Japan 1945. In one of the defining moments of the twentieth century, more than 100,000 people were killed instantly by two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US Air Force B29s. Hundreds of thousands more succumbed to their horrific injuries, or slowly perished of radiation-related sickness. Hiroshima Nagasaki tells the story of the tragedy through the eyes of the survivors, from the twelve-year-olds forced to work in war factories to the wives and children who faced it alone. Through their harrowing personal testimonies, we are reminded that these were ordinary people, given no warning and no chance to escape the horror. American leaders claimed that the bombings were 'our least abhorrent choice' and fell strictly on 'military targets'. Even today, most people believe they ended the Pacific War and saved millions of American and Japanese lives. Hiroshima Nagasaki challenges this deep-set perception, revealing that the atomic bombings were the final crippling blow to the Japanese in a stratgic air war waged primarily against civilians.
Paul Ham is the author of the highly acclaimed Kokoda (HarperCollins, 2004) and is the Australia correspondent of the London Sunday Times. He was born and educated in Australia and lives in Sydney, having spent several years working in Britain as a journalist and publisher.