tv Nagasaki CSPAN May 20, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT
>> on august 9, 1945, four days after the bombing of hiroshima, the united states dropped the atomic bomb on the town of nagasaki. susan southard talks about the people from the morning was him today, august 92015 marks the 70 anniversary of the u.s. bombing of not psaki. it is just under one hour. >> susan southard is one of this community and that's what makes this event so special. susan southard holds an mba from antioch.
she lives and works in tempe. where she is the founder and artistic director of essential theater. she has taught nonfiction classes at her estate universities studio and directed creative writing programs for incarcerated youth and at a federal prison for women outside of phoenix. she has also raised her family here. as a matter of fact her daughter was once a junior staffer in our kids section. she was the darling of the kids not only for her love of looks but also for her personal winning smile much like her mother's. so you can see susan and her family have been one of our regular patrons and readers for many years now and one of our dearest friends.
so for many years we have known about the book she has been working on diligently, quietly. the topic is so big and important yet sensitive and heavy hearted and off that it had not been properly dealt with until now upon the 70th year anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on sunday. the story had been untold. in nagasaki life after nuclear war susan southard takes readers from the bombing to today five survivors all of whom were teenagers at the time of the bombing. the book was the finalists for the award fostered by nieman foundation and the columbia university school of journalism. this fayyad e. very important book is now out with reviewers rightly recognizing its tremendous importance and merit.
we are so very moved by the publication at last of his tremendous work and by its reception. take a look at the reviews. we have just quoted a few of them on the table of looks and we are so very fortunate and happy to welcome our dear friend , susan southard to this stage. [applause] >> i don't know if those of you who don't know me well heard giggles in the audience when she mentioned, i don't know if that
how you worded it but people have been waiting for the book to come out. a 12 year process and i'm very grateful for anyone i know who did not doubt me or didn't say out loud that they doubted me. first of all i thank you so much for that either blanchard action and for allowing me to have the book event here at changing hands which has been an integral part of my life for the last 25 years. it's an honor. and good evening to all of you. i see many friends, colleagues and i family here tonight and there are many of you i don't know and i look forward to getting to know you as well if we have time. before i began begin, there are a few people here tonight that i would like to acknowledge.
first my family who have come across the country to commemorate this day with me, my parents gary and susan southard, my brother. where are you? my brother and his partner will wendy owen. my younger brother jonathan southard who surprised me two hours ago by showing up at my house from l.a., yes and my absolutely beautiful daughter, forgive me for being, for saying that out loud, some very yvette, even though company done my first trip to nagasaki in 2003 when she was 10 years old and grew up with this book. over the past 12 years i hired a wonderful team of seven native japanese speakers to help me
translate historical documents correspondence and hours and hours of survivor interviews. three of the leaders are sure tonight. i would also like to express my thanks. [applause] there are others who couldn't be here tonight and in particular i would like to express my deep gratitude for the late -- who worked side eyesight with me for eight years helping me translate the survivor's words into the most nuanced english we could find. excellent administrative support for the book and you can tell me where you are, charlene brown, jeannie callahan, lorraine who is not here tonight and my daughter eva. ken blackburn, where are you? thank you for reading the manuscript at various stages of development and providing valuable feedback and finally
robin this is robin lavoie everyone an extraordinary historical researcher thinker colleague and friend whose deep intelligence and dedication helped me create and shape this book into its final form. [applause] i'm going to read several excerpts from a book to give you a whims of the layered story of postnuclear survival and after the reading there will be time for questions. a whims of the layered story of the first segment i will read, everybody hear me first of all? the first segment i will read begins with the exact moment of nagasaki from a specially modified b-29 bomber six miles from the city. by this time in the story readers have been introduced already to the five survivors whose stories are woven
throughout the book. all of them were teenagers at the time of the bombing. a the material here is important and also difficult to hope you will be able to barrett. it's about eight minutes long. the five-ton plutonium bomb plunged towards the city. 47 seconds later a powerful implosion forced the plutonium core to compress from the size of a grapefruit to the size of a tennis ball generating a nearly instantaneous chain reaction of nuclear fission with colossal force and energy the bomb detonated a third of a mile above and is 30,000 residents and workers. at 11:02 a.m. a brilliant flash lit up the sky visible from as far away as the naval hospital more than 10 miles over the mountains followed by a thunderous explosion equal to the power of 21,000 tons of tnt.
