The most recommended books about Hiroshima

Who picked these books? Meet our 17 experts.

17 authors created a book list connected to Hiroshima, and here are their favorite Hiroshima books.
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Book cover of On the Horizon

Constance Hays Matsumoto Author Of Of White Ashes

From my list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write stories and poetry intended to influence positive change in our world. Since marrying Kent 25 years ago and then growing to know and love his parents, something stirred in me to learn more and to write Of White Ashes. In our research, we relied on over 50 primary Hiroshima sources, visited the family home in Hiroshima, saw the bomb shelter my father-in-law dug into the side of a hillside, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the few buildings that still stand, and walked where my father-in-law walked. Researching and writing Of White Ashes changed me—forever. My article, "How the History of Nuclear Violence Shapes Our Present", was published in CrimeReads.

Constance's book list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror

Constance Hays Matsumoto Why did Constance love this book?

On the Horizon is unique, as it brings Lois Lowry’s personal experiences to the page.

Lowry was born in Honolulu, where the U.S./Japan war began during WWII with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and was eleven years old when she moved to Tokyo where her father was stationed during the Occupation.

On the Horizon conveys great meaning over the course of its 72 pages, is creatively illustrated, and is appropriate for young and older readers alike. It delivers substance in verse—about those who died or whose lives were forever changed at Pearl Harbor and in Hiroshima. Names of the deceased and ordinary items—tricycles, paper cranes, and dolls—tell extraordinary stories of hate, shame, guilt, fear, loss, grief, and hope.

By Lois Lowry, Kenard Pak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Horizon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII's most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Kenard Pak. Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this stunning work in verse for young readers. On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl…


Book cover of Japan: A Travel Guide for Vegans

Wendy Werneth Author Of Veggie Planet: Uncover the Vegan Treasures Hiding in Your Favorite World Cuisines

From my list on vegan travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been living a semi-nomadic lifestyle and traveling the globe for all my adult life, and travel has truly shaped who I am. In 2014, when I learned about the many advantages of a vegan lifestyle for my health, the planet, and the animals, I felt compelled to make the change. There was one thing holding me back, though, which was the fear that being vegan would ruin travel. Fortunately, I gave it a trial run anyway during a three-week trip to Greece and discovered that being vegan actually made traveling even more fun! Ever since, I’ve been sharing my global vegan discoveries on my website, the Nomadic Vegan.

Wendy's book list on vegan travel

Wendy Werneth Why did Wendy love this book?

I hesitate to recommend vegan guidebooks about specific destinations, because in most cases I find them unnecessary. If all you need are listings of veg-friendly restaurants, that kind of info is generally best found on the Internet or on apps like HappyCow, as it changes so quickly.

Japan, however, is one destination where it’s really helpful to have some background info about the local language and culture as it applies to vegan travel. Jesse Duffield has made multiple trips to Japan and offers insights that most foreign tourists simply wouldn’t know about.

The traditional food eaten in Japan is largely plant-based, and yet it can be surprisingly difficult to avoid hidden animal ingredients such as dashi, the fish-based stock used in most soups and sauces. This book will help you to navigate the fascinating but confusing world of Japanese cuisine and enjoy the many culinary delights it has to…

By Jesse Duffield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Japan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

July 2021 Update
Sadly, many vegan restaurants have closed over the last year and a half, and I am unable to visit Japan to update this book, and with such heavy restrictions on tourism, there would be little point in doing so. It has not been updated since March (2021) and is unlikely to be updated in the foreseeable future. However, this book could still be useful for anyone planning a trip for when the borders re-open. I am therefore reducing the price to $2.99 (the minimum price allowed on Amazon).

The Veg Travel Guide to Japan is the first…


Book cover of Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory

Marta Fuchs Author Of Legacy of Rescue: A Daughter's Tribute

From my list on with impact on the daughter of Holocaust Survivors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a member of a generation that wasn’t supposed to be born. My parents were Hungarian Holocaust survivors and I was born amidst the fragments of European Jewry that remained. As a psychotherapist, I have specialized in helping people navigate the multigenerational reverberations of the Holocaust. Having a witness to your own experience, in therapy and through books, provides comfort, understanding, and hope.

