“Politicians debating the nuclear deal with Iran would do well to spend some time with Southard’s ‘Nagasaki’. It does not tell us what to do. It only reminds us of the stakes.”
Chosen as one of the Washington Post’s most notable nonfiction books of 2015.
On August 9th, 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki.
It killed a third of the population instantly, and the survivors, or hibakusha, would be affected by the life-altering medical conditions caused by the radiation for the rest of their lives. They were also marked with the stigma of their exposure to radiation, and fears of the consequences for their children.
Nagasaki follows the previously unknown stories of five survivors and their families, from 1945 to the present day. It captures the full range of pain, fear, bravery and compassion unleashed by the destruction of a city.
Susan Southard has interviewed the hibakusha over many years and her intimate portraits of their lives show the consequences of nuclear war. Nagasaki tells the neglected story of life after nuclear war and will help shape public debate over one of the most controversial wartime acts in history.
Published for the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, this is the first study to be based on eye-witness accounts of Nagasaki in the style of John Hersey’s Hiroshima.
Susan Southard is the founder of Essential Theatre, an ensemble of artists who work for social change across the United States. She has taught creative writing at the University of Arizona and been a Nonfiction Fellow at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony. You can visit her website here.
“Susan Southard’s remarkable book… This is indeed a topical but enduringly relevant testament and one that should be read as widely as possible.”
“Our time to understand the survivors’ experience of nuclear war is running out. Only they can tell us what it was like and their lives are coming to an end.”
New York Times
“Does for Nagasaki what John Hersey did for Hiroshima… Takes us beneath the mushroom cloud with harrowing, damning, eloquent intimacy.”
John W. Dower, Pulitzer-winning author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of WWII
“It is the personal accounts that speak loudest.”
“Moving as an intimate chronicle of individual lives: like a good documentary film-maker, Southard allows her subjects, with all their attractive and quirky qualities, to speak for themselves.”
“Provides the material and personal stories of one of the darkest days in human history… One of the definitive histories of the end of World War II. Essential.”
“An amazing, heart-wrenching book.”
Books Please Blog
“This book takes you to the heart of one of the most devastating events in human history… The research is impeccable… An intimate and heartbreaking portrayal of one of the most horrific war time acts.”
The Book Trail
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