Books


book-action-for-disarmamentAction for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do!
Kathleen Sullivan and Peter Lucas
UN Publications, 2014

In a world where weapons small and large remain a threat to humanity, the United Nations’ new book “Action for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do!” shows young people actionable steps they can take to personally lead the call for disarmament. The book presents a variety of resources for the reader to learn about history and modern uses of weapons: guns, bombs, nuclear and biological weapons. The reader is encouraged to use that knowledge to foster a dialogue with peers, the media and politicians. Suggestions are given for points of discussion as well as methods to tailor them to be concise and have impact. The action-driven format of the book makes it both an excellent primer on disarmament and also one on civic engagement.

book-the-bombThe Bomb Howard Zinn
City Lights, 2010

“The late historian and activist Howard Zinn was familiar with bombs—he dropped them on people during World War II, flying as a bombardier in Europe. This is Zinn’s passionate and readable denunciation of bombs—not just the bomb, but all bombs. In the book’s two chapters—one on Hiroshima and one on Royan, France, where Zinn dropped napalm late in World War II—Zinn poses the crucial question: “What can we learn to free us from the thinking that leads us to stand by . . . while atrocities are committed in our name?” The Bomb is the kind of critical, angry, but hopeful history telling for which Howard Zinn is so deservedly well known.” —Bill Bigelow


Barefoot Gen, Vol. 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima 
book_barefoot-gen Kenji Nakazawa
Last Gasp, 2004

The reissue of this classic manga’s first volume has impeccable timing. It recounts the bombing of Hiroshima from the perspective of a young boy, Gen, and his family. But the book’s themes (the physical and psychological damage ordinary people suffer from war’s realities) ring chillingly true today. Gen and his family have long been struggling without much food, money or medicine, but despite hardships, they try to maintain a semblance of normal life. The adults are exhausted and near despair; the children take air raids and starvation more or less in stride. Nakazawa, a Hiroshima survivor, effectively portrays the strain of living in this environment and shows how efforts to stay upbeat in dire circumstances sometimes manifest as manic, irrational humor. Vol. 2-10 also available.

book_pika-donPika-Don 
Adam Johnson & Tom Kealy
Stanford Graphic Novel Project, 2010

Although the actual death tolls remain unknown, the 1945 atomic bomb attacks killed approximately 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki. The survivors suffered from the effects of radiation and many developed diseases such as cancer. Portraying their concerns became our challenge in writing Pika-Don. Nuclear disarmament was a dream held by one man whose story touched our hearts. Pika-Don chronicles Tsutomu Yamaguchi’s life; he was a Japanese ship designer who survived the 1945 atomic bombings in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

book_trinityFrom Trinity to Trinity 
Kyoko Hyashi
Station Hill Press, 2010

Station Hill Press just published Eiko Otake’s translation of From Trinity to Trinity, a novella by Kyoko Hayashi, with an extensive introduction by Eiko. Hayashi’s story traces an atomic bomb survivor on her trip to the Trinity site in New Mexico where the atomic bomb was first tested. Hayashi, through the voice of a narrator, mourns for the plants and creatures of the southwest landscape that were the first victims of an atomic blast. Her journey takes her into unfamiliar terrain, both past and present, as she not only confronts American attitudes, disconcertingly detached from the suffering of nuclear destruction, but discovers as well a profound kinship with desert plants and animals, the bomb’s “first victims.”

Otake’s theatrical adaptation of From Trinity to Trinity was presented at New York Theatre Workshop as part of Hibakusha Stories programming in May, 2010.

book_hiroshimaHiroshima
John Hersey, 1946, revised 1989

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This account of the bombing of Hiroshima is told from the perspective of six survivors.

