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The Last Train from Hiroshima [Audio]

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About the Author

Scientist Charles Pellegrino is the author of nineteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including Unearthing Atlantis, Ghosts of Vesuvius, and the New York Times bestseller The Jesus Family Tomb, coauthored with Simcha Jacobovici. Arthur Morey has recorded over two hundred audiobooks in history, fiction, science, business, and religion, earning a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards and two Audie Award nominations. His plays and songs have been produced in New York, Chicago, and Milan, where he has also performed.


There are many books about the two atomic bombs that ended the war in the Pacific. Pellegrino's addition to that corpus brings to the 21st-century eye a clear vision of the destruction, both physical and human, that accompanied the attacks. Among them are the stories of about 30 people who are known to have survived the Hiroshima blast and fled to Nagasaki, where they were bombed again. The majority of the book is a depressing catalog of vignettes describing the horrific injuries and the fates of both immediate victims and survivors. Pellegrino (Ghosts of Vesuvius), a prolific writer of both fiction and nonfiction, explicitly intends to renew our memories of the horrors of atomic war in the hope that future ones can be avoided. VERDICT Although there is already a substantial and eloquent body of work on the subject, Pellegrino's able exposition of the mechanisms, results, aftermath, and healing will find readers among antiwar patrons, peace researchers, and some military readers, but it is an addition to a crowded genre.-Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Using a combination of firsthand accounts of Japanese A-bomb survivors, American aviators, and classified documents of government officials, Pellegrino (The Jesus Family Tomb) reconstructs two horrifying days and their aftermath when the age of atomic warfare was introduced over Japan. He is fascinated with the "strange alchemy" of these cruel weapons ("One ten-millionth of a second later, a sphere of gamma rays escap[ed] the core at light speed") as the bomb fell on Mrs. Aoyam tending her garden at Point Zero, literally before she could see it coming. Pellegrino is equally interested in the grotesque effects the blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki inflicted on the human body with its gamma rays, neutron spray and poisonous black rain. The stories of the few Japanese survivors includes a group of 30 civilians fleeing from Hiroshima to Nagasaki where they arrived to endure the second bomb, are heart-stopping. Pellegrino dissects the complex political and military strategies that went into the atomic detonations and the untold suffering heaped on countless Japanese civilians, weaving all of the book's many elements into a wise, informed protest against any further use of these terrible weapons. 16 pages of b&w photos, maps. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-Pellegrino's masterful retelling of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the eyes of Japanese survivors and U.S. military personnel, using the science of forensic archaeology, is a riveting and detailed account of the atomic blasts and their aftermath. The intimate personal narratives, including those from survivors of both nuclear bombings and those who were near the bombs' hypocenter in shock cocoons while everything outside their protective "bubbles" was decimated, form a powerful yet horrific account of the massive devastation of Japanese civilians. What these survivors saw and experienced will form an indelible impression on readers. Many of the stories from these survivors as well as American journalists who visited ground zero were censored or criticized for lacking authenticity, based on the regulations and findings by General Douglas MacArthur's September 11 Committee of 1945. The committee did not want the public to know how pervasive and long-term the effects of nuclear radiation were on civilian populations. With this volume, Pellegrino has brought all of this important information to light and makes a clear and compelling case for never using nuclear weapons again.-Melanie Parsons, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"The stories of the few Japanese survivors...are heart-stopping... A wise, informed protest against any further use of these terrible weapons." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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