Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nagasaki - Life After Nuclear War

First - some of you know my mom is Japanese.  She grew up in southern Japan (really the southern part explains a lot-- ask Curt) and actually saw the atomic bomb over Nagasaki from a little more than 50 miles away.

So when I saw this book on the new book list at the library, I put a request in.  

This is an extremely well written book, that follows 5 survivors (all in their teens at the time of the blast- so only just barely older than my mom) from a few days before the bombing to the present (a few did pass in the last 10 years) it intersperses their lives with historical facts surrounding different events during this timeline (many I really had no idea about) their feelings, anger, guilt (Nagano against her parents wishes brought her younger brother and sister home from their grandparent's place in the country  because she was so crushingly lonely, and her brother died within days of massive burns, her sister died months later from radiation sickness, yet she lived) and when and what prompted them to publicly come out as hibakusha - survivors - despite fears of becoming outcasts and prejudice from others (which happened after radiation sickness started happening - other Japanese were afraid of contagion) and admitting to the still scarred injuries they spent their lives hiding.  Their voices were a core influence on anti-nuclear talks - a few even spoke to the UN. The use of the 5 survivors really humanizes the effects of the bombing, much more so than just the huge numbers that is hard to wrap around. 

(I've decided that future book review posts will be titled with the name of the book - after trying to find an older post recently)


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