PUTIN’S IRRESPONSIBILITY

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
 Website: chetyarbrough.blog

Hiroshima

By: John Hersey

Narrated by: George Guidall

John Hersey (1914-1993, Author and journalist, won a Pulitzer for–“A Bell for Adano”.)

John Hersey is the son of American Protestant missionaries who was born in China.

Hersey is considered one of the first journalists to use a “storytelling” style for news reports. His most well-known news story is published in a 1946 “New Yorker” article, later published and expanded as “Hiroshima“, a book about the consequence of the first nuclear bomb blast of WWII.

“Hiroshima” is printed by Alfred A. Knopf and has never been out of print. Hersey reports an estimated 100,000 were killed by the bomb. His book tells the story of the long-term impact of nuclear fall-out on six Japanese survivors of the June 6, 1945’ blast. (Today, the estimate of those who died from the bomb’s long-term impact is 140,000 to 350,000.)

One hopes 9/11/22 #rumors of former Russian supporters of Putin’s Ukraine/Russian War are asking him to resign. Putin’s decision to reinstitute the draft may be a turning point in the Ukrainian war based on his Czarist behavior.

In looking back at Russia’s 1917 revolution, it is discontent of the military and resistance to participation in WWI that aided Lenin’s overthrow of Czar Nicholas. Putin may be repeating that history. Many kleptocratic leaders of his administration are in the same spot as wealthy landowners of the Czarist era.

It seems appropriate to review “Hiroshima” today because of the Russian/Ukrainian war, and Vladmir Putin’s un-wise threat to use a nuclear bomb as a strategic weapon of war.

At least three of the six survivors in Hersey’s story are searching for solace by turning to belief in a Christian God. One presumes, these survivors were chosen by Hersey because of his life as a son of missionaries. As you listen to the six personal stories of Hersey’s choice, one wonders how non-believers cope with the aftermath of the bomb.

Hersey’s report of six survivors tells of broken bones, burned flesh, scarring, chronic fatigue, social isolation, and concomitant unemployment because of symptoms of these six survivors.

THESE ARE THE SIX SUBJECTS CHOSEN BY JOHN HERSEY FOR HIS STORY.

Left to Right–Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto (3,500 yards from explosion, Methodist), Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura (1,350 yards from explosion, Widow of a tailor with 3 children), Dr. Masakazu Fujioio (1,550 yards from explosion center, a live in the moment hedonist), Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge aka Makoto Takakura (1,400 yards from explosion, a German priest of the Society of Jesus), Dr. Terufumi Sasaki (1,650 yards from explosion, young surgeon at Red Cross Hosp.) and Miss Toshiko Sasaki (1,600 yards from explosion.)

Hersey notes some women who are pregnant when the bomb bursts have children who suffer from the consequence, even though not yet born. He tells of a formally successful physician who must start over again to establish his practice. He has little money and no credit but needs to have a place to treat patients for income. He must work from his home which is only rented because he cannot afford to buy.

Regardless of one’s religious belief, Hersey shows how six victims cope with the debilitating effects of a nuclear blast.

Hersey writes of a woman who is too fatigued to work at a regular job and decides to use her sewing machine to work at a pace her health will allow. She finds she cannot make enough money to house and feed herself. She sells the sewing machine and finds part time work collecting subscription payments for a newspaper that pays her fifty cents per day.

Hersey writes of recurring scars that occur from the flash and burn of the nuclear bomb explosion. The disfigurement requires plastic surgery.

Without money needed for cosmetic surgery, the young are reliant on financial gifts from others. Some Americans rise to the occasion.

In one instance, the TV program, “This is Your Life” generates contributions for a few victims’ who need plastic surgery. 

Incongruously, on “This is Your Life”, the co-pilot of the Enola Gay meets with a survivor of the Hiroshima nuclear blast. Some consider this among the most awkward TV appearances of all time.

The fundamental point of Hersey’s stories is a nuclear weapon in war goes beyond immediate physical destruction and mental injury. Radiation from a nuclear bomb stays with victims for their entire, often shortened, and always compromised lives. It is more than the death of thousands, it is the remaining lives of every human being, whether born or yet to be born, who is exposed to the flash and burn of nuclear detonation.

Author: chet8757

Graduate Oregon State University and Northern Illinois University, Former City Manager, Corporate Vice President, General Contractor, Non-Profit Project Manager, occasional free lance writer and photographer for the Las Vegas Review Journal.

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