the entire city convulsed. as first the center of the explosion reach temperatures higher than at the center of the sun and the velocity of its shockwave exceeded the speed up sound. a tenth of a millisecond later all of materials that made up the bomb converted into an ionized gas and electromagnetic waves were released into the air. the thermal heat of the bonna guided a fireball with an internal temperature of over 500 40000 degrees fahrenheit. within one second the blazing fireball expanded from 52 feet to its maximum size of 750 feet in diameter. within three seconds the ground below reach an estimated 5400 to 72 and degrees fahrenheit. directly beneath the bomb infrared heat rays instantly carbonized human and animal flesh and vaporized internal organs.
the atomic cloud billowed two miles overhead includes the sun. the vertical blast pressure crashed much of the valley. horizontal blast tore through the region at 2.5 times the speed up of a category 5 hurricane pulverizing buildings, trees, plants, animals and thousands of men women and children. in every direction people were blown out of their shelters houses factories schools and hospital beds catapulted against the walls are flattened beneath collapsed buildings. those working in the fields writing straight person standing in line at city resting stations were blown off their feet are hit by plummeting degree. an iron bridge moved 28 inches down stream. as the buildings began to implode patients and staff
jumped out of windows of the nagasaki medical college hospital and mobilized high school girls leaping from the third story of the-o-meter school half mile from the blast. the blazing heat melted iron and other metals scorched bricks and concrete buildings ignited clothing disintegrated vegetation and cause severe and fatal flash burned some peoples expose faces and bodies. a mile from the detonation the blast forced nine-inch brick walls to crack and glass fragment looked at into people's arms legs backs and faces often puncturing their muscles and organs are you two miles away thousands of people suffering flesh burns from the heat lay trapped in partially demolished buildings. distances up to five miles wood and glass winters. peoples clothing and ripped into their flesh. window shattered as far as 11 miles away. larger doses of radiation and
any human had ever received penetrated deeply into the bodies of people and animals. the ascending fireball suctioned massive amounts of dust and debris into its turning stem. deafening roar erupted as buildings throughout the city shattered and crashed to the ground. it all happened in an instant a 13-year-old remembered. it barely seen the blinding light have a mile away before a powerful force hit him on his right side and hurled him into the air. the heat was so intense i curled up like dried grilled squid he said in what felt like dream like slow-motion. he was blown backwards 130 feet across a field of roads and irrigation channel then plunge to the ground landing on his back in a rice patty in shallow water. inside the mitsubishi weapons
factory he had been wiping perspiration from her face and concentrating on her work when an enormous blue white flash of light verse into the building followed by an earsplitting explosion. thinking a torpedo had detonated inside the plant she threw herself onto the ground and covered her head with her arms just as the factory came crashing down on top of her. in a short-sleeve shirt, trousers gators and cap he had been riding his bicycle through the hills in the northwest corner of the valley when a sudden burning wind rushed toward him from behind propelling him into the air slamming him face down on the road. the earth was shaking so hard he said that i hung on as hard as i could say would get blown away again. 15-year-old noggin i was standing inside an airplane parts factory protected to some degree type distance of the
wooded mountains that stood between her and the bomb. a flash she remembered. she thought a bomb had hit her building three she fell to the ground covering her ears and eyes with her thumbs and fingers according to her training as windows crashed around her. she could hear pieces of swirling and colliding in the air outside areas to miles southeast of the blast the young streetcar driver was sitting in the lounge talking with his friends. the train cable flash. the whole city of nagasaki the light was indescribable he said and an unbelievably massive white lit up the whole city create a violent explosion rocked the station. he and his friend died for cover under tables and furniture. he felt like he was floating in
the air before being slapped down to the floor. something heavy landed on his back and he fell unconscious. beneath the still rising mushroom cloud a huge portion of nagasaki had vanished. tens of thousands throughout the city were dead or injured. on the floor of the terminal she lay beneath a fallen team. he was curled up on the floor of the airplane parts factory. playing injured in the collapse me to be she factory and gulped and smoke. yosher that was lying in a muddy rice patty barely conscious his body and face brutally scorched.
