Hiroshima Nagasaki

  • by Paul Ham
  • Narrated by Robert Meldrum
  • 20 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Nobody is more disturbed," said President Truman, three days after the destruction of Nagasaki in 1945, "over the use of the atomic bombs than I am, but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language [the Japanese] seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true."
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 100,000 instantly, mostly women, children, and the elderly. Many hundreds of thousands more succumbed to their horrific injuries later, or slowly perished of radiation-related sickness. Yet the bombs were "our least abhorrent choice", American leaders claimed at the time - and still today most people believe they ended the Pacific War and saved millions of American and Japanese lives. Ham challenges this view, arguing that the bombings, when Japan was on its knees, were the culmination of a strategic Allied air war on enemy civilians that began in Germany and had till then exacted its most horrific death tolls in Dresden and Tokyo.
The war in Europe may have ended but it continued in the Pacific against a regime still looking to save face. Ham describes the political manoeuvring and the scientific race to build the new atomic weapon. He also gives powerful witness to its destruction through the eyes of 80 survivors, from 12-year-olds forced to work in war factories to wives and children who faced it alone, reminding us that these two cities were full of ordinary people who suddenly, out of a clear blue summer's sky, felt the sun fall on their heads.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

While extraordinary, I can only give it 3 stars

This only rates a three because it drags, and it's so repetitive, I damned near cried a few times. It's a truly emotionally charged issue, and up front, let me just say it: I was one of those strident mouthy types who, without thought, pointed out that, after someone said, quite harshly, that the US was the only country to have used atomic weapons, we used them on a country, Japan, that was nowhere near the happy, pappy, anime loving people they are now. At the time of the use of atomic weaponry, there was some unspeakable brutality going on: in China, in the camps, in their very ideas on how life should be lived, in their code that it was better to spread death and die, than, well, here, suffice it to say: blah, blah, heinous, blah.
But Ham has made me rethink this with very indepth reporting of what was going on from all angles.
And therein lies the problem.
The humanity is lost.
You want the horror? You want to realize that what happened was wrong and that it happened to people who were just as misguided as any people who happened to follow leaders who led them astray? Read/listen to "Hiroshima Diary."
But skip the eeeeeeendlessssss politics that Ham wallows in. Brilliantly researched, yes. Well-narrated, without a doubt. Boring, holy cow, I'm off to take a nap!
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- Gillian "SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!"

Amazingly detailed and balanced account.

Paul Ham did a great job, the research is evident in the details and the story is very well balanced, many different perspectives and facts that go well beyond the surface.
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- Luis De Leon "Luis"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-17-2012
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd