|About the Book|
On Thursday, August 9, 1945, at two minutes past eleven in the morning, Nagasaki was wiped out by a plutonium atomic bomb which exploded at a height of five hundred meters over the city. Among the wounded on that fateful day was the young doctorMoreOn Thursday, August 9, 1945, at two minutes past eleven in the morning, Nagasaki was wiped out by a plutonium atomic bomb which exploded at a height of five hundred meters over the city. Among the wounded on that fateful day was the young doctor Takashi Nagai, professor of radiology at the University of Nagasaki. Nagai succeeded in gathering a tiny group of survivors -- doctors, nurses, and students -- and together they worked heroically for the wounded until they themselves collapsed from exhaustion and atomic sickness.As he lay dying of leukemia, Dr. Nagai wrote The Bells of Nagasaki, vividly recounting what he had seen with his own eyes and heard from his associates. It is a deeply moving and human story. He tells how it dawned on him that this awful havoc was indeed the work of an atomic bomb, how he speculated about the American scientists who had put it together, how he picked up a leaflet dropped by American planes warning the Japanese to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, how he and his companions shed tears over the defeat of their country.But Nagai was above all a doctor, dedicated to the sick and to science. He relates how his little group confronted hitherto unknown diseases and applied ingenious remedies. He was also a deeply committed Christian and this book chronicles the inner struggle of one who witnessed appalling suffering and yet believed in the providence of a loving God. He ends his story with a poignant cry for world peace penetrated with an optimism symbolized by the chiming of the cathedral bells.Nagai finished writing The Bells of Nagasaki in 1946, but the Occupation regime of Douglas MacArthur refused permission for its publication. An appeal was made to Washington and the book finally appeared in Japanese in 1949. It is still widely read in Japan and contains a powerful message for all men and women.