HISTORY

Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World

S. & S. Aug. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781982128517. $27. HIST
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In 1946, just one year after the devastating atomic bomb explosion over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist John Hersey wrote a series of articles on Hiroshima for The New Yorker. His thorough reporting featured interviews with survivors of the devastation, giving a detailed description of the fallout to the American public—Hersey’s work countered information provided by the U.S. government about injuries sustained by Japanese citizens. The articles were later turned into a book, Hiroshima, also published in 1946. Here, best-selling author Blume (Everyone Behaves Badly) provides the backstory of how Hersey was able to gain access to the story, even after several other journalists had already visited Hiroshima. Hersey used little deception to obtain his interviews and even had the completed article approved by Leslie Groves, who oversaw the Manhattan Project. This is a straightforward account, including credible sources, though no original research was completed by Blume.
VERDICT The publication date coincides with the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. While Blume doesn’t shed new insight, readers looking for an overview of World War II or background on Hersey’s Hiroshima will find this to be of interest.

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