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John Hersey

     "Neither the eloquence of Churchill nor the humaneness of Roosevelt, no Charter, no plan, no hope, no treaty none of these can guarantee anything. Only men can guarantee, only the behavior of men under pressure."
John Hersey


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 the wounded.
     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 Rothman


Books by John Hersey:

The Algiers Motel Incident
A Bell for Adano (Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945.)
Key West Tales
A Single Pebble
The Wall
Life Sketches
The Call


About Hiroshima:

     "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)


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