Sunday, November 10, 2019

Book Review: Eyewitness Testimonies: Appeals From The A-bomb Survivors by Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation

Published: July 15, 2003
Publisher: Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation
Read: June 4-5, 2018
Synopsis from Goodreads:
On August 6, 1945, the 350,000 people of Hiroshima experienced the cruel tragedy of the world's first atomic bombing. The conditions inflicted by that bomb transcend the capacity of words and even pictures to convey. Only those who were here at the time can know the full reality, and the survivors of that horror know from their experience that nuclear weapons are incompatible with human life on Earth. Many have spent their lives appealing constantly, "Never again! Nuclear weapons must be banned and eliminated." In this book, we present the thoughts, feelings, and memories of fifteen survivors (two of whom are now deceased). All have taken part in peace studies programs held by this Foundation, telling their A-bomb experiences to students who come to Hiroshima on school excursions. In addition, because so many Koreans and other non-Japanese were exposed to the bomb, we present a chapter contributed by an expert in that field.


This book is exactly what it sounds like. It's a collection of stories from people who survived the atomic bombing in Hiroshima during World War II. There's no way their stories couldn't have been powerful.

As many of the survivors have now passed away, it's incredibly important that their stories be collected while they're alive, and I'm glad that there's a book like this to serve as a record. (I bought this at the museum in Hiroshima where you can also watch countless recorded interviews with survivors that are perhaps even more powerful as you can hear their emotions as they speak.) I think this book holds tremendous value, and I'm thankful to have picked it up at the souvenir shop.

Many of the stories contain similar details (as you could imagine), but there is also a large diversity in the stories, as some were farther from the epicenter than others, were different ages, were with people or alone, etc. As you read, you feel as if you're getting an idea of the scope of the devastation as you read now just the survivor's story but the story of those around them too.

It's a heartbreaking book, but it's an incredibly important book.

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