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Nagasaki, 1945 Paperback – 1 Aug 1981


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A doctor in a Nagasaki hospital describes the city's destruction by the atomic bomb and his efforts to care for the sick and dying victims.

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Horrifying account of the most horrifying event 7 Oct 2006
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I will start this review by establishing my background.

*) I am a follower of history; I obtained a minor in history as an undergraduate and read a great deal of historical material.

*) I am a firm believer in the thesis that the United States was correct in dropping the two atomic weapons on Japan to end the Second World War. There is no question in my mind that the unleashing of atomic energy against the people of Japan led to fewer casualties than if the Allies had invaded the home islands.

Nevertheless, it is chilling to read this account of the aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki. People argue that there were comparable or even greater casualties when the Allies used conventional bombs on Dresden and Tokyo. If you read eyewitness accounts of those attacks, the stories are superficially similar. However, there is something particularly frightening about the accounts of nuclear attacks. The slow, bloody deaths of people due to radiation poisoning, the horrific burns, where in an instant the flesh is flash cooked. The near-total destruction of everything in the blast area, leaving almost nothing for the survivors, which makes their condition hopeless without some form of massive outside aid.

The author was a Nagasaki doctor who managed to survive the blast. This book is an account of his attempts to care for the survivors, using simple swabs to try to treat severe radiation and heat burns. He also includes short blurbs describing the political situation in Japan at the highest levels during July and the first part of August in 1945. He explains the attempted military coup led by a band of die-hard officers opposed to the surrender. Those officers still wanted to fight on, even against the prospect of additional atomic attacks and in direct opposition to the will of the Japanese Emperor. This is the most convincing evidence that the atomic attacks were the right thing to do.

Some people believe that nuclear weapons are just more powerful instances of conventional forces. If you read accounts like this one, it is clear that that is not so. Nuclear weapons are enormously different in kind from conventional forces, destroying in ways that should convince everyone that they should never be used in warfare again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Horrors of Nuclear War: An Eyewitness Account 17 Oct 2000
By "thechemman" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There is no better way to understand the pain and suffering caused by the use of nuclear weapons than to read Tatsuichiro Akizuki's eyewitness account of the atomic bomb damage to Nagasaki. Dr. Akizuki not only describes the immediate devistation caused by the nuclear blast that hit Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945 but also chronicles his attempts as a physican to deal with the injuries of the people who survived the initial blast. It is a very compelling story.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
one sided personal account, at times unfairly biased 16 May 2010
By pjf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After watching the excellent Hiroshima DVD put out by Showtime, I pulled out this long ago purchased book to reread. A very different type of account, it's often more concerned with riceballs and rain than war and bombs. But that is the purpose of a personal view. It does give a very detailed, reserved as opposed to emotional, account of a very few people's actions before and after the bombing, and a very circumscribed circle of people and their events. It can be interesting for that, though truthfully, it seems mostly a description of rain, riceballs and shifting patients from one floor to another. It's an easy, if not terribly illuminating read.

Where it become annoying is the perhaps necessarily one sidedness of it. There's some faintly disparaging references to victorious, conquering suntanned Americans. This is given without a single acceptance of responsibility for the vicious Japanese attack, made by stealth in the middle of peace negotiations, that brought a reluctant America into the war. Perhaps the propaganda of the time made the Japanese unaware of that, but this account seems to have been published long after the fact. Akisuki seems unaware of his one sided blindness as he castigates the cruelty of the enemy when he mentions the civilian and personal casualties at Nagasaki, but glosses over the reaon for the bombing, only casually mentioning this or that person worked in Mitsubishi's war plants. He dwells repeatedly on how the Anericans killed or injured nuns or children, but throws out, without any sense of wrong, that the western members of one Christian organization were intered in a concentration camp by his government at the start of the war.One is recounted with bitterness, the other is recounted without blame or seeming awareness. These sorts of odd juxtapositions go on repeatedly. While it's understandable in a personal account that there will be bias, the author views all his experiences through such a personal lens that it lessens the work and makes it far from useful.

Far more insufferable though is the afterward by Gordon Honeycombe, which seems overwhelmed with anti-American sentiment. In his subsequent visit to Nagasaki, he is overwhelmed with sympathy for the "victims" and criticism for its "conqueror". He constantly characterizes Americans in a negative light, starting with his description of the peace statue of a "grossly muscular" "grotesque" "mad American general" celebrating the "triumph" of the bomb. He accords some criticism to the Japanese leaders for "prolonging" the war. But surprisingly (or not) has not one word for their responsibility in starting it. In fact nowhere in this book is the Japanese attack against America mentioned. Honeycombe does mention that Mitsubishi should take some responsibility for the care of the bomb victims -- but then follows the claim that the American government should take "all the rest". There is not one word or any consciousness of Japan's responsibility for starting the war, for the many many American victims of Japanese aggression. None that says the Japanese goverment should take responsibility for caring for all the widows and orphans of Japanese attacks -- or of the rebuilding of all that they devastated.

It used to be that war reparations were demanded of those who started and lost a war. Certainly as ignomiously as Japan did in WWII it should have. America however, largely forwent them. Indeed, it did a huge service in rebuilding Japan and Europe not to mention saving Honeycombe's England-- which makes Honeycombe's bias really unconscionable. But then, he and Akisuki seemed well paired in their book. Honeycombe talks about the Japanese desire for peace as compared to the American by asking the question "What would you do if your country was invaded by a foreign power", with 72.8 percent of Americans saying they would fight compared to 20.6 of Japanese. That's as leading a comment as "do you still beat your wife?" It goes down very ill after a whole book where Akizuki complains and characterizes Americans as invading conquerors, as if implying America was the agressor against Japan rather than the reverse. It is inexcusable to me that there is not one acknowlegement, among all the blame thrown around in this book, that it was Japan's invasion or attack against Hawaii that began the war. That America did what it could to urge Japan to surrender before the A-bomb -- but had no intention of losing more Americna troops in the invasion that Japan's military leaders were insisting on. Yes, Mitsubishi owes the victims some reparations, but so does the Japanese government -- both to their own citizens and to all the American families who suffered and died as the result of Japanese and European aggression. And America deserves a lot of credit for doing what it could to end the war quickly.

Akizuki's account is mildly interesting for the personal detail, but this is not a diary. It lacks the excuse of immediacy for having so little historical focus.

As for Honeycombe, perhaps he needed to also visit Pearl.
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