“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.
But first we begin with an excerpt of a Boston University speech by Howard Zinn from November 11th, 2009 on American “Holy Wars.” In this talk, Zinn scours the American war record in search of a “good war” or “justifiable war.”
*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
Related archival recordings in the collection:
BB3035 The Atomic Bombers MORE INFO
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
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.
PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about 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.