i selected a short excerpt to give you a sense of what happened early on. you'll hear the name of a young physician who's a secondary character in the book. within a week of the bombing, thousands of men, women and children across nagasaki and the surrounding region began to experience -- excuse me, i'm just going to bring this a little closer.
thank you. within a week of the bombing, thousands of men, women and children across nagasaki and the surrounding region began to experience inexplicable combinations of symptoms. high fever, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, bloody stools, nosebleeds, whole body weakness and fatigue. their hair fell out in large clumps, their burns and wounds secreted extreme amounts of pus and their gums swelled, became infected and bled. purple spots appeared on their bodies. at fist about the size of a pinprick, one doctor recalled, but growing within a few days to the size of a grain or -- excuse me, a grain of rice or a pea. spots were signs of hemorrhaging beneath the skin. infections throughout the body were rampant, including the large intestine, esophagus, lungs and uterus.
within a few days of the appearance of initial symptoms, many people lost consciousness, mumbled deliriously and died in extreme pain. others languished for weeks before either dying or slowly recovering. even those who had suffered no external injuries fell sick and died. some relief workers and victim'' families who had come into the area after the bombing also suffered serious illness. fear gripped the city. as the pattern of symptoms, illness and death became clear, some people pulled on their hair every morning to see if their time had come. believing the illness was contagious, many families turned away relatives and guests who were staying with them after the bombing, and some farmers outside nagasaki refused food to hungry refugees from the city. at first, the doctor and other physicians suspected dysentery, cholera or possibly some form of liver disease.
others thought the illness was due to poisonous gas released by the bomb. by august 15th, however, when japanese scientists confirmed that an atomic bomb had been dropped on nagasaki, physicians deduced what appeared to be an epidemic was somehow related to radiation contamination. this discovery was helpful in ruling out contagious diseases and other conditions, but it did nothing to minimize the mystifying, confusing and terrifying truth about the invisible power of the bomb. people died one after another. the doctor likened the situation to black, the black death pandemic that devastated europe in the 1300s. observing the cremations taking place in his hospital yard, he wondered if his body, too, might soon be burned. life or death was a matter of chance, of fate, he said, and the dividing line between the man being cremated and the doctor cremating him was slight.
a second wave of radiation illnesses and deaths swept through the city in late august and early september and continued through early october. the doctor and his whole staff came down with nausea, diarrhea and fatigue which, he remembered, made me feel as be i had been beaten all over my body. from the doctor's perspective from his burped-out hospital -- death carved a clear geographical path. the first people who suffered and died from radiation-related illness were living inside an air raid shelter at the bottom of the hill. the illness then climbed the hill, killing people in relative order according to their distance from the atomic blast. when the next tier of people grew sick, they were carried to the hospital grounds by their neighbors who lived farther up the hill, and the distance between the homes of the sick and his hospital became shorter and shorter. one family, another and then the
yamaguchis were attacked by radiation sickness, the doctor remembered. i remember this widening -- excuse me, i named this widening advance of the disease the concentric circles of death. he watched as his neighbor, mr. yamaguchi, lost 13 family members from atomic bomb sickness. after each death, mr. yamaguchi carried the body to the cemetery, dug a grave andalled for the priest. after each ceremony, he returned home to care for the remaining family members, all of whom had fallen ill. they are dying one by one, he told the doctor. who will send for the priest when i am dying? who will dig my grave when i am gone? this is just a short note about what was going on in the united states at the same time.
high-level officials in the united states adamantly and publicly refuted the news reports out of hiroshima and nagasaki that large numbers of people were suffering and dying from radiation exposure. in late august and early september, for example, general leslie grove, director of the manhattan project where the bombs were developed, tried to deflect public discussion about the bomb's radiation effects by insisting on the lawfulness of the bombs' use and their decisive role in ending the war. the atomic bomb is not an inhuman weapon, he stated in the "new york times." i think our best answer to anyone who doubts this is that we did not start the war, and if they don't like the way we ended it, to remember who started it. later that year general groves testified before the u.s. senate that deaths from high-dose radiation exposure is, quote, without undue suffering and a very pleasant way to die.
okay. i'm going to skip ahead ten years now, take you to a new place. i'm going to tell you a story, oh, my goodness. the first time i met dole, mrs. dole, was in 2003 nagasaki, and i was in a conference room waiting for her at one end of a very long table, and she entered from the far end. and when i first set eyes on her, she took my breath away. she stood there so tall and erect with a presence unlike anyone i'd ever met before. i learned later that as a child she was athletic and strong-willed, and she sometimes broke the rules. the photo in my book of doe as a child shows her in street clothes on a day that she should have been wearing her school uniform. she liked to look nice.
