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Another Dartmouth-related book, but completely different from Tattoos on the Heart. Hiroshima tells the story of what happened on August 6th, 1945: the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. This past term, I took a class entitled Cold War & American Life. In one of our lectures ("Creating a Nuclear World"), we learned that with the publication of Hersey's Hiroshima, the atomic bomb attacks were humanized. Hersey traces the experience of the bombings through six residents of the city. Neither sentimental nor exploitative, it rapidly became a bestseller. Published in the New Yorker on August 31, 1946, it sold out in a few hours (x). Time magazine called Hersey's account "the most celebrated piece of journalism to come out of World War II." (x) The book is divided into five sections that follow the six protagonists: "A Noiseless Flash," "The Fire," "Details are Being Investigated," "Panic Grass and Feverfew," and "The Aftermath." On the whole, the American public was ignorant about the human consequences of the bomb; Hiroshima played a role in changing this and it "awakened Americans to the horrors of atomic warfare." (x) Hersey took the role of a removed narrator and there was little criticism of the policies that led to the bombing or the American government's reaction. However, this lets the reader draw his or her own conclusions. Hersey was sent to Hiroshima with the purpose of writing about the bombing itself. He drew inspiration from the format of the The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder, telling one interviewer:
 The book is about five people who were killed when a rope suspension bridge over a canyon in Peru gave way, and how they had happened to find their way to that moment of fate together. That seemed to me to be a possible way of dealing with this very complex story of Hiroshima; to take a number of people—half a dozen, as it turned out in the end—whose paths crossed each other and came to this moment of shared disaster.
 He goes on to say that "Wilders's was a much more ornate and meandering style...my choice was to be deliberately quiet in the piece" so as to simply present readers with the facts and allow them to connect to the protagonists directly. Hiroshima is important to read because we only learn from our history; Hersey believes memory has kept the world safe. By understanding the impact of the bomb, there is less support to use it again. Rating: ★★★★
This Is How You Lose Her

This Is How You Lose Her

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion