Shockwave: The Countdown to Hiroshima by Stephen Walker, 352pp £20
Another war history book, this time with tie-in to Japan and a manga reviewed a few weeks ago.
This is a countdown to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Continue reading “Countdown to Hiroshima”
Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kouno (hardback, 104pp, $14.95)
This manga book contains three interlinked stories about the survivors of an ordinary Japanese Hiroshima family, from 1945 to the present day. The stories cover three generations. The hibakusha, or bomb survivors, suffered both from radiation sickness and prejudice from those not exposed. I remember that when I was young, the Hiroshima victims were much discussed, but with the passage of time and mortality (the youngest first-generation hibakusha now being at least 66 years old) they have been forgotten.
This book, a charming if bitter-sweet approach to its subject, is a timely reminder. In the first story, in 1955 a dying hibakusha says “I wonder if the people who dropped the bomb are pleased with themselves – ‘Yes! Got another one!’ ”
The text is thought-provoking, while the art charmingly brings to life its homely characters.
If you want the military historian view of what led to this, you could do worse than read “Sealing Their Fate- Twenty-two days that decided the Second World War” by David Downing.