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Publisher's Summary

Last Train from Hiroshima offers a "you are there" time capsule, gracefully wrapped in elegant prose. At the narrative's core are accounts, some eyewitness and some to still be substantiated, of those who experienced the atomic explosions firsthand - both Japanese civilians and American fliers in the air. Thirty people are known to have fled Hiroshima for Nagasaki - where they arrived just in time to survive the second bomb. According to Pellegrino, one of them is the only person who experienced the full effects at ground zero both times. Pellegrino weaves spellbinding stories together within a narrative that challenges the "official report", showing what happened - and providing an explanation into the why.

Recently, there have been questions about the accuracy of some parts of this book. At this time, Audible will continue to make it available to our customers, but we wanted to make you aware of the issues.

A Note from Henry Holt and Company and Macmillan Books:

"It is with deep regret that Henry Holt and Company announces that we will no longer print, correct or ship copies of Charles Pellegrino's The Last Train from Hiroshima due to the discovery of dishonest sources of information for the book. It is easy to understand how even the most diligent author could be duped by a source, but we also understand that this opens that book to very detailed scrutiny. The author of any work of non-fiction must stand behind its content. We must rely on our authors to answer questions that may arise as to the accuracy of their work and reliability of their sources. Unfortunately, Mr. Pellegrino was not able to answer the additional questions that have arisen about his book to our satisfaction."

©2010 Charles Pellegrino (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Enormously painful to [hear], but absolutely essential to do so." (Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Gord
  • Okotoks, AB, Canada
  • 06-10-10

Engrossing....with a grain of salt

Given all the controversy that now surrounds this title and this author, I was very skeptical of First Into Nagasaki, but also very curious.

I could not stop listening to the first part of this book, it was simply so engrossing I could not stop. The second part of this book does lag, but after hearing some of the remarkable accounts, keeping the momentum would be a difficult task at the best of times.

This brings us to the controversy surrounding these accounts. It now appears that Joseph Fuoco never existed, or at least not in the capacity claimed by Mr. Pellegrino. What I find very interesting about this revelation is that the supposed accounts of Fuoco stand out from the others as somewhat of an anomaly. His recollections just seemed to have a delivery that stood out from the rest as sounding less than believable.

The moment I heard the Fuoco description of the ruins he could see from his vantage point aboard the third plane, I decided his account was totally fictitious. Simply, it was the fact that he was describing details that would not have been visible immediately after the detonation of a nuclear device.

This is not the place to find an education on the subject, there are other more authoritative and substantiated accounts on the nuclear bombings and subsequent aftermath in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Listen to this book as if it were playing out as a novel or better yet, a docu-drama on the Discovery Channel. Taken from this standpoint, it can be a very enjoyable listen.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Philip
  • PAPILLION, NE, United States
  • 02-12-10


This is my 4th book regarding the development and use of the atomic and hydrogen bombs. This one is more personal. It does not argue the politics or ethics about the need for or use of the bombs on Japan. It just tells the tale of the survivors. Narration is excellent. Physical descriptions of what happened are not for the weak at heart. Stories of those that were in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki when bombed are amazing.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I love the way this book is written. Charles Pellegrino wrote a passionate account of the destructive power unleashed over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All sides of the weapons are touched, from the pain unleashed on the people of Japan to those involved in America all the way to the very center of the atomic explosion. As if through the eyes of a physicist he walks you through every millisecond of the atomic reaction and the resulting effects with the articulation of a poet. I can't wait for Audible to record more of Charles Pellegrino's work.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


Any additional comments?

This wonderful, yet horrific book is one of the most interesting reads I've had in recent memory. Some of the imagery drawn by the author's words and survivors' stories have been forever etched into my brain. For example, I will now never be able to think about the WWII bombings without thinking of the confused, skin-less horse following an equally confused and devastated man from Hiroshima down the street as he looked for any trace of survivors...

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fascinating book

I highly recommend this book for all who want the complete story of the impact of the bomb.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Amazing read!

Amazing book! I couldn't stop listening. So very sad. Everyone should listen to this so everyone in the world knows how another atomic bomb isn't something to play with. Great book!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Thomas
  • mortton, IL, USA
  • 02-15-10

must read

This is a wonderful read; lots of facts; reader is very good; they should work together again.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeff
  • Simi Valley, CA, USA
  • 02-17-10

A Life Changing Experience

The short trailer provided is a good example of the entire book. For many years I've heard and read about the Atomic Bombs but everything was about the development and use of them. I've always wondered what it was like on the "Other Side" of the explosions. This book was so incredibly written that it answered all of my questions and more and it should be stated that the author takes no stand on the "Right or Wrong" of the use of these weapons. I'm 55 (European-American) and my best friend is 62 (Japanese-American), we listened to it together. We both agree that the knowledge absorbed by hearing what really happened literally changed us - for the better. This book should be included in any teaching of the history of World War II and it's final conclusion. What the people experienced that day transcends Race or Social perspective. I have no experience to compare to how this book made me feel. Let's all pray for peace.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Erin
  • Ottawa, IL, USA
  • 02-25-10

Compelling story

The story is one that was needed to be told. I live in Japan and have been to Hiroshima (but not yet Nagasaki). The Peace Park is a place where every leader of every country should visit. It is too bad that every high school student in the world can't make a school trip there. This book can bring that experience to those who can't travel there.
The narration could have been much better. I haven't listened to too many audio books and though I judged the narrator's unemotional and flat tone to be somewhat appropriate for the telling of this story, his poor pronunciation of Japanese words and names was distracting.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sandra
  • Sacramento, CA USA
  • 02-22-10

Compelling read!

First book I've read on Hiroshimas and Nagasaki. The author has an amazing talent with words, even in describing two of the most horrible events in history. Bringing personal details from survivors into the story makes it very human and very real. I would hope excerpts would be required reading in High schools, as well as the message from Dr. Nagai, Love thy Neighbors, Do unto others, Pay it forward.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful