduced to be the illuminating one that describes how fascinating personalities from Marie Curie to Robert Oppenheimer thought and how they interacted with the world around them.

The column for Preston's book includes another book, "The Bomb: A Life" [5] written by Gerard DeGroot. In this book, the author traces the history of atomic warfare back to June 1917 when Germany bombed a London school, killing 18 children, and reveals the personalities of those caught up in a horrific arms race. After the first half of the previous sentence, the introduction in the GBG writes, "Just over 28 years later the US dropped the world's first atomic bomb on a Nagasaki hospital, destroying the city and killing more than 150,000 people." This is wrong; the first atomic bomb was dropped, not on Nagasaki, but on Hiroshima.

I wish that these books make more and more people the world over think seriously about the comprehensive ban of nuclear weapons.

  1. The Good Book Guide.
  2. Stephen Walker, Shock Wave: The Countdown to Hiroshima (John Murray, 2005).
  3. John Hersey, Hiroshima (Ishi Press, 2009; Penguin, 2002; first published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1985).
  4. Diana Preston, Before the Fall-out: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima (Doubleday, 2005; paperback edition published by Corgi, 2006).
  5. Gerard DeGroot, The Bomb: A Life (Pimlico, 2005; paperback edition published by Harvard University Press, 2006).


  1. Hi Tatsu,

    I'm happy that you "revived" this blog post in twitter, so I can see this list of books I did not know.
    I'm wandering if a similar list of movies/documentaries on the Atomic Bombs exists, too.
    Do you know anything about something like this?

    I'm not a special movie fan, but I am working on a little side project for a master course in science-communication that I'm doing (I mentioned it to you briefly) and so I'm doing some research. At the moment for the project I'm more focused on nuclear power plants and so on, but my own interest draws me towards nuclear weapon related issues.

    Incidentally, my search led me to see the segments entitled "Mount Fuji in red" and "The weeping demon" form Akira Kurosawa's movie "Dreams" and I liked both.

    Sorry for the slightly off-topic digression, I take note of the title of the books!

  2. Hi Chiara, thanks for your comment.

    I have made a search on Google by using key words "documentary film atomic bomb" and found the followings at the top of the list:

    •Trinity and Beyond: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_and_Beyond
    •The Last Atomic Bomb: http://www.richtervideos.com/TheLastAtomicBomb/
    •Documentary Films Tell the Story of Atomic Bomb Survivors - "Witness to Hiroshima" and "Atomic Mom": http://studentsagainstwar.net/2010/10/05/documentary-films-tell-the-story-of-atomic-bomb-survivors/
    •Nuclear Tipping Point: http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/nuclear_tipping_point
    •"Effects of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki": http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/virtual/VirtualMuseum_e/exhibit_e/exh0902_e/exh090207_e.html

    More useful entries might be found in the list of hit. I have also found a list of films on atomic bombs made in Japan (19 titles in Japanese and years of release). If you like to see the list in English, I will translate this list into English.

  3. Thanks a lot. I think this first list you gave me is enough for the moment, actually it provides a lot of information material!