The late Dr. Michihiko Hachiya was director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital when the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Though his responsibilities in the appalling chaos of a devastated city were awesome, he found time to record the story daily, with compassion and tenderness. Dr. Hachiya's compelling diary was originally published by the UNC Press in 1955, with the help of Dr. Warner Wells of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was a surgical consultant to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission and who became a friend of Dr. Hachiya. In a new foreword, John Dower reflects on the enduring importance of the diary 50 years after the bombing.
©1983, 1995 The University of North Carolina Press. Foreword by John W. Dower by the University of North Carolina Press. (P)2014 Tantor
"An extraordinary literary event." (The New York Times)
I have always known the Western story of Hiroshima - how the bombing brought an end to the War, and our Diggers came home from their frightful Japanese prison camps.
Listening to this book gave me the totally different viewpoint of the people directly affected by the first atomic bomb.
How grievously terrible was their situation, yet how wonderfully the human spirit coped with this total destruction of their world. Dr Hachiya and his friends show incredible humanity and even humour in the midst of ghastliness and horror.
Unfortunately, because of the shocking descriptions of the aftermath of the atomic bomb, this book will probably not get the wide reading that it should.
It serves as a monument to the necessity of retaining Peace in our world where we are all human.
"Skip the 30min intro."
First 30min segment is filled with spoilers and foreword writer tries to explain things to you like you are five that what you must think of each situation that foreword writer picks from the actual book. Book part it self is excellent listen.
"So Many Horrors at Once"
While doing research for my second novel, which is actually supposed to be quite uplifting, I stumbled onto "Hiroshima Diary," and I was hooked from the sample. If I'd hoped to get a sense of what it was like/the devastation of nuclear horror from Paul Ham's "Hiroshima, Nagasaki," and didn't find it there, I certainly found it here. This is the diary of a single man, a doctor, badly wounded at first, so he can observe, firsthand, how pathetic and hopeless/helpless he is, just to be parked there, waiting for treatment with such poor options, such few supplies.
Bur through it all, the patients, the doctors, the visitors, all the survivors, for the most part have hope and heart. It's a truly extraordinary listen as these people strive to make do, strive to help each other, strive to bring some sense of cheer to some horrific days. A young girl whose entire body is burned but whose face is still beautiful is made to smile--that's seen as a miracle and part of a good day. Supplies, however meager, being brought in, are part of a good day. Memories of peaches brought by somebody who survived the bomb are brought to mind, and are relished with gratitude. A breeze on a bitterly hot day, so wonderful.
This is a graphic, graphic listen, not for the faint of heart, not for the young.
But certainly for those who would like to learn a little more, feel a little more, love and appreciate their world a little more.
And it did what Paul Ham's book didn't do: It made me shudder for my part in humankind...
"A Grim Masterpiece."
It made me think of Hiroshima differently. I only knew the story from the American side. The is the story from the Japenese side. It's a horrific tale and I'm unsure about the morality of dropping the atom bomb. I enjoyed the splendid narration by Robertson Dean.
It told the truth of the event with superb narration.
The good doctor who wrote the diary.
No but it's still an emotional listen.
The horror, the horror!
I specifically read this in preparation for my visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. And yes, it obviously enriched my experience. For anyone planning to visit Hiroshima I would make this an essential pre-visit read.
The tone of the writing is fascinating. Extremely unemotional; a little detached even. Which, in itself, is a really curious window into the mind of the author. It’s hard to say this one man represents the fortitude of the entire population of the time… but through Dr. Hachiya’s lens the Japanese people definitely do seem stoic. Interestingly, most of the anger for their plight seems to be reserved for the Japanese armed forces with very little animosity toward the United States.
For those with any kind of scientific or medical bent… a good percentage of the diary describes the clinical symptoms of those “survivors” suffering from radiation poisoning, which is both mesmerizing and horrific. I say “survivors” but in reality, many of those who survived the blast but were exposed to radiation, eventually died.
"There is only one way in which one can endure man's inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one's own life, to exemplify man's humanity to man."
-- Alan Paton
"Good Point of View"
I had read a similar book but it was narrated by an European POV staying in Hiroshima on the day of the events. This gave more insight into a Native's emotions about the bomb, losing the war, the love for their Emperor, the distrust of their military, and the quick adaptation to the occupation forces.
I enjoyed it.
It was also entertaining to hear the narrator try to speak like old Saeki-san :)
I just stumbled upon this book and I'm glad I did, what an interesting account from Hiroshima in the hours, days, weeks, months after the bomb was dropped. I love reading first hand accounts of history like this, written in the moment and not done with a revisionist agenda, it's just a diary of the day to day happenings and news as it occurred. I only wish it covered more territory, in particular more about the occupation, etc. I skipped the intro as I just wanted to hear the actual diary so I have no idea if that's just a bunch of anti-nuke nonsense or not, but the actual diary itself is a great and very interesting read.
The reader does a great job, the characters/individuals are easy to tell by their voice and he stays consistent. I don't know Japanese so I have no idea if he pronounced things correctly or not, but it sounded good to my ear.
If you want the diary of a doctor in post-Hiroshima, this is as good as it gets.
"Completely different insight"
You've heard the military tactics and you've know the horrendous stories that pull on your heart strings, but this is a unique insight into the human psyche. It is a day by day account showing an honest, human perspective coping with defeat and devastation.
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