Article Title

Nuclear Fiction


Peter Nichols


Hiroshima, John Hersey's classic work of literary journalism about the dropping of an atomic bomb on that city, details the suffering and survival of six of the city's inhabitants, including Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel office of the East Asia Tin Works. She was less than a mile from the man-made sun that blossomed in an eye blink above the city in 1945. Just before the building came down on her, a bookcase behind her desk poured the factory's library, like a breaking wave, over the 20-year-old clerk. "There, in the tin factory," Hersey writes, "in the first moments of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books." Ms. Sasaki was knocked unconscious and her leg was badly gashed and broken, but her life was saved by a load of books. Hiroshima was destroyed by them.


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