you'll hear the word -- [inaudible] in this segment. it means atomic bomb-affected person a word created to identify the victims and survivors of the atomic bombs. >> doe was 15 at the time of the bomb. she was the one inside the mitsubishi weapons factory that imploded on top of her and thousands of men, women and student workers. to catch you up on her story, she barely escaped the factory ruins before she fell unconscious on an embankment. she had a big, wide gash on the back of her head running from one ear to the other. in the first few months after the bombing, purposing spots appeared on her body, she ran a high fever, her gums were inflamed, and she lost all of her hair. her doctor told her parents that she was dying, and it was time to let her go. but doe made it.
most of her symptoms disappeared, and her injuries, for the most part, healed. but year after year her hair would not grow back. doe hid inside her house staring at herself in the mirror. instead of hair, soft, raggedly fuzz grew on her scalp, so thin and transparent that she looked almost bald, but even that would fall out, then grow in and fall out again. why me, she fumed, why do i have to stay so ugly? i didn't do anything. she asked herself over and over again what she should do with the life she had been given. eight years after the bombing she finally came to realize that she needed to find a way to transcend her atomic bomb experience and somehow create a new life for herself. desperate to overcome her shame and reclaim her life, doe put on
the black hankerchief her mother made for her and stepped outside her house. she stayed close to home at first, taking short walks only in her immediate neighborhood. later she heard the people called her the girl with the triangle cloth. doe's father decided that she should go to dress-making school so she could eventually support herself and have a good life. the commute to school required her to venture farther from home. one day on her way home she saw a fatigued middle-aged woman sitting on a straw mat on the ground with a young child strapped to her back. could you give me something, the woman begged, anything is fine. doe dropped some coins into her box and was overwhelmed by the sad and lonely sound they made. what kind of life has this woman had, she wondered. did she lose her husband in the war or the atomic bomb? on her way home, doe imagined what it would be like to live like this woman and was awakened to the crucial necessity of her own independence. she quickly found a part-time job as a kitchen worker making grilled dumplings with octopus.
some months later she was hired as a nagasaki representative for a cosmetics company. for the first time since the bombing, doe felt alive again and began envisioning a future for herself. she decided that she wanted to live an authentic and full life for herself and for -- excuse me -- and for her friends who had died. reconnecting to her love of fashion, doe focused her vision on cosmetics as a way to help young women whose faces were scarred and burned. as time went on, she wanted to push herself and test her potential. she wanted to leave her hometown and move to a bigger city. making a rare choice for a single japanese woman, doe requested a transfer to her company's head office in tokyo, the place for fashion, she said, the place for anything. her application was accepted, but doe's parents adamantly objected to her leaving. your body is injured, they said.
at some point you might become ill again. we can easily foresee your experiencing hardships there. doe was furious and in another act of social defiance, she told her parents that she was going to tokyo despite their wishes. before she left she rented a room in nagasaki to practice living on her own, and she worked at the cosmetics company's local shop and took odd jobs to save money. in 1955 her hair finally grew back enough for her to remove the black kerchief from her head. she was free. on the day of her departure, doe -- now 26 -- wrapped her clothes, said good-bye to her family and boarded a train for tokyo. the trip took a day and a half. her goal was to try to use the life she had been given. i felt like i'd already died once, she remembered, so if it didn't work out, i wouldn't have
lost anything. from inside the slow, coal-burning train, doe watched the city, her childhood and her atomic bomb experiences disappear in the distance. going to tokyo was the true starting line of my life, she said. i bet against myself that i would win. this is the closing segment i'll read tonight, and i'm going to skip way ahead to the early and mid 2000s and tell you about yoshida, an absolute amazing -- an absolutely amazing, charming, kind and hilarious man whom i met when he was in his 70s. yoshida was a 13-year-old boy who had been blown back 130 feet into a rice paddy. his face was severely burned and disfigured.
