“What has kept the world safe from the bomb since 1945 has not been deterrence, in the sense of fear of specific weapons, so much as it’s been memory. The memory of what happened at Hiroshima.”
~John Hersey, writing in “Hiroshima.”
August 6th is the anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Pacifica Radio Archives commemorates the anniversary every year with a live recording of the radio adaptation of John Hersey’s Hiroshima, arguably the most famous work of the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and reporter. An account of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 as told from the perspective of six survivors, it is written in a stark, objective voice that manages to be precise and all the more vivid for its understatement of events. A profoundly influential work, Hiroshima has long since been established as one of the classic accounts of the Second World War. This week, on From the Vault, we’ll here excerpts of Pacifica Radio Archives radio adaptation of John Hersey’s masterpiece.
The original radio adaptation of John Hersey’s Hiroshima stars Tyne Daly, Ruby Dee and Roscoe Lee Brown, Daniel Benzali, Roscoe Lee Browne, Esther K. Chae, Michael Chinyamurindi, Tony Plana, Jeanne Sakata, Chris Toshima and John Valentine. Produced by Brian DeShazor and Mark Torres, in association with Artists United and The Feminist Majority. Adapted for radio by John Valentine. Directed by Michael Haney. Music by Mark Snow.
We’ll also sit down in history with the pilots and crew who dropped their deadly nuclear payload on the unsuspecting cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Robert Lewis, Richard Nelson, Charles W. Sweeney, Bill Fox and Abe Spitzer discuss their military experiences and the implications of atomic warfare for society in a dark yet fascinating 1961 recording called The Atomic Bombers — another fine example of rare and unusual audio preserved by the Pacifica Radio Archives.
*The Pacifica Radio Archives’ recording of John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” received a National Federation of Community Broadcasters Special Merit Award in the Radio Drama category.
Archival recordings used in this week’s episode, Hiroshima:
PZ0546a-b John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” MORE INFO
BB3035 The Atomic Bombers MORE INFO
Related archival recordings in the collection:
BB0597 On Nuclear Morality / Lord Bertrand Russell MORE INFO
KZ1272 Shigeko Sasamori addresses Physicians for Social Responsibility MORE INFO
AZ0660.02 Hiroshima Witness / Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto MORE INFO
AZ0545 A Walking tour of the Hiroshima Peace Museum MORE INFO
BB0136 Fallout and Disarmament / Linus Pauling and Edward Teller MORE INFO
Click here to purchase a copy of this program or learn more about and purchase copies of the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.
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