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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  50,598 ratings  ·  2,440 reviews
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 th
Paperback, Reprint, 152 pages
Published March 4th 1989 by Vintage (first published 1946)
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Tony Hersey himself published "Hiroshima: The Aftermath. Survivors’ stories."
in the July 15, 1985 issue of The New Yorker Magazine (the same magazine that…more
Hersey himself published "Hiroshima: The Aftermath. Survivors’ stories."
in the July 15, 1985 issue of The New Yorker Magazine (the same magazine that published his watershed "Hiroshima" in the Aug. 24, 1946 issue).

The magazine has kindly placed the entire text of this follow-up online (together with Hersey's original 1946 reporting):

Also see:
Angie My 13 year old son listened to it and he was fine. There are some gruesome details in it but not enough to deter him from not listening. In the middle…moreMy 13 year old son listened to it and he was fine. There are some gruesome details in it but not enough to deter him from not listening. In the middle of the book it is a bit scientific, but nevertheless, still interesting.(less)

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Paquita Maria Sanchez
This book will:

1) Make you cry. A lot. You will cry on your cigarette break at work so that when you go back to your desk, your coworker will see your ragged eyes and think you just got dumped over the phone or found out your cat died. No, you were just reading about something roughly one googolplex worse, but you won't even bother trying to explain because your coworker couldn't give two shits about world history, and hadn't even heard about the 2011 mass murder in Oslo until you explained it t
Diane S ☔
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It seems almost indecent to put a rating on this book, I feel as if I am giving all these poor people's horrific suffering an excellent. Yet this is a very powerful book, told in a matter of fact, reporting tone and it is an account that puts a human face to this devastation. By following certain survivors we come to see and in my case to care greatly about these poor people. How much suffering and horror this bomb caused, on innocent people at the mercy of their emperor's decisions. People like ...more
Jason Koivu
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, non-fiction


Utterly shame-enducing.

In Hiroshima Hersey has cobbled together the tales of a handful of survivors and woven them effortlessly through his narrative to create a spellbinding history lesson not to be forgotten. The engrossing eye-witness stories are horrifying, too real, and charged with emotion and drama without the least bit of induced melodrama. There's no need. Hiroshima shows that truth is far more terrible than fiction.
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
I went old school with this one: I printed out the original version of John Hersey's article from The New Yorker's Web site so I could read it in its original three-columns-per-page format and surrounded by advertisements for Chesterfield cigarettes, U.S. Savings Bonds, Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey, Rosalind Russell in RKO's "Sister Kenny," Bell System Overseas Telephone Service, and Knox the Hatter, on Fifth Avenue at Fortieth Street.

This is the editorial note that ran with Hersey's story
Timothy Miyahara
Let me start with a preambular warning: do NOT buy the Amazon kindle edition which is missing Chapter 5. This is the eBook edition published by Pickle Partners (ASIN B00QU4BBTY). Chapter 5 is the John Hersey follow up 40 years later telling the story of the main characters after the original magazine article in 1946. The "illustrated" kindle edition does not disclose that it includes only the 1946 magazine article text. Read a physical edition published after 1989 for a more complete picture.
Steven Godin
On August 6th, 1945, the people of Hiroshima will witness the darkest of days, as at 8.15am a vision of hell on earth shall arrive on their doorsteps, the atomic bomb. 100,000 men, women and children lost their lives with countless more seriously burned, injured and mentally scared for life. This is the story of six survivors including doctors, priests and parents who show great courage, strength and determination at a time of complete and utter chaos to help whose in need. Using a simple prose ...more
Arnab Paul
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2-memoir
১৯৪৫ সালের ৬ অগাসট, সকাল সোয়া আটটায় পৃথিবীর পরথম পারমাণবিক বোমাটি বিসফোরিত হল জাপানের হিরোশিমা শহরে। মানুষজনকে নিরাপদে মেরে ফেলার সহজতম উপায় আর কী হতে পারে? বোমা বিসফোরণের কেনদরে ৬০০০ ডিগরি সেনটিগরেড তাপমাতরা ছিল। ৪ কিলোমিটার বযাসারধের সবকিছু ঝলসে যায়। মারা যায় লকষাধিক, যার ২৫% সাথে সাথে, ৫০% পরের কয়েকদিনে আর বাকিটুকু বছর গড়িয়ে।বিসফোরণের হাইপোসেনটারের ৫০০ মিটারে কোন মানুষের চিহন খুঁজে পাওয়া যায়নি, উবে যাবার আগে দেয়ালে কিছু ছায়ামূরতি তৈরি হয়েছিল!
জন হারসে আমেরিকান সাংবাদিক, ১৯৪৬ সালে হিরোশিমা গি
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was 2 when Chernobyl blew up, it was a perfect sunny day (or so I'm told). The airborne nuclear waste was making its way through Poland over to Norway. My parents were pruning blackberry bushes, getting weeds out from between the carrots and the parsnips, blissfully unaware of the horrors going on few hundred km to the east. Little Kasia was helping them out pulling out baby beets with a great enthusiasm. Basking in the toxic sun. The reactor collapse was made public days after the explosion a ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Do not work primarily for money; do your duty to patients first and let the money follow; our life is short, we don't live twice; the whirlwind will pick up the leaves and spin them, but then it will drop them and they will form a pile.”