of a grocery wholesaler. each of the five survivors whose stories i tell experienced personal moments of awareness or transformation that led them to speaking publicly about their experiences, to do everything possible that nagasaki is the last atomic bomb city in history. here is the story of yoshida's first public telling of his story and how he speaks children about his experiences. a note about his appearance yoshida wears a large black , patch to cover the place where his right ear used to be. the patch is secured by a black elastic band that runs underneath his chin, up the other side of his face and across the top of his nearly-bald head. scar tissue covers his face and neck, and his left ear is shriveled. behind large-framed glasses, yoshida's eyes are uneven, one
higher than the other. although yoshida admired the people who chose to speak publicly, and he thought of them as pioneers. he himself remained silent. i was shy to speak in front of people, especially women. everyone looked at me like this, he grimaced. i didn't want it. one day, however, another man approached him to ask if he could take his place at a talk he was scheduled to give to junior high school visiting nagasaki. he agreed, but when he arrived at the site and saw all the students staring at him, he immediately regretted it. unraveled by the students' fear of making eye contact with him and what he thought was their revulsion, yoshida stood before them and told his story. some students began crying, and when he looked up at that them, he nearly burst into tears himself. afterward, many of the children expressed their appreciation to him. yoshida, however, was so shaken by the experience that he return momentarily to silence, but not for long. in his ongoing effort to accept his disfigurement, yoshida came to terms with the fact that he
could not change what had happened to him or how he looked, and he decided no longer to let his shyness get in the way of speaking out for peace. outside the nagasaki atomic bomb museum in 2007, yoshida turns towards the crowds of uniformed, talkative students lining up for tours and presentations by survivors. he locates the group of students that is scheduled to hear his story that day, greets the head teacher, then races to the head of the line to hold the museum door open for the class, urging them inside until the last child has entered. he says beaming, 9.5 out of 10 is children don't cry when they see my face. [laughter] >> to help the students feel comfortable, for years he has joked that he is as good looking as a handsome japanese pop star from the 1990s. [laughter] now, however, that pop star -- still a handsome actor in his 40s -- no longer evokes the humorous comparison yoshida intends. a colleague suggested he update the actor he compares himself to, but he has never done so, except once in chicago when he likened his incredible good looks to those of leonardo dicaprio. [laughter] >> in nagasaki, however, even if children don't fully understand his lighthearted
twist on his appearance still gets children to smile. when children ask him for his autograph afterward, he signs it grandpa yoshida and adds in parentheses. this is what i say this is what i say to children, he explains. have you ever looked up peace in the dictionary? they never have. they've never looked it up, because we don't need to know what peace is during peacetime. let's look it up together, he says to the children. he pauses and adds emphatically, our greatest enemy is carelessness. we need to pay attention to peace. thank you. [applause] >> that was my father sighing.
[laughter] going to take a breath for a moment, allow you all to take a breath for a moment. and open the house to questions, to thoughts, to anything that occurs to you that you'd like to ask or discuss. first you. yes? how did you decide upon those 52 -- five to -- >> well, it started, one of the survivors i met in 1986 in washington, d.c., where he was on a speaking tour. and i was unexpectedly invited to be his interpreter for two days, and i not only read the english translations of his speeches, but i was the only one who spoke japanese, and he spoke no english, so we spent many, many hours together, and that,
that started my deep and profound interest in post-nuclear survival and the personal stories of the survivors. once i decided to write the book, it was 2003, and i not only went back to meet him, but was very fortunate to have several people in nagasaki introduce me to the other four. and then i also met with maybe about 13 or so more survivors whose stories are woven in, but without necessarily being named. >> how'd you happen to learn japanese? [laughter] >> like you don't know. [laughter] >> how did i happen to learn japanese? i was in, i lived in japan as a international exchange student when i was in high school for 13 months, and no one in my japanese host family or school spoke to english, so i became -- i learned a lot then, and then i studied in college as well. yes?
