Obama Visits Hiroshima

JPN466On May 27 President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, Japan since the U.S. first dropped an atomic bomb on the site at the end of World War II. In acknowledgement of the heavily symbolic act, we're recommending books to read about Hiroshima, including Odyssey's new guidebook, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, An Illustrated History, Anthology and Guide. A unique anthology that combines rarely seen photos and primary documents alongside a gamut of literary extracts (from Socrates and Stalin to Vincent Van Gogh and Jack London) to present the history of these twinned cities. Published in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the WWII bombings, this compendium also honors the resilient cities as they are today.

JPN20Hiroshima. This classic book, first published in 1946, has been hailed as the greatest piece of journalism in the 20th century. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer John Hersey puts a human face on the Hiroshima tragedy through interviews with survivors.

The Atomic Bomb, Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This compilation of factual accounts, short stories, photographs, poems and drawings is a vivid look at people's experiences with the atom bomb.

Midnight in Broad Daylight, A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds. The riveting and true tale of a Japanese American family divided by geography and war, with two brothers living in Hiroshima and fighting for the Japanese Imperial Army and the remaining brother joining the United States Army as a bilingual interpreter. Exceptional for its ability to fairly and empathetically portray both the American and the Japanese perspective in equal parts.

JPN473Nagasaki, Life After Nuclear War. Published in time for the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, which happened three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and killed an estimated 74,000 people, this work of narrative journalism takes readers from that cloudy August morning in 1945 to the city today. Journalist Susan Southard uses the first-hand experiences of five "hibakusha" (those Japanese affected by the atom bomb) and moves into a searing analysis of the censorship policies that colored the reportage of the blast and its destruction. Susan Southard has spent years interviewing and researching post-atomic life in Japan.

The Making of the Atomic Bomb. From the discovery of the nucleus to the making of atomic bomb, this Pulitzer Prize-winning book tackles the people, discoveries and places of the Atomic Age in spellbinding detail. Rhodes tells the story of nuclear physics in the first half of the 20th century, wartime work on the bomb, and how the world -- and especially science -- has grappled with the horrific consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A major arc of the book is how a remarkable group of physicists, German and American, were thrust out of the ivory tower and into wartime efforts -- and onto the stage of world history.

JPN470The Peace Tree from Hiroshima, A Little Bonsai with a Big Story. This true children's story, told from the perspective of a bonsai tree, is a heartwarming and educational look at WWII and the legacy of the atomic bomb. Miyajima, a tree named after the island where it first grew, has been living in Hiroshima for more than 300 years and even survived the destructive power of the atomic bomb. In 1976, the tree's caretakers, the Yamaki family, decide to donate it, as a sign of goodwill, to the National Arboretum in Washington DC. Miyajima is excited, but very sad to leave the family -- who will care for it? Written for children grades 2 to 6.