Hiroshima (book)

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Hiroshima, a New Journalistic account of the Hiroshima bombing by Pulitzer-Prize winning author John Hersey, has sold over three million copies and remains in print to date, as one of the most significant texts of post-war literature.


  • They still wonder why they lived when so many others died. Each of them counts many small items of chance or volition—a step taken in time, a decision to go indoors, catching one streetcar instead of the next that spared him. And now each knows that in the act of survival he lived a dozen lives and saw more death than he ever thought he would see. At the time, none of them knew anything.
    • Chapter 1
  • He felt a sudden pressure, and then splinters and pieces of board and fragments of tile fell on him. He heard no roar. (Almost no one in Hiroshima recalls hearing any noise of the bomb…)
    • Chapter 1
  • At the terminus, he caught a streetcar at once. (He later calculated that if he had taken his customary train that morning, and if he had had to wait a few minutes for the streetcar, as often happened, he would have been close to the center at the time of the explosion and would surely have perished.)
    • Chapter 1
  • They could not move a bit under such a heavy fence and then smoke entered into even a crack and choked their breath. One of the girls begun to sing Kimi ga yo, national anthem, and others followed in chorus and died. Meanwhile one of them found a crack and struggled hard to get out. When she was taken in the Red Cross Hospital she told how her friends died, tracing back in her memory to singing in chorus our national anthem. They were just thirteen years old.
    • Chapter 4
  • It would be impossible to say what horrors were embedded in the minds of the children who lived through the day of the bombing in Hiroshima. On the surface, their recollections, months after the disaster, were of an exhilarating adventure.
    • Chapter 4
  • Dr. Sasaki, who had himself suffered nothing but this last, paid little or no attention to any of these revelations. He did not follow them closely in the medical journals. In his town in the hills, he treated few hibakusha. He lived enclosed in the present tense.
    • Chapter 5
  • Sister Sasaki made a speech: "I shall not dwell on the past. It is as if I had been given a spare life when I survived the A-bomb. But I prefer not to look back. I shall keep moving forward.
    • Chapter 5
  • On the sea voyage, an ambitious idea grew in his mind. He would spend his life working for peace. He was becoming convinced that the collective memory of the hibakusha would be a potent force for peace in the world, and that there ought to be in Hiroshima a center where the experience of the bombing could become the focus of international studies of means to assure that atomic weapons would never be used again.
    • Chapter 5

Quotes About[edit]

  • [Hiroshima has become] part of our ceaseless thinking about world wars and nuclear holocaust.
    • Roger Angell (July 31, 1995). "From the Archives, "Hersey and History"". The New Yorker. p. 66.

External links[edit]

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