A Critical Review Of John Hersey's Hiroshima

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The residents of Hiroshima, Japan began their day routinely on August 6, 1945. Some commuted to work or school, some sat down to read a newspaper, and some tended to the needs of their children. At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, all aspects of life as known to the city’s population of two hundred and forty five thousand people were decimated within an instant; it was an instant in which the first atomic bomb was dropped from an American plane, killing nearly one hundred thousand people and injuring another one hundred thousand more. In its original edition, John Hersey’s Hiroshima traces the lives of six survivors, beginning a few minutes prior to the bombing and covering the period directly thereafter. When the bomb detonates, the Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, a community leader and an American-educated Methodist pastor, throws himself between two large rocks and is hit with debris from a nearby house. Uninjured by the explosion, he helps transport people to a small park in the outskirts of the city as massive fires, whirlwinds,…show more content…
Hersey’s straight, simple narrative technique presents the catastrophe in its raw form, including the voices of those who experienced the bombing firsthand. He does so without showing bias or raising the question of whether or not the United States should have dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. While many citizens of Hiroshima “continued to feel a hatred for Americans which nothing could possibly erase,” (117) some, like Mrs. Nakamura, “remained more or less indifferent about the ethics of using the bomb.” (117). Despite mixed reactions of the people of Hiroshima themselves, never does the author condemn the decision to drop the bomb, nor does he condone
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