July 26, 2007
John Hersey wrote a book about six individuals that survived the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. There are five chapters about various events that took place to just hours before what the author calls “The Aftermath” but I would call an epilogue. This book was written originally in 1946 and the final chapter was written in 1985, forty years after the bomb was dropped.
The first chapter begins in the morning of August 6, 1945, in Hiroshima, Japan. At 7:00 am air raid sirens warn of an incoming bombing raid. About an hour later the all-clear siren sounds. From a group of three B-29s, one plane drops the atomic bomb, killing 100,000 of the 245,000 people in Hiroshima; those that survived was either by chance, fate, decisions made in the moment, and/or luck. After a review of what happened that morning, Hersey then tells of the morning and immediate effect on the six people interviewed and gained their insight to what had happened.
The first page of the book states what each person was doing the instant before the bomb was dropped.
Miss Toshinki Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just turned her head to chat with a girl at the next desk. Dr. Masakazu Fujii, a physician, had just sat down to read the paper on the porch of his private hospital. Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a tailor’s widow, was watching a neighbor from her kitchen window. Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German priest, lay on a cot in the mission house reading a Jesuit magazine. Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, a young surgeon, walked along a hospital corridor with a blood specimen for a Wasserman test. The Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, pastor of the Hiroshima Methodist Church, was about to unload a cart of clothes at a rich man’s home in the suburbs.
This gives a brief idea what each person was doing right before there was a great flash “Like a gigantic photographic flash” according to Dr. Sasaki. Some were...