Marta's book list on with impact on the daughter of Holocaust Survivors

Marta Fuchs Why did Marta love this book?

Back in the late ‘80s, I was at a small gathering of daughters of Holocaust survivors and next to me sat Elizabeth Rosner. As we each said something about our family’s history, Liz read a poem about her survivor father that vibrated with such resonance with me, and I knew I was in the presence of a gifted writer. Rosner went on to publish poetry and novels, and in this work of non-fiction that is lyrically and evocatively written, she confronts personal history and its aftermath while also exploring similar legacies of descendants of other atrocities that have left their multigenerational impact. Her “Alphabet of Inadequate Language” is alone worth the price of admission.

By Elizabeth Rosner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Survivor Café as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As featured on NPR and in The New York Times, Survivor Cafe is a bold work of nonfiction that examines the ways that survivors, witnesses, and post-war generations talk about and shape traumatic experiences.

As firsthand survivors of many of the twentieth century's most monumental events―the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Killing Fields―begin to pass away, Survivor Café addresses urgent questions: How do we carry those stories forward? How do we collectively ensure that the horrors of the past are not forgotten?

Elizabeth Rosner organizes her book around three trips with her father to Buchenwald concentration camp―in 1983, in 1995, and in…


Book cover of Hiroshima No Pika

Constance Hays Matsumoto Author Of Of White Ashes

From my list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write stories and poetry intended to influence positive change in our world. Since marrying Kent 25 years ago and then growing to know and love his parents, something stirred in me to learn more and to write Of White Ashes. In our research, we relied on over 50 primary Hiroshima sources, visited the family home in Hiroshima, saw the bomb shelter my father-in-law dug into the side of a hillside, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the few buildings that still stand, and walked where my father-in-law walked. Researching and writing Of White Ashes changed me—forever. My article, "How the History of Nuclear Violence Shapes Our Present", was published in CrimeReads.

Constance's book list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror

Constance Hays Matsumoto Why did Constance love this book?

Hiroshima No Pika is an Illustrated book that immerses YA readers into the daily life of the Japanese before the atomic bomb was unleashed on them.

The aftermath is shown in raw and haunting illustrations. My father-in-law, an American hiding his identity in Hiroshima, was sixteen years old and working in a factory making rifles for his emperor when the bomb fell. Hiroshima No Pika tells the horrors of what he experienced that day. 

My favorite part is the ending. “It can’t happen again,” she says, “if no one drops the bomb.” Sadly, we are now closer to midnight (90 seconds) on the Doomsday Clock than at any point since the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists developed the design in 1947. Indeed, it can happen again. But we must have hope and work toward peace.

By Toshi Maruki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hiroshima No Pika as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

August 6, 1945, 8:15 a.m.
Hiroshima. Japan

A little girl and her parents
are eating breakfast,
and then it happened.
HIROSHIMA NO PIKA.

This book is dedicated to
the fervent hope the Flash
will never happen again,
anywhere.


Book cover of The Passenger

Audrey Wick Author Of Seeing Us

From Audrey's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Professor Traveler

Audrey's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Audrey Wick Why did Audrey love this book?

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy is his long-awaited final novel, published shortly before his death. 

Fans of McCarthy (of which I am, as I wrote my master’s thesis on McCarthy in graduate school) will find a lot to like in this work of literary fiction. What makes this book especially unique is its companion, Stella Maris, can also be read to extend the experience of the novel.  

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Passenger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sunken jet, a missing body, and a salvage diver entering a conspiracy beyond all understanding. The Passenger is a dark, hallucinogenic novel from Cormac McCarthy, the legendary author of Blood Meridian, No Country for Old Men and The Road.

'What a glorious sunset song . . . It's rich and it's strange, mercurial and melancholic' - Guardian

1980, Mississippi. It is three in the morning when Bobby Western zips the jacket of his wet suit and plunges into the darkness of the ocean. His dive light illuminates a sunken jet, nine bodies still buckled in their seats, hair floating,…


Book cover of Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms

Priya Huq Author Of Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab

From my list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller.

Why am I passionate about this?

