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Letters from the End of the World: Firsthand Account of the Bombing of Hiroshima Hardcover – 1 Sep 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd (Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 477002147X
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770021472
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,236,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


.".. an important historical record ... a potent reminder that we must always turn toward peace." -Rocky Mountain News.".. one hell of a book." -The Daily Yomiuri.".. a compelling eyewitness, first-hand account of one man's experience." -Kansai Time Out.".. the questions raised by this thoughtful and passionate man 50 years ago have not all been answered even yet." "A moving testimonial that will not be easily forgotten." -The Japan Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

TOYOFUMI OGURA was born in 1899 in Chiba Prefecture. He taught history at Hiroshima University for nearly twenty years, from 1945 through his mandatory retirement in 1963, and was then appointed an honorary professor. His books include critical works on the well-known poet and children's author Kenji Miyazawa and a study of folk belief in the ancient historical figure Prince Shotoku. He died in 1996. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not quite sure how I came across this book, but thought it seemed interesting to get a first hand account of actually being in an atomic bombing.

I wasn't disappointed. The book is written as a series of posthumous letters by Mr Ogura to his deceased wife, who died around a week after the blast. He records events from the moment of the bombing to a couple of weeks afterwards.

He does an excellent job of capturing the disorientation of the people he meets, the panic and ignorance of people of what had just befallen them.
Some of the stories are horrific, the terrible fate that befall so many of those who survived the initial explosion, trapped in their ruined and burning houses.

There is some great description of a city in ruins, and some brilliant observations (given the stress he must have been under), about the way the bomb had effected various structures.

The final section of the book is devoted to the heart rending death of his wife - succumbing to radiation sickness - an illness that baffled so many at the time, unsure why they were dying with relatively minor injuries.

All in all, an incredible book - Mr Ogura just comes across as an ordinary person caught up in horrific, exceptional circumstances - no different from the citizens of any country that could have befallen this awful fate - driven to the brink of destruction by a government he does not support but can do nothing about...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9a3371ec) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a29d030) out of 5 stars A very powerful Book 6 Dec. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The book is a collection of letters written by the author to his wife who died from radiation sickness after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The letters detail the author's experiences as he wandered the city and pieced together what happened to family and friends. It is a very powerful book.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a82f33c) out of 5 stars Very Powerful and Haunting 7 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most powerful first hand accounts of the bombing of Hiroshima that I have ever read. My copy was quickly passed around from friend to friend and it impacted everyone who read it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a29da5c) out of 5 stars More searing than Hiroshima itself 8 Feb. 2008
By Brian V. Hunt - Published on
Format: Paperback
The only thing that might change the minds of those who support America's use of atomic bombs against Japan is the testimony of those who survived the attacks. Gen. Eisenhower, Adm. Leahy and others in the military and government expressed depressed disgust over the use of nuclear weapons against civilians, and Capt. Robert Lewis (co-pilot of the Enola Gay) later met with a group of the Hiroshima Maidens in the U.S. to express his regret and donate money for their medical costs.

"Letters from the End of the World", along with "Hiroshima Diary," present the attack on Hiroshima in terms of the human cost and suffering of civilians. More lives were lost in the fire bombings of Japanese cities and the destruction of Dresden but both the immediate and long-term effects of the use of nuclear weapons constitute a horrific act.

We now know that the use of violence against civilian populations tends to strengthen a resolve to fight to the bitter end. Yet, it remains a tactic by some and an accepted consequence by most. The use of nuclear weapons against Japan were not the deciding factor in ending the war. It was already over.

As long as governments and citizens choose to accept the slaughter of civilians as a collateral consequence to conflict, atrocities will continue. Self-satisfied, unexamined clucking about the unfortunate inevitability of civilian deaths in war is a moral crime in itself. Especially since the 20th century heralded in an age of increasing civilian death tolls in all conflicts.

Capt. Paul Tibbets (pilot of the Enola Gay) went to his grave with no regrets about Hiroshima. To his credit, he met with at least one hibakusha (disfigured survivor of the attack). Tibbets rightly stated that all war is immoral and leads to immoral action. We'd better find a different way to settle differences.

Hiroshima today is a gleaming, modern city that somewhat mutes even a visit to the Atomic Bomb Dome. Even the memorial museum does not convey the horror of August 6th, 1945 the way the witness testimonies do. I can't imagine someone reading this book and not being moved.
By Eiri Uesugi - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
bought this for a college class back at Mills in '06. This is a very neat, clean format and the author really gets the message across in a way that is easily understood. It is because of how the author wrote the book that the information was able to be retained for several years.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a8873c0) out of 5 stars letters from the end of the world 11 Mar. 2008
By nonficfan - Published on
Format: Paperback
Unforgettable. horrifying. a reality check for those who think war is "like in the movies". the writer takes u there in the exact moments as people encounter the bluish white flash. eg. a woman strolling the shopping district is suddenly engulfed in the biggest lightening bolt she's ever seen and a family sitting down to dinner one minute then thrown into a cataclysm of blindness, fear and disorientation. it is truly a look into the end of the world.
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