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The Last Train from Hiroshima

The Survivors Look Back
Narrated by: Arthur Morey
Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (377 ratings)

Regular price: $29.95

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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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • PAPILLION, NE, United States
  • 02-12-10

Excellent

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Awsome

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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unbelievable...

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
    5 out of 5 stars

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
    5 out of 5 stars

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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great, but I wish I listened to updated version

When I was a freshman in college at the University of Minnesota, my second semester physics teacher showed us a movie which was raw footage of the aftermath of the Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion, filmed by American military I believe. It showed the utter devastation of the city and the horrific effects the bomb had on survivors, many of them were almost unrecognizable as human. The images made me almost sick to my stomach and I remember sitting in the grass on the mall for a long time after class until my head and stomach cleared.

The first chapter of The Last Train From Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back described in scientific detail the composition and absolutely incredible and unfathomable power of the two atomic bombs: Little Boy and Fat Man. Most of the rest of the book is comprised of anecdotes of post-bomb experiences and images as told by survivors. Mixed in are the stories of the two bombing crews themselves- what they went through and the dangers they faced transporting these powerful but sensitive weapons through enemy airspace with no escort but a couple of planes carrying scientific instruments. The book ends with an update of a number of survivors featured in the book, some of whom lived long lives despite their exposure to the high radiation levels in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The post-blast images described by the survivors were similar to the ones I remember seeing in physics class, with the survivors detailing the effects experienced by the people and the cities' infrastructure. Amazingly, there were people who survived the Hiroshima blast and fled to Nagasaki only to have to endure another atomic bomb attack. There were even a number of double survivors. Some of the survivors' narratives started near ground zero and some witnessed the event from further away. Most of the survivors lived due to pure luck, they happened to be blast-shielded by a dense building or hill, and maybe were wearing light colored clothing which absorbed less of the flash. Many people were instantly vaporized and left behind only a nuclear shadow on a sidewalk or a wall. The people who were instantly killed were the lucky ones in most cases, as many of the living were horribly maimed and burned, and suffered badly before succumbing to their injuries or eventually radiation poisoning. The wandering survivors were referred to as "ant walkers" because many had their clothes blown off and entire body burned black, and they wandered around aimlessly, many of them blinded by the flash or by injury.

I thought this book was really well written and flowed really well. The content was hard to digest, though, and may not be for everyone. There are parts that you can't unread. The edition of the book I read was tainted by the controversy of a fraudulent source resulting in the publisher pulling the book, and the author re-writing some of it to be released in a later edition titled To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima. The fraudulent source was an American named Joseph Fuoco who claimed to be on one of the planes which escorted the Enola Gay to Hiroshima. He was not on the mission. Unfortunately, much of his "testimony" is included in the book. I wish I had listened to the corrected version of this book.

This book would've been a five star book had it not been for the time I wasted listening to the fraudster's accounts. He is also included in the follow-up at the end. This is too bad. Most of the book is absolutely riveting and the accounts of the horrors of nuclear weapon use need to be heard, especially with the nuclear saber-rattling going on in the world today.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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