>> why do you suppose nagasaki is so ignored? all the books are about hiroshima, and virtually nothing is about nagasaki. it is a great question. she asked why do you think nagasaki has been so ignoreed, that hiroshima has all the books written about it, and nagasaki is ignored. >> yeah? >> yeah. >> it's a complex question, i think. i think that over the years hiroshima as the first city bombed became kind of an iconic symbol of the bombs. and even -- nagasaki even kind of became fused with hiroshima as it relates to, you know, typically i hear people say -- and i think i may have used to
have said it as well -- or the bomb ended the war, or when we dropped the bomb. and either people don't know about the second atomic bombing, or they are just referring to it as a singular event. and i think it's a dreadful oversight. yes.. yes? >> what seems dreadful to me is that they dropped the second bomb. i just don't understand why they couldn't have waited a while and seen the reaction to the first. why they had to do the second. do you have any -- >> i, she said what seems dreadful to her is that they dropped the second atomic bomb, that they didn't wait to see what the reaction would be to the first attack. i have a couple of things i'd like to say. one is, is that my
one is, is that my book starts after the bomb was dropped and deals with the survivors' lives, and i have studied the question that you're asking, and it's really complex. and i have found two historians who i respect really profoundly because they analyze the facts without bias compared to almost any other historian. and even they -- i think they kind of lean toward the fact that nagasaki, the nagasaki bombing did not impact the surrender, or if it did, not very significantly. but even they will not draw that concrete conclusion. it's very complex and just -- one interesting little fact is that the nagasaki bombing did not have a second, it did not have a separate military directive. rather, the bombs were -- president truman signed an order
to deliver each atomic bomb as it was ready. so there was no specific analysis for the need of the second bomb. yes? >> how was your experience as an exchange student? >> how were my experiences as an exchange student? that was a long time ago. [laughter] >> they were great. they were very hard as well. being in an environment where i had no one to speak to comfortably for a long time was hard. but it was fascinating, and it completely opened up my life to a sense of global experiences that i had not known before. yes? >> i'm curious about the willingness of the participants
to be exposed through your writing and whether you encountered any problems. i know that some of the other people probably did not want to have so much exposure because you've said they did not want their names used. >> no, it's not that they didn't want their names used, it's just i had to limit the number of names i used in order for readers to really follow the book. basically, most people -- i believe it's true in hiroshima too, but also, definitely, in nagasaki -- most survivors do not speak publicly about their experiences. most do not speak privately about their experiences. they've remained pretty silent even within their families. and, you know, it's an incredibly traumatic experience, and they've had to keep their identities hidden because of discrimination because for their own prospects more marriage and children and for their children's prospects for
marriage and children and for their grandchildren prospects of marriage and children. so the ones that i interviewed are part of a small core group of survivors who for various personal reasons made a choice to speak out, and they are -- so they're very glad that their stories are being told. and they do it with a strong, passionate commitment that nagasaki, their dream would be that nagasaki is the last atomic-bombed city in history, you know? yes. >> i'm curious, someone who's younger and has graduated from high school less than a decade ago, how, like, do the history books read when it comes to world war ii and the end from japan's side? because, like, i can remember, i think our history books are kind
of biased. [laughter] i feel like there'd be a lot of animosity. >> so you're asking what are the history books like, what do they speak about in japan about the end of world war ii? >> yeah. and, like, how, like, the choice that the united states made to take that action with both of those bombs. >> that's a complex situation because there are those who want to remove all mention of the atomic bombs in japanese history books so that -- they're the more right-wing core of the government because they don't want to -- they want to honor the militaristic aggression of japan. and there are those who want the history books to reflect the atomic bombs as well. so it's kind of complicated, and there are kind of cycles of trying to insert the points of view into the textbooks. you know, japan is not -- at least my experience, i don't
know it in detail, i haven't met thousands of people in japan, but my experience being in japan is that the survivors who speak publicly about their experiences are very open and direct and deeply respectful of those who suffered at the hands of the japanese military. at pearl harbor, in -- across asia with the atrocities and the allied p.o.w.s who were tortured and killed. i don't know if there's that sensibility across the nation. i haven't experienced it, put it that way. i don't -- i can't i don't -- i can't speak for sure. so it's, you know, we have similarities to some degree. yes? >> is the book being published in japan, and if so, have you had reactions? >> the book is not yet being published in japan. it is just released today. [laughter]
