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American History 120 - Mountz: Skill Unit 3

Dr. William Mountz History 120

Skill Unit 3

Hiroshima by John Hersey (right click on the link and open in a new window)

online book

Hersey began working on “Hiroshima” in 1945, when William Shawn, who was then the managing editor of The _New Yorker, _pointed out that, although the bombing had been widely written about, the victims’ stories still remained untold. After going to Japan and interviewing survivors, Hersey decided to show the bombing through six pairs of eyes. Originally, “Hiroshima” was planned as a four-part series. In the end, however, it was all published in a single issue, in August of 1946. There was nothing unusual about the cover, which showed ordinary people enjoying summertime. Inside, however, there was only “Hiroshima”—no Talk of the Town, no cartoons, no reviews. The piece’s impact was immediate. Parts of it were excerpted in newspapers around the world, and it was read, in its entirety, on the radio. (In 2010, Jon Michaud wrote for this site about the piece’s history and reception.)

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