The book starts out telling you that it's not about deciding whether dropping the bomb was right or wrong it's merely telling the story of those who experienced it.
It does a very good job of holding true to that statement.
Some portions of the story are very moving and emotional, and others were just outright fascinating. Well worth the time.
Henry Holt and Company has announced that it will no longer print, correct or ship copies of The Last Train from Hiroshima due to the discovery of dishonest sources of information for the book. According to the publisher: "Mr. Pellegrino has a long history in the publishing world, and we have been very proud and honored to publish his history of such an important historical event. But without the confidence that we can stand behind the work in its entirety, we cannot continue to sell this product to our customers."
It would not be my goal to criticize this work. It is a story that needs to be told and that we probably haven't heard well enough, having been on the other side. But in the end it is too much for me. At some point the story and informational value add versus the shock and grotesque balance went awry. I had to stop.
This book attempts to significantly revise history and it is full of undocumented facts that are technically incorrect. The publisher has withdraswn the book and bookstores have removed it from their shelves. Reports indicate that refunds are available from retailers.
Talk about the kettle spoiling the broth.
This is a Great Book.
But a very bad, nasal, senile narrator.
I found this book thoroughly engrossing through the first two thirds or so. The last part turned into an unnecessary rant against nuclear war. The author had already demonstrated through an excellent narrative that atomic warfare is genocidal to the core. The reading is well paced and easy to follow for the length of the book.
I wanted to explain my three star rating of this book. Let me first state that I think it is a must read for everyone. The horror of the Atomic Bomb has never been more clear to me after reading the first hand accounts of the survivors. It is a devastating book, and one that should not be read when you are feeling down already. The book finishes with a great message, omoiyari is something that I hope to embody in my life, and after reading this book I am sure you will as well.
This was a unique listening experience; the author describes, through eyewitness accounts, what happened within the epicenter when the atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The images are unreal, surreal, nightmarish, random and Daliesk. I thought he author was masterful in his weaving of events and accounts. His word pictures made me feel like I was seeing the events. This one is a real page turner.
The publisher pulled this book, so the only way you can obtain this books is by listening to it, or paying a lot of money for a collector's copy. Some of the stories, such as the one about an accident with the bomb shortly before the Enola Gay took off, or the story of the Japanese pilot flying through the mushroom cloud, are completely bogus. However, the story is still compelling, moving, horrifying.
The Last Train from Hiroshima first describes the many phases of destruction that make up an atomic blast. When we next read the stories of the survivors of the two 10 kiloton plus blasts, it makes their survival all the more extraordinary. They all survived, ironically, by being in the right place at the right time. One step further, then one of the forces would have vaporized them. Example: one survived from a barrier and plant filtering out the rays. Their clothing color also could make a difference--white would reflect off the radiation while black would absorve it and result in searing off the clothing and skin. The horrors that these people faced with the rays, explosion, fallout, and then, to add insult to injury, the fatal if swallowed black rain are unbelievable. And they faced those things twice! They were the only people in history to be at ground zero, and I pray that this will never happen again. The thought of terrorists setting off an atomic blast in our cities is even more horrifying after reading this book.