Almost four decades after the original publication of the book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told. His account of what he discovered about them is now the final chapter of Hiroshima. This book, John Hersey’s journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic “that stirs the conscience of humanity”

It is an unforgettably powerful book and highly recommended as a classroom assignment.

book_worldasloverWorld As Lover, World As Self  Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal
Joanna R. Macy
Parallax Press, 2007

A new beginning for the environment must start with a new spiritual outlook. In this book, author Joanna Macy offers concrete suggestions for just that, showing how each of us can change the attitudes that continue to threaten our environment. Using the Buddha’s teachings on “Paticca Samuppada,” which stresses the interconnectedness of all things in the world and suggests that any one action affects all things, Macy describes how decades of ignoring this principle has resulted in a self-centeredness that has devastated the environment. Humans, Macy implores, must acknowledge and understand their connectedness to their world and begin to move toward a more focused effort to save it.

This book focuses on our interconnectedness with the natural world, the psychology behind our apparent disconnect and how to begin to change it by coming back to our rightful place in nature.

book_comingbackComing Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World
Macy, Joanna R. and Molly Young Brown
New Society Press, 1998

Many of us feel called to respond to the ecological destruction of our planet, yet we feel overwhelmed, immobilized, and unable to deal realistically with the threats to life on Earth. Noted spiritual and environmental thinkers Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown contend that this crippling response to world crisis is a psychological defense mechanism that has been endemic since the years of the Cold War arms race, when we had to adapt within a single generation to the horrific possibility of nuclear holocaust.

This book is a guidebook filled with interactive group processes that give us ways into the vitality and determination we each possess to take part in the healing of our world.

book_one_thousandOne Thousand Paper Cranes: The Story of Sadako and the Children’s Peace Statue 
Takayuki, Ishii
Dell Laurel Leaf Books, 2001

Ten years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Sadako Sasaki died as a result of the Atomic Bomb Disease. Sadako’s determination to fold one thousand paper cranes, symbolizing her hope for peace and her courageous struggle with her illness inspired her classmates. After her death, they started a national campaign to build the Children’s Peace Statue in memory of Sadako and the many other children who were victims of the bombing of Hiroshima. To this day, in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the statue of Sadako is beautifully decorated with thousands of paper cranes brought and sent by people around the world.

Medicine And Global Survival: The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

This free PDF is filled with excellent articles such as “Radiation in Medicine and Nuclear Power Plants: The Same But Very Different” and “Children, Teens and the Japan Disaster”.

book_american-prometheusAmerican Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
(2005) Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war, and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress. In this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years in the making, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War. This is biography and history at its finest, riveting and deeply informative.

book_voicesAtomic Bomb – Voices From Hiroshima and Nagasaki
(1989) by Mark Selden and Kyoko Iriye Selden (editors)

Many accounts, personal and secondary, have been written by and about the victims of the atomic bombs, the best known being John Hersey’s Hiroshima. Following an essay which discusses (and indicts) the decisions to drop the bombs, the Seldens have assembled literary expressions, factual and fictional, written by those who experienced the world’s only nuclear warfare. The testimony appears in the form of “Novellas,” “Poetry,” a “Photo Essay,” “Citizens’ Memoirs,” “Pictures by Atomic Bomb Survivors” (not available for review), and “Children’s Voices.” As the editors assert, these voices ” . . . merit careful listening,” but their graphic descriptions of unimaginable horrors challenge both stomach and conscience. Recommended.

book_bells-of-nagasakiThe Bells of Nagasaki
(1949) Takashi Nagai

The book vividly describes Dr. Nagai’s experiences as a survivor of the Atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The book was translated into English by William Johnston.

South of Nagasaki harbor on the hillside of Mount Hachiro about eight kilometers from Urakami is the village of Oyama. From here one can see the basin where Urakami lies, and beyond one can see Nagasaki hazily in the distance. Young Kato was taking his cow to pasture. In the expanse of green, he found some wild strawberries and he was picking them and putting them in his mouth.