>> there are -- so it is being publish ared so far in the united kingdom and this denmark. and being translated into danish. and it's unsure yet whether the book will be published in japan. i'll have to wait and see. those survivors' stories in japan are very well acknowledged every year around the time of the two an verse rues. anniversaries. so a lot of their stories are familiar to the japanese, so that's why i'm not sure. yes.. yes? >> what was your most interesting or profound or surprising discovery during your experience? >> ah. what was my most interesting or profound be or surprising discovery during this experience. [laughter] >> almost everything. [laughter] >> there was nothing -- most of what i was researching and trying to write about was new to
me and new to, new to kind of american readers. so -- but i would say one thing that i could say that i'm not sure it would be surprising -- i guess it would be surprising, because when i first went this 2003, it was a really big jump to try to start interviewing survivors and trying to grasp and understand the foundations and the beginnings of what had happened in that city. and i think i would have, could have never imagined how much i would have adored the five survivors and others that i met and got to know. they really became very deeply meaningful to me as a person. yes. >> what about the long-term -- >> yes. >> -- genetic effects and things
like that? is that something that you deal with in the book? >> i do. >> and do the survivors talk about that when they speak publicly, or -- >> so the question is what about the long-term genetic effects on the survivors, and do they speak about this publicly when they, i mean, do they speak about that when they speak publicly, right? is that the question? >> yes. >> so i haven't heard them speak publicly about it because they're mostly telling their personal stories. with me they spoke about it some because i pressed to know about the circumstances of how they were able to get married. four out of the five married, and i think all, all four had children. and so i pressed about how that happened, because it was very difficult to marry as a survivor and then what it was like when their children were born and as they were growing up. so they spoke about it with me, but i haven't heard them speak kind of in their speeches
because they're more telling about their personal experiences. and so far, you know, the radiation -- i did a reading of just what happened in the first few months after the bombing. but for decades afterwards the cancer rates skyrocketed in different cycles. many different -- leukemia and many, many different kinds of cancers, really high rates both in children and adults. and now as the survivors are reaching their older age, they are now in a new region of high risk, and, you know, no one can pinpoint any individual's occurrence of cancer as being connected to the bombing at this point. they only know by statistical analysis that the rates are much higher. so it's a very confusing and frustrating part of their lives. and as far as genetic effects
go, in the second generation there's been no evidence. they have been studied and studied and studied. the survivors have, many of them have volunteered to be subjects of lifelong studies, and there are no indications of genetic effects in the second generation, but scientists are not declaring that to be definitive because they don't know whether that might have skipped a generation. ?es >> are all of your survivors still alive? >> i hesitate to answer that question because it might be a little bit of a spoiler in the book. so may i leave it at that? would that be all right? [laughter] >> thank you. any final questions? yes. >> [inaudible] >> no, it doesn't have to be,
i'm just putting it out there. >> just curious about your, you were in high school when you went to nagasaki, and what was your, if you recall, what was your historical -- your perspective of the history of the war at that, at that point? and in this idea that the bombing brought about the surrender? >> this is a friend of mine, andy, who must have read the preface. [laughter] >> because -- >> [inaudible] >> oh, he read the l.a. times' review, he says. he's asking what was my experience. i went to nagasaki when i was in high school x what was my , what was my experience like when i went there, and i'm have forgotten the last
half. >> well, just whether you were -- >> oh, yeah, what was my historical perspective, what did i know up until then? nothing. [laughter] >> i was living in yokohama, and i was a junior in high school, but i was invited because i was the only american in the school to go with the senior class on their weeklong field trip. and this school took their seniors to a southern island, and as part of going around the island, we stopped in nagasaki and went to the atomic bomb museum there. and it was amazing. it was a life-changing experience for me at a young age because, number one, i hadn't learned about the atomic bombings yet in high school. i i should have, but we moved around a lot, and i missed american history. [laughter] >> in every school. i didn't ever get american history in high school. it was always, it was always taught, like, you know, it was -- when i moved to a new school, it had always been taught the year before, so i missed it. i got a lot of geography. [laughter] >> so i didn't know anything about it, and it was shocking to me, and it was terrifying to me. and i was standing there in japanese -- and japan at the time with my schoolmates, japanese girls always were hand
in hand or arm in arm, you know, arms hooked. physical contact all the time. so there i am in from the of the glass cases where there's, you know, a helmet with still-charred flesh inside from someone's scalp or, you know, different horrifying artifacts, and i'm just devastated. it was a really intense experience for me of understanding the impact of war. frankly, it was war of any kind of that time. and i had no learning yet. and i don't think many in high school at my age, each if they even if they did learn, it was just like a line in the history book. hiroshima and nagasaki were bombed and going on to explain whatever that textbooks 's perspective were on the impact of the surrender. yes. >> the fire bombing prior to the blast, i believe, killed more people than either one or both
