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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Last Train from Hiroshima - Book Review

I have been listening to great audiobooks, the one I'm listening to now is called The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back, I first heard about this book about a month ago while listening to Coast to Coast am, it was a weekend show LINK, I don't normally listen to the weekend shows because I prefer the host that does the show during the week, the weekend host isn't as appealing to me. So it takes a very interesting show to catch my attention on the weekend.

The C2C show was very interesting, it was an interview with the author, Dr Charles Pellegrino,  he spoke of the strange and horrific things that happened in the first second and beyond. While listening, I was interested in getting this book, but put that thought aside. Then a while later, I heard that Pellegrino was coming back on C2C (LINK) to explain his side of the story about why the publisher was not going to be printing or selling any more of this book. Well, that was interesting, it turns out the problem was one of his eye witnesses was not where he said he was and couldn't have seen what he claimed to see.

From Henry Holt and Company and Macmillan Books
It is with deep regret that Henry Holt and Company announces that we will no longer print, correct or ship copies of Charles Pellegrino's The Last Train from Hiroshima due to the discovery of a dishonest sources of information for the book. 


It is easy to understand how even the most diligent author could be duped by a source, but we also understand that opens that book to very detailed scrutiny. The author of any work of non-fiction must stand behind its content. We must rely on our authors to answer questions that may arise as to the accuracy of their work and reliability of their sources. Unfortunately, Mr. Pellegrino was not able to answer the additional questions that have arisen about his book to our satisfaction.

Mr. Pellegrino has a long history in the publishing world, and we were very proud and honored to publish his history of such
This from a New York Times article
Mr. Pellegrino said he had relied on information from a source, Joseph Fuoco, who claimed he was a last-minute substitute as a flight engineer on one of the escort planes for the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Late last month, scientists, historians and veterans denounced Mr. Fuoco as an impostor who did not ride on the mission.
Well, that really got my attention, I figured that yeah, even if one of the sources is being called a fraud, the rest of the book is still fascinating, the science, the details that are laid out, it is utterly fascinating.

I found the website of Dr Charles Pellegrino, and from the forum on that site, Pelligrino said that Fucoc said he was there and flew that mission, even though the records (which can be questionable in themselves,,, ever tried to get records from the government?), anyhoo, you can read it here if you want:
http://www.ibdof.com/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=118989&sid=e5360470e44942e995de7bc01bb91764. Apparently Pellegrino is researching the problem and is going to rewrite the questionable parts if necessary.

Drawing on the voices of atomic bomb survivors and the new science of forensic archaeology, Charles Pellegrino describes the events and aftermath of two days in August when nuclear devices detonated over Japan changed life on Earth forever.

I have found since the controversy, the book price has shot up to ridiculous amount, right now on Amazon.com it's running almost $100, the audiobook is still  reasonable though. Since I prefer audiobooks, it is just as well for me. If you are in a bookstore, you might want to look to see if this book is on the shelf and grab it up, it's a good read, and if nothing else, it might fetch a pretty price on the internet.

The author of this book, Charles Pellegrino has written a very fascinating tale of what happened, in detail at ground zero and the surrounding area in the first seconds of the blast. Believe it or not there were people who survived the blast who were right at ground zero.There were 2 ladies in a bank, right at ground zero, they were there early because during that time, the female tellers were expected to double as the cleaning staff.

Since they were there early, they were inside this building and more or less protected from the direct hit, they were protected in what Pellegrino calls a "shock cocoon", a protected place that was essentially in the center of the blast. They were exposed to radiation though, and one of the ladies had a severe back injury because she was thrown into a wall. Other than that, they survived in a place where most would consider survival an impossibility, and were able to walk out right after the blast and see where the other people had been outside. There were others who survived at ground zero as well.

Pellegrino talks about the "ant walkers", these were the still living, who were in shock, can you imagine... one would start walking aimlessly around, others would fall in behind them, creating lines of people walking aimlessly around, if one broke off for whatever reason, then the line would break into two lines with some following the original line, some following the new line.

It's interesting to read/hear about how two people might be standing close together, perhaps talking, one survived with little more than bumps and scrapes, while the other was instantly dead, the randomness of it was eerie.

Here is a YouTube video of part of the interview on C2C


Here is a link to the whole C2C show on YouTube
C2C Charles Pellegrino interview
and
C2C-Charles Pellegrino defends his book

Imagine going about your normal life, doing what you do everyday, and then in less than the blink of an eye, you are either instantly dead (I have to wonder if they weren't the lucky ones), or you are plucked from reality and thrown violently into a world that is so unreal, everything you know, probably most if not all of everyone you know is gone, your friends, your family, your home, your workplace, your town, everything flattened, gone, obliterated into something so unrecognizable that it defies explanation.

I am in the middle of this book, I am listening to it mainly at night when I go to bed, nice dream fodder huh? So, even with the controversy of the questionable sources, I am still really enjoying this book. Check it out if you can.

A political disclaimer, I am not saying we shouldn't have done what we did, even as terrible as it was, chances are the death toll on both sides would have been much higher and the war would have stretched on longer if we hadn't used the bomb. I only hope and pray that no one, including us, ever does this again.



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properly pronounced wreetha, (included for the text reader),


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Legal disclaimer. While I am promoting this book because I believe it is an interesting read, I have links to Amazon.com for the book and will get a commission if there is a purchase made through that link.

3 comments:

  1. Boy, this was really WTSHTF in Japan!

    Hard to imagine it happening here. But there are those who are trying.

    That will give you nightmares. Isn't that what your mother told you as a child?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah TexasMan, scary stuff, but fascinating too, especially the science of it all.

    I ain't skeered of nightmares, I have very few of them... Actually last night, I went to bed hoping I would dream about this, I want to "see" what happened in the safety of a dream. I think I did dream something about it last night, but it didn't stick with me when I awoke. I'll try again tonight.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the info. I just ordered the book from audible. Will download it later. Still cost less than $20 there and BTW I also do not like the C2C (Ian) moderator on weekends. Loved Art Bell but you could tell he was getting burned out by 2002.
    I see you are into audio books. I have a library of over 500 of them converted to MP3. A fortune in value. Email me and I will send along the list to you. cempey@hotmail.com
    Glad I found your site and I bookmarked it….

    ReplyDelete

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