Environmental storytelling in comics is something that I’ve always admired and want to be better at. As a cartoonist I’m always thinking of better ways to tell visual stories, because it’s fun.

Priya's book list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller

Priya Huq Why did Priya love this book?

I first heard of Kouno’s work through the animated adaptation of In This Corner of the World. Town of Evening Calm and Country of Cherry Blossoms are a short story and short series (respectively) about Hiroshima. Like many other shojo/josei artists, Kouno uses the natural world to impart tone and mood, but is particularly good at it.

By Fumiyo Kouno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What impact did World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb have on the common people of Japan? Through the eyes of an average woman living in 1955, Japanese artist Fumiyo Kouno answers these questions. This award-winning manga appears in an English translation for the first time. Fumiyo Kouno’s light, free style of drawing evokes a tender reflection of this difficult period in Hiroshima’s postwar past. As the characters continue with everyday life, the shadow of the war and the atomic bombing linger ghostlike in the background. Kouno’s beautiful storytelling touches the reader’s heart but is never overly…


Book cover of My True Course: Dutch Van Kirk Northumberland to Hiroshima

Robert O. Harder Author Of The Three Musketeers of the Army Air Forces: From Hitler's Fortress Europa to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From my list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

In May 1968, I arrived at my first duty station as a new B-52 navigator-bombardier. Later, at the bar, I was hailed by a booming voice from behind the beer taps. "Hi ya, lieutenant!" Moments later, he asked what I thought of the USAF so far. I said I was career-minded. ‘‘Hell, only the pilots get promoted; navigators get diddley-squat. Get out as soon as you can.” After he departed, the bartender came over. “Know who that was, lieutenant? He’s Tom Ferebee, the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima." The colonel had both underscored my dismal career prospects and instilled a lifelong passion for the subjects discussed in this book.

Robert's book list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Robert O. Harder Why did Robert love this book?

When Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, the Enola Gay’s crack navigator, decided to self-publish his memoirs, he was over 90. He told me he wanted it as a legacy to his family. Many of his friends, however, said he waited until everyone else was dead so he could have the last word! Knowing Dutch’s impish sense of humor, I suspect it was a little of both.

No matter. Sue Dietz has done a wonderful job of chronicling Van Kirk’s long and eventful life. Further, it allowed me a clearer window into the life of bombardier Tom Ferebee—Dutch’s lifelong best friend. Just as important, Sue was extremely generous in allowing me to liberally quote from her work; my book is the better for it. 

By Suzanne Simon Dietz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My True Course as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On an early August morning in 1945, a Boeing Silverplate B-29 Superfortress took-off from the Tinian airfield amidst an unpublicized Hollywood-like atmosphere for the first atomic strike mission in the history of civilization. The young captain made his first notation, Time Takeoff 0245, as he again performed his duties to keep the pilot on course across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. So began Special Mission No. 13 with hopes to bring an end to the devastation and killing of millions that occurred during World War II. The aerial navigator’s name was Theodore Jerome Van Kirk, a self-described Huck…


Book cover of The Last Cherry Blossom

Tim Cummings Author Of Alice the Cat

From my list on kids with smart, strong female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I earned my Master’s in Writing For Young People, or ‘Bildungsromans’ a few years back, and subsequently published my debut novel, a coming-of-age adventure about a girl who goes on a quest to save her suicidal cat. I headed back to school to honor that long-alive love for kid lit. When I was a kid, I devoured books that irrevocably inspired, changed, and moved me: I voraciously consumed every book by E.B. White, Robert O’Brien, Madeleine L’Engle, Beverly Cleary, Ruth Chew, Mildred Taylor, Richard Adams, Roald Dahl, Lowis Lowrey, Gary Paulsen…every other major kid lit classic out there, really. 

Tim's book list on kids with smart, strong female protagonists

Tim Cummings Why did Tim love this book?

12-year-old Yuriko, a girl living in Japan with her expanding family and navigating the tricky terrain of World War II, is unlike other tween female protagonists.

She’s not outwardly assertive, feisty, or heading off on a quest. She’s more of a jewel of innocence, love, and curiosity. But when we witness the bombing of Hiroshima through her eyes, we see unexpected heroism take flight. The losses she suffers, the setbacks, the nightmares, the horror, the pure honesty in how she conveys it.

