Summary of "Hiroshima" - Book Review Essay Sample

Published: 2022-09-01
Summary of "Hiroshima" - Book Review Essay Sample
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Health and Social Care United States Literature Research Law
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1735 words
15 min read

"Hiroshima" is a book by John Hersey that talks about the human impact of the atomic bomb that befell Hiroshima in 1945. The city of Hiroshima was decimated with the atomic bomb whose power was enormous on 6th August by the American army. A population of over 250, 000 was affected leaving nearly a hundred thousand people dead, and others injured. As Hersey begins his tale, he introduces us to the lives of the six people whom he traces and describes them as the survivors of the deadly bomb. The six include the two doctors, Dr. Masakazu Fujii who is the owner of the private hospital and Dr. Terufumi Sasaki who is the surgeon at 25 years. There are also two women; Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a widow and Miss Toshiko Sasaki who is a clerk and finally two religious men, Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto and Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge who is a German priest (Hersey, para1). The initial chapter one titled "A Noiseless Flash" typically accounts for the lives and the experiences of each of the individual regarding the explosion of the bomb. They all had a scary experience going through the explosion and surviving after that with minor and major injuries.

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Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a young clerk, has her leg fractured in the blast with her wound infected though does not receive needed medical attention. The bomb killed more than half the doctors in Hiroshima and others were critically injured including Dr. Masakazu Fujii. Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, however, remains unhurt as the only doctor of Red Cross Hospital. Months later the explosion had occurred, the medical officer does not leave the post as he tries to stem the rising deaths around caused by the blast.

The Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto who is an American-educated Methodist pastor and a community leader escapes unhurt. This religious man comes to the safety of the affected people by helping them get to the outskirts of the city at a small park as the fire spreads the entire town. He gets his support from a Jesuit priest; Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge who was also injured (Hersey, para3). There is no official aid from anywhere, but people are too weak and hurt to move leaving only the two religious men to help the victims as the fire encroaches. Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a widow, and her children are among the people helped by Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge and Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto.

Weeks later into the rebuilding of Hiroshima and capitulating of Japan, radiation sickness, another new terror again strikes causing fever, anemia, and nausea among victims. The people in the city are trying to go back to their healthy lives. Forty years later after the atomic bomb in the town, Hersey traces the six characters in his additional postscript. Two of them died years later, Dr. Fujii and Father Kleinsorge after the sudden illness while Miss Sasaki and Mrs. Nakamura change their lives to live happily. Mrs. Nakamura is earning pension and allowance from the government while Miss Sasaki is a nun working together with Mr. Tanimoto to help the people though Mr. Tanimoto has his focus to assisting the bomb victims. He becomes a celebrity and works hard to spread peace message.

As the author draws close to the end, he notes that the nuclear war horrors are not near coming to an end. Those living in Hiroshima city still suffer from the effects suffered. This happens as the atomic escalation around the world continues causing more threat to peace. From what Hersey depicts, the six characters that appear after the bomb and the war in Japan are a reflection of pride, reconciliation and a feeling of goodwill.

Review of the Book

Reading through the Hiroshima by John Hersey, one would tell that the book is an outstanding one right from the way it introduces its topic at the initial sections. Apart from reminding the readers about the past happenings of the war in Japan and the bomb explosion in Hiroshima, I find the book cautionary. The book is enlightenment to the readers not just in Hiroshima but in the whole world of what service to humanity means why is it important to the people especially those found victims of the wrongful happens. Indeed, from what Hersey presents in his book, the six survivors whose story is narrated in the better part of the book managed because of the dedication and selfless service of others. It was out of the right heart of the two religious men Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto and Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge that Mrs. Nakamura and her children survived having been helped by the two. Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, the only surviving doctor in the entire staff, is another iconic element that the author brings in to make the book as humane and educative to uphold humanity as possible. Having survived alone, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki stays in the hospital trying to help the injuries as much as he could. This presentation by the author is what makes me develop the feeling of humanity by helping others who may be befallen in one way or the other. This is the effect that would occur to anyone who reads through the book of Hiroshima by Hersey. The book makes anyone find the need to prevail peace since its absence causes catastrophic effects that will cause harm to humanity leading to a situation the book depicts.

I developed a lot like for the book right from it captures the six individuals, their lives, and their experience following the explosion to when the writer traces the six forty years later to retell their tales in an additional postscript. It is correct that a reader going through the book will develop a lot of interest to know the exact what was the aftermath of the deadly atomic explosion by following the six characters. Indeed, the lives and experience after that for the six is a general reflection on the actual happenings of the events in the entire city for the 250,000 that were affected not necessarily dwelling on the six people. This approach by the author is unique as the writer takes a narrow approach method to explain the broader scenario making it much easier for any reader to get the entire picture of what happened in the city. Preferably, I find the book an amazing one as Hersey brings a survival picture in the eyes of the reader in what the reader would perceive it with a ray of hope. The survival of the six people is an indication that all is not gone and that the six were left to fight for the entire city and bring it back to live again. Indeed the revelation in the books comes out true since forty years later; the survivors have regained their livelihoods and living happily, an indication that finally, normalcy came to the city.

This book is all inclusive and covers everything vital nations and their people need to know to adopt the peaceful living with others. The struggle, dedication, and the sacrifice by the six survivors especially the religious men Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto and Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge and the Dr. Terufumi Sasaki is something worth learning and emulating. The catastrophic effects of deaths, injuries, and radiation sickness many years after that are lessons also worth to learn by nations. The writer talks about what the ongoing nuclear escalation means to the lives of the people, and he is frank to indicate that this means not good but harm. What the book has not talked about which I found it necessary for the book to have mentioned is how the world at large responded. This was essential for the writer to say, failure to mention the voice of the world passes a negative message that maybe the rest of the world was happy and indeed encourage using such deadly explosives on enemies.

In the contemporary world, the threat of nuclear escalation is among the fiercest danger the world is experiencing. Probably, the agitators of the atomic rise have little information on the impacts after that. This is the reason I would refer anyone else to read this particular book by Hersey. There is a need to have the book read all over by everyone to create awareness among the people of the deadly repercussions of living without peace. Indeed, the worst impact is not based on the number of people who die or injure. From the book, Hersey depicts that the number of people killed or hurt in the case of the explosion is just a drop of oil in the ocean. The most significant impact is the radiation sickness going forward. Almost eight decades later after the explosion, Hiroshima still faces the radiation sickness affecting even the most significant population. Indeed, this seems like an endless situation that the people of Hiroshima will continue to suffer. With the recommendation that everyone reads the book, the real message in the book will be conveyed. I believe the spirit of the six survivors will bring peace, harmony, love, and reconciliation among the people of the nation even for those living with hatred.


In the entire book, Hersey tries to explain the human impact of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima city. Indeed, the picture the writer presents is worrying, sad and one wonders what all these had to happen to the innocent souls of those who lost lives and got injured. The summary of the book presents the six people who were survivors including religious men, doctors, and women. Despite the horrific experience that each one underwent following the bomb explosion, each one has a different portion of her story that gives the lesson to any reader of this beautiful book. From the book, we see a dedicated and selfless group of religious men helping the victims whom they manage to save some. We also meet an unrelenting doctor who stays at the hospital as the sole survivor to attend to victims. The horrifying part is the massive number of deaths and injuries as well as the continued effects of radiation the city experiences. The book is quite an interest as teaches the need to service humanity and the need to have peace in the nation and around the world. This book is worth reading for everyone since it carries a strong message to all people especially the government leaders.

Work cited

Hersey, John. "Hiroshima. New York: Alfred A." (1946).

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