- 広島市立大学国際学部 (Hiroshima City University, Faculty of International Studies)
- 広島国際研究 = Hiroshima Journal of International Studies (ISSN:13413546)
- vol.18, pp.19-37, 2012-11-30
The purpose of this essay is to discuss if Hiroshima, John Hersey's famous account of six survivors in atom-bombed Hiroshima, really describes the "full-range of the bomb's effects" as often believed. It discusses how Hersey might not have been entirely free in expression or in disseminating information, considering the popular sentiment and the issue of national security at a time when censorship was still common among publishers.This author assumes that Hersey, while describing a certain range of atomic horrors, might have refrained from discussing what were considered then as taboo: residual radiation. Hersey might also have avoided talking about the moral aspects of the dropping of the bomb, to stay in line with the official narrative and overwhelming public sentiment. However, it was important that the account, as a warning to the world, reach as many people as possible, and it has served this purpose to a great success.In an effort to prove these assumptions, the author explores the social and literary space at the time Hiroshima was published. She also compares Hiroshima with various materials in the John Hersey Papers at Yale University library in an attempt to determine to what extent and for what purpose Hersey might have used these materials, especially the Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, which was just published when Hersey was writing his account.