Author Burkinshaw wrote the book in honor of her mother, who survived Hiroshima. It’s unlike most books for kids that come down the pike. It’s about bravery, family, and beautifully illuminates Japanese culture. The story is about facing unimaginable events but not losing your heart in the battle. 

By Kathleen Burkinshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Cherry Blossom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?


Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don't report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more…


Book cover of Hiroshima

Rhys Crilley Author Of Unparalleled Catastrophe: Life and Death in the Third Nuclear Age

From my list on nuclear war and how to stop it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently spend my time researching (and worrying about) nuclear war and how to stop it from ever happening. I live about 25 miles away from where the UK’s nuclear weapons are based, so I have a very personal interest in making sure that nuclear war never becomes a reality! As a lecturer at the University of Glasgow I’m also embarking on a four-year research fellowship with over £1 million in funding where I will be leading a team of experts to research how to improve nuclear arms control and disarmament. So keep in touch if you want to reduce the risk of nuclear war and ban the bomb!

Rhys' book list on nuclear war and how to stop it

Rhys Crilley Why did Rhys love this book?

I really enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award-winning Oppenheimer movie, and this book is the perfect book to read after watching it. Hiroshima was the first widespread account of what Oppenheimer’s creation – the atomic bomb – did to the people of Hiroshima.

Written in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear bombing, Hiroshima tells the story of six men and women who survived amidst the destruction that killed over 100,000 other people. By focusing on these six survivors, Hersey makes the almost unimaginable scale of destruction achingly real and relatable. At one point, he describes "the wounded as silent as the dead around them," and this line sends shivers down my spine. 

Few writers can conduct such detailed investigative reporting and tell the story in such a human way that still resonates today, nearly 80 years after it was first published. 

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Hiroshima as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One of the great classics of the war" (The New Republic) that tells what happened in Hiroshima through the memories of survivors—from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. 

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).

Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search…


Book cover of Disarming Doomsday: The Human Impact of Nuclear Weapons since Hiroshima

Rhys Crilley Author Of Unparalleled Catastrophe: Life and Death in the Third Nuclear Age

From my list on nuclear war and how to stop it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently spend my time researching (and worrying about) nuclear war and how to stop it from ever happening. I live about 25 miles away from where the UK’s nuclear weapons are based, so I have a very personal interest in making sure that nuclear war never becomes a reality! As a lecturer at the University of Glasgow I’m also embarking on a four-year research fellowship with over £1 million in funding where I will be leading a team of experts to research how to improve nuclear arms control and disarmament. So keep in touch if you want to reduce the risk of nuclear war and ban the bomb!

Rhys' book list on nuclear war and how to stop it

Rhys Crilley Why did Rhys love this book?

Nuclear weapons are not just dangerous if they are used in a nuclear war. Their development, testing, production, deployment, and decommissioning are all harmful to the planet. My favourite thing about this book is how this fact is explored and examined at the global and local levels.

With a geographer’s attention to the specifics of space and place, Alexis-Martin takes us on a journey around the world and through history that illuminates how all parts of the nuclear weapon production cycle have harmed people whose stories we often don’t hear. From indigenous communities displaced by nuclear weapons production facilities to the British veterans who were used as lab rats and exposed to nuclear tests by the state, this book uncovers the often hidden history of nuclear weapons.

I really enjoyed this, especially as Alexis-Martin then reflects on how we can prevent nuclear war in the future.

By Becky Alexis-Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Disarming Doomsday as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

***Winner of the L.H.M. Ling Outstanding First Book Prize 2020***

***Shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award 2020***

Since the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima, the history of nuclear warfare has been tangled with the spaces and places of scientific research and weapons testing, armament and disarmament, pacifism and proliferation. Nuclear geography gives us the tools to understand these events, and the extraordinary human cost of nuclear weapons.

Disarming Doomsday explores the secret history of nuclear weapons by studying the places they build and tear apart, from Los Alamos to Hiroshima. It looks at the legacy of nuclear imperialism…