|Born: June 17,
1914 Died: March 24, 1993 Birthplace: Tientsin, China
John Hersey was born on June 17, 1914 in
Tientsin, China to missionaries Roscoe and Grace Baird Hersey. He lived in Tientsin until he was ten years old and then returned to the U. S. with
his parents. Hersey attended Yale and then went on to graduate study at Cambridge. He obtained a summer job as a secretary for Sinclair Lewis in the summer
of 1937, and, that fall, started work at Time magazine. Two years later he was transferred to Time's Chungking bureau. During World War II he
covered the fighting in both Europe (Sicily) and Asia (Guadalcanal), writing articles for Time, Life, and The New Yorker. Hersey's first article
for The New Yorker was a piece about John F. Kennedy and the PT-109 rescue, which was later reprinted in Reader's Digest.
Hersey's first book, Men on Bataan (1942) was a patriotic look at General Douglas MacArthur and his troops in the Pacific
at the beginning of the second World War. His second book, Into the Valley (1943), described the fighting at Guadalcanal from the perspective of
the soldiers. At Guadalcanal, Hersey had become a participant rather than just a reporter. The unit he was accompanying came under heavy fire and
suffered many casualties; Hersey was pressed into service as a stretcher bearer and was later commended by the Navy for his assistance in aiding
Hersey was subsequently transferred to the Mediterranean Theater, where he reported on the Allies' invasion and
occupation of Sicily. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, A Bell for Adano (1944), a fictionalized account of the occupation government
in a small Italian town. (The New York Times listed his Pulitzer on the same front page of its May 8, 1945 edition that announced the end of the
war in Europe.)
In 1944-45, Hersey was posted in Moscow by Time, but after the war in the Pacific ended he received a joint assignment to
cover China and Japan, with expenses shared by Time and The New Yorker.
— Source: Steve
The Algiers Motel Incident
A Bell for Adano (Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.)
Key West Tales
A Single Pebble
"On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima
was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. 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"
— The New York Times
"One of the great classics of the war."
— The New Republic
"Hersey best conveys the horror of the day by sticking to concrete details,
rendering events in their spare, awful reality. Reading in gruffly emotive terms is veteran actor and activist Asner. He's unflinching
throughout, recounting Hersey's words with sobering conviction and passion."
— Publishers Weekly
"Nothing can be said about this
book that can equal what the book has to say. It speaks for itself, and in an unforgettable way, for humanity."
— The New York Times
Click here to listen to a
preview of Hiroshima (RealAudio format)
Go back to
The 'Old' New Journalists