combined. did any of the survivors mention anything about that? >> no, but i didn't ask them about that because it was, there's so much to learn about the atomic bombing itself and d, and the, what it takes to war.ve the nuclear it -- but you're right, that happened. >> yeah, it's amazing. >> it actually, i think it killed -- before two atomic bombs were dropped, 64 cities in japan had been devastated by either conventional or fire bombing. >> they didn't prosecute for peace. >> right. you know? just amazing. >> yeah. it was a complicated situation in japan, too, at that time. >> yeah. >> thank you. oh, yes, thank you. >> writing this seems like it
had a great emotional impact on you. you're hearing a lot of stories that are very traumatizing, so how has this book changed you as a person, and what was the emotional impact it had on you? >> i could make a joke, but -- [laughter] >> i could. i could. [laughter] >> he said, he said writing a book like this would have, is very traumatic, dealing with a lot of traumatic experiences, and what kind of emotional impact did it have on me? i think it varied, for me. i think that the thing that kept me grounded and happy during the process was knowing the survivors and growing to care about them so much and trying to really, really understand their experiences. and because they were so, they became a big part of my life -- they didn't know that, but that was what was going on inside of
me here -- that kept me going. they are strong. they are courageous. they are idiosyncratic, and they are, they were most of them pretty intimate with me about their experiences, and that meant a lot. that held me a lot. there were times when the content was really overpowering and was hard to -- i had to stop sometimes. and all in all, i know that i'll be representing this book hopefully across the country, but i'm glad that i'm not writing it anymore. it was a hard -- not only a long process and a hard project from a research and a writing point of view, but from an emotional point of view. it's, it will be a good thing for me to have a breather from the intensity of the interior of the stories. thanks.
everybody take a collective breath. [laughter] >> well, i'd like to thank you so very much for coming and for your interest in the topic, for your really fascinating questions, and for those of you who stay, i look forward to seeing you or meeting you. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. >> what happens next is that susan will be up here signing books. if you haven't purchased your book yet, we still have plenty. please take it to the register before you ask her to sign it . and secondly, we also ask if you would help us clear the area so that we can have a nice, organized signing line. it's going to be a little bit more of a challenge with the
cameras, but we always ask just help.nderful crowd to just fold your own chair. you don't have to do more than that. it's very easy, put one hand on the backrest and one foot on the bar, and then you can put it up against history or romance -- [laughter] >> and we'll clear this thing. thank you so much. >> cute. [inaudible conversations] announcer: on history bookshelf, here from the country's best-known american history writers of the past decade every saturday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch any of our programs at any time.
visit our website at at c-span.org/history. you're watching american history tv all we can come every week and on c-span3. georgetown university professor teaches a class on the military strategy and political policy goals of emancipation during the civil war. here is a preview. lincoln is too much of a pragmatist to think you can put together the resources to deport 4 million people. he doesn't think it can ever practically happen, but he knows there are a lot of northerners who will be opposed to his emancipation proclamation. he knows that if he starts colonization,icly about many racist white northerners will be more likely to accept
emancipation with colonization than simply emancipation, so the argument is that lincoln is trying to soften up northern opinion on emancipation. is that true? maybe. the 1863oes after issuance of the final emancipation proclamation, he emancipation proclamation, he never mentions colonization in a public statement again. he does give some support to a quiet theme of emancipation, and there is conflicting evidence on whether he maintains support for privately, but he gave it up publicly after the emancipation proclamation which lends support that he was using the idea of colonization as a tool. either way, the emancipation proclamation is a momentous shift and federal emancipation policy, or federal policy toward slavery during the war. by emancipation proclamation
itself is not enough to kill slavery however. watch the entire program at 8:00 p.m. and midnight on lectures in history. american history tv, only on c-span3. announcer: next on american history tv, a look at the career of general george marshall, the u.s. army chief of staff who oversaw allied strategy during world war ii. ofalso served as secretary state and defense under president truman and was responsible for the marshall plan, helping to rebuild europe after the war and earning marshall and nobel peace prize. vietnam veteran, author, and historian, josiah bunting iii, discusses his military career, and his relations with presidents truman and eisenhower. this one our event is hosted by the new york historical society.
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