Sunday, Aug. 12, 2001
LETTERS FROM THE END OF THE WORLD: A FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT OF THE BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA, by Toyofumi Ogura. Kodansha, 198 pp., 2,000 yen.
The first eyewitness account ever published of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, "The End of the World" is a devastating record of the horrors history professor Toyofumi Ogura witnessed in the aftermath of the explosion. Written in the form of imaginary letters to his wife, who died from radiation sickness two weeks after the bombing, describing his experiences was a way for him both to cope with his grief and to try to make sense of the unimaginable death and destruction which had suddenly engulfed his world.
First published in English in 1997 and now available in a paperback edition, the book also contains a section of letters, diary entries and drawings by the author's children and dead wife, to form a moving testimonial that will not easily be forgotten.