Stunning Book+ report on Atomic Bomb explosion by US on Japan during WWII.
Special piece of writing and all data's near-about the Facts.
It expressed frantically , by different perceptions.
Reveals by various person was remained alive and their efforts made in tha

یک کتاب از هر کشور: 2. ژاپن

Political Location Map of Japan

فکر نکنم کسی باشه که از این فاجعه چیزی به گوشش نرسیده باشه. اسم شهر هیروشیما و ناکازاکی همیشه بمب اتم رو همراه با خودش میاره
ولی اینکه بودن در شهری که بالای سرش اولین بمب اتم منفجر میشه و حداقل صد و پنجاه هزار نفر رو می کشه ولی تو به طرز عجیبی زنده می مونی چطوریه؟ چه چیزهایی می بینی؟ چی میشه که نجات پیدا می کنی؟

تعدادی از نجات یافته ها تجربه هولناکشون رو شرح می دن. از نور درخشان، از حرارتی چندین برابر خورشید، از شدت تخریب و پدیده های عجیبی که فقط یک بمب اتم می تونه به و
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-ww2, history
I always wondered if those atomic bombs had not been dropped, would that have increased the chances some other president or other country might have dropped one later in history? Did they serve as a deterrent once everyone witnessed the results?

Or this question: If there were survivors, why not practice hiding under your desk? Maybe it could save your life?

Or this: If you were a soldier fighting the Japanese, would you want the bombs dropped?

The Japanese avoided using the word "survivors." In
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
It is not often that I find myself unable to convey the magnitude of importance a book has - but that is exactly where I am at when trying to describe this book. Read it - look at our world - try to get others to read it - hopefully a critical mass of common sense will implode in our collective hearts.
Most painful and most disturbing even after seventy years.

KOJIRI Tsutomu; Shrine gate and the Hiroshima Dome.
[Image taken from Children of the Atomic Bomb; used without permission]
(see status updates for more images)
Very good book where the author follows the lives of several survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima.

4 Stars = It gave me much food for thought.
Jr Bacdayan
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We've all heard about the Atomic bomb, whether it's the Scientific or Military point of view, it's always referred to as something majestic and always entails awe and power. John Hersey's journalistic master-piece uses a different approach, it uses the humanistic view towards the use of the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Mr. Hersey writes it in a matter-of-fact way. Cold, detached, and straight to the point. He doesn't add drama or enhances the material, the blunt truth is enough to make it affecting ...more
J. Watson (aka umberto)
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, japan
3.75 stars

Since many years ago I've seen this book on display in various bookstores in Bangkok and abroad but I didn't have any motive to buy a copy to read. Till I read some books written as more and more voices that reflect the atomic bomb aftermath in Hiroshima in 1945 before the end of World War II. For example, "The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath" (Grove Press 1985) edited by Kenzaburo Oe, "Hiroshima Diary" (The University of North Carolina Press 1995) by Michihiko Hac
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, favorites
This book is amazing as you can't put it down although it is such a sad true story. It is told from eye witness accounts and relatives generations after. The day the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The story is told in the days before and after and gets you thinking about more than just the minutes during the actual detonation. In the days leading up to the event many planes fly over, some drop bombs but the Japanese go about their daily business, only scattering if it lands in the same bu ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it
This is one of those books I meant to read years ago but never found the time, even considering the short length. I knew the book began as an article Hersey published in The New Yorker, roughly one year after the events described. I am surprised this book did not effect me more. Not that I planned to be lost in newly discovered grief but I am afraid that the knowledge I already possessed about this period deadened my reaction to Hersey's words. I have read more terrifying accounts but I am sure ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Today's world leaders, especially Trump, should read this book. In the case of Trump, who by his own reporting doesn't read, maybe he could have someone else read it for him and break it down point by point into twitter style updates.