And then came the flash. The cow saw it too and lifted her head. In the sky above Urakami rose a white cloud–a deep white cloud like an enormous ball of cotton–and it got bigger and bigger and bigger. It looked like a huge lantern wrapped in cotton. The outside was white but inside a red fire seemed to be blazing and something like beautiful electric lights flashed incessantly. The colors within this lantern were now red, now yellow, and now purple–all kinds of beautiful colors.

book_brighter-than-a-thousandBrighter than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists
(1970) Robert Jungk

Robert Jungk, is the first published account of the Manhattan Project and the German atomic bomb project. It studied the making and dropping of the atomic bomb from the perspective of the atomic scientists. The book is largely based on personal interviews with the people who played a leading part in the construction and deployment of the bombs, originally published in German in 1956. An account of the remarkable scientists who discovered that nuclear fission was possible and then became concerned about its implications. Index. Translated by James Cleugh.

book_broken-connectionThe Broken Connection: On Death and the Continuity of Life
(1979) Robert Jay Lifton

The unique human awareness of our own mortality enables us to ensure our perpetuation beyond death through our impact on others. This continuity of life has been profoundly shaken by the advent of wars of mass destruction, genocide, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. In The Broken Connection, Robert Jay Lifton, one of America’s foremost thinkers and preeminent psychiatrists, explores the inescapable connections between death and life, the psychiatric disorders that arise from these connections, and the advent of the nuclear age which has jeopardized any attempts to ensure the perpetuation of the self beyond death.

book_fate-of-earthThe Fate of the Earth
(1982) Jonathan Schell

The book is a groundbreaking work that described the effects of nuclear war in such a way that “forces even the most reluctant person to confront the unthinkable: the destruction of humanity and possibly most life on Earth“. The book is often attributed with revitalizing the anti-nuclear movement in the United States.

This book helped focus national attention in the early 1980s on the movement for a nuclear freeze. The Fate of the Earth painted a chilling picture of the planet in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, while The Abolition offered a proposal for full-scale nuclear disarmament. With the recent tensions in India and Pakistan, and concerns about nuclear proliferation around the globe, public attention is once again focused on the worldwide nuclear situation. The author is at the forefront of the discussion. In February 1998, his lengthy essay constituted the centerpiece of a special, widely distributed issue of The Nation dealing with the nuclear arms race. The relevance of his two books for today’s debates is undeniable, as many experts assert that the nuclear situation is more dangerous than ever.

book_first-into-nagasakiFirst Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War
(2006) George Weller

This book is a collection of reports by Chicago Daily News foreign correspondent George Weller. Originally written in 1945 but not approved for publication by Gen. Douglas MacArthur‘s military censors, the reports were found, collected and edited by the author’s son Anthony Weller, and published for the first time.

George Weller, a Pulitzer Prize–winning war correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, entered Nagasaki on September 6, 1945, four weeks after the atomic blast leveled the city. The first Westerner to tour the city’s ruins, he talked with doctors at the makeshift hospitals and scoured the countryside in search of the POW camps scattered across southern Japan over several weeks. His eyewitness dispatches were intercepted and buried, however, by Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s censors. Weller saved his carbons, but they disappeared in the hectic months after the war and remained lost for 60 years, until rediscovered after his death by his son Anthony, himself a journalist and a novelist.

book_full-body-burdenFull Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats
(2012)  Kristen Iverson

Full Body Burden is Kristen Iversen’s story of growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant. It’s also a book about the destructive power of secrets—both family secrets and government secrets. Her father’s hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what they made at Rocky Flats—best not to inquire too deeply into any of it. But as Iversen grew older, she began to ask questions and discovered some disturbing realities.

As this memoir unfolds, it reveals itself as a brilliant work of investigative journalism—a shocking account of the government’s sustained attempt to conceal the effects of the toxic and radioactive waste released by Rocky Flats, and of local residents’ vain attempts to seek justice in court. Based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class-action testimony, this taut, beautifully written book promises to have a very long half-life.