Just saying...Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Read this with my soon to be 9th grader and found it worthwhile as it is a great book to provoke discussion of the real costs of war, human and otherwise, as well as the complex moral issues
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book had its disturbing moments but it was very exciting.The book described the experience that these six survivors had after the atomic bomb was dropped on the city,Hiroshima. Jhon Hersey included even the smallest but most dramatic details from their stories. Not just researching but to acctually talk to the people who witness this horrible event was brilliant. It is a serious and definitly captivating book.I truly reccomend this book to those who enjoy exciting world histroy book.
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The horrifying testimonies of six civilians in the days after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, included are an impressive set of pictures, particularly chilling are the before and after photos. A must read.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction

Primero fue la bomba (explosión silenciosa, luz cegadora). Unos segundos después, el cielo se oscurece, se hace de noche. Empieza a llover, unas gotas demasiado grandes como para ser normales. Es la famosa black rain de la fisión nuclear. Ahora viene el fuego, que durante muchas horas arrasa con la mayoría de las construcciones de la ciudad. La bomba cayó exactamente a las 8.15 de la mañana. Lo que pasó en esos primeros segundos -indescriptible para los que lo vivieron-, resultó en 100.000 muert
Dhanaraj Rajan
Feb 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
On 6th August, 1945 the first ever Atomic bomb was dropped on humanity. The location was Hiroshima in Japan. A lively city that was touted to be the capital of Japan at the fall of Tokyo in World War II was in a moment turned into a dead city with nothing but ruins.

A Sample Picture:


The devastation conceded some the existence of some 'survivors' - the Japanese government did not want to use the word survivors for it was in a way rendering disrespect to those who had perished. So the word used was
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
'When he had penetrated the bushes, he saw there were about twenty men, and they were all in exactly the same nightmarish state: their faces were wholly burned, their eyesockets were hollow, the fluid from their melted eyes had run down their cheeks. [...] Their mouths were mere swollen, pus-covered wounds, which they could not bear to stretch enough to admit the spout of the teapot.' (pp.51-52)

Really powerful account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, its immediate impact on
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, nonfiction
I read this very quietly. And I don’t mean by isolating myself in a silent room. Quietly as in with careful consideration of the words Hersey uses. It’s a book that reads very serenely. Isn’t that strange and awful?

Hiroshima covers the stories of six survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on 6th August, 1945. This is one of those brief covered topics in school that is difficult to talk about even 70 years after the event. Difficult because it shouldn’t be so hard to separate th
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deferential account of the Hiroshima bombing. It is told through the lives of six people – a Christian priests, two doctors, a mother of three and a clerk. It is not sensational at all and people who have been numbed by watching too many zombie movies might not enjoy it. John Hershey gives us a short account of the lives of each character and what they were doing on the morning that the bomb hit. These short accounts tell us what Japanese society was like during the war. The Christian priest i ...more
ETA: Check out these two books too:

Truman (My review:

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (My review:


Remember, my rating is in no way a judgment of the suffering of those who lived through or died as a result of the events that occurred in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.Although it does feel wrong to give this book anything but five stars, my reaction
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The writer takes a strictly journalistic and impersonal approach to his reporting on the bombing of Hiroshima. This is meant to leave readers to form their own conclusions on the ethical aspects of this disaster. Perhaps, at the time this story was published in its entirety by the New Yorker, there was little knowledge or comprehension in the West about the horrible effects of this "greatest achievement of organized science in history" (excerpt from statement by US President Harry Truman who ord ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
A very interesting non-fiction, heart-rending story of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in August of 1945. It follows six people who survived, and the story is told in such a way that the reader can follow what happened chronologically through time and see what the people there went through. So sad :'(
Fuad Al Fidah
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
হিরোশিমা আর নাগাসাকি, মানব সভযতার দুটো লজজার নাম। কী হয়েছে, কেন হয়েছে ইতযাদির পেছনে অনেক যুকতি বা অনেক বযাখযা দাঁড় করাবার চেষটা করা হতো আগে, এখন মনে হয় তাতে কাজ হবে না ধরে নিয়ে গিলটি পারটি দোষ সবীকার করেই নেয়। সেই লজজাজনক ইতিহাসের বিসতারিত বিবরণ এই বই।

পরথমে বলি বইটার ভালো দিক নিয়ে- আমি সাধারণত নন-ফিকশন বই পড়তে পারি না। এর আগে কয়েকটা টরাই করেছিলাম, টানেনি। সেই হিসেবে এটাই পরথম। জন হারসি সাংবাদিক বলে, ভেবেছিলাম এটাও পরবনধ মতো হবে। কিনতু পড়তে গিয়ে সেই ভুল ভেংগে গিয়েছে। একেবারে গলপের আদলে লেখা বই। ঘ
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John Richard Hersey was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so-called New Journalism, in which storytelling devices of the novel are fused with non-fiction reportage. Hersey's account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was adjudged the finest piece of journalism of the 20th century by a 36-member ...more
“Do not work primarily for money; do your duty to patients first and let the money follow; our life is short, we don't live twice; the whirlwind will pick up the leaves and spin them, but then it will drop them and they will form a pile.” 31 likes
“There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.” 23 likes
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