To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima

To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima

by Charles Pellegrino


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Drawing on the voices of atomic bomb survivors and the new science of forensic archaeology, Charles Pellegrino describes the events and the aftermath of two days in August when nuclear devices, detonated over Japan, changed life on Earth forever.

To Hell and Back offers readers a stunning, “you are there” time capsule, wrapped in elegant prose. Charles Pellegrino’s scientific authority and close relationship with the A-bomb survivors make his account the most gripping and authoritative ever written.

At the narrative’s core are eyewitness accounts of those who experienced the atomic explosions firsthand—the Japanese civilians on the ground. As the first city targeted, Hiroshima is the focus of most histories. Pellegrino gives equal weight to the bombing of Nagasaki, symbolized by the thirty people who are known to have fled Hiroshima for Nagasaki—where they arrived just in time to survive the second bomb. One of them, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, is the only person who experienced the full effects of both cataclysms within Ground Zero. The second time, the blast effects were diverted around the stairwell behind which Yamaguchi’s office conference was convened—placing him and few others in a shock cocoon that offered protection while the entire building disappeared around them.

Pellegrino weaves spellbinding stories together within an illustrated narrative that challenges the “official report,” showing exactly what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and why.

Also available from compatible vendors is an enhanced e-book version containing never-before-seen video clips of the survivors, their descendants, and the cities as they are today. Filmed by the author during his research in Japan, these 18 videos are placed throughout the text, taking readers beyond the page and offering an eye-opening and personal way to understand how the effects of the atomic bombs are still felt 70 years after detonation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538121788
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 02/07/2019
Series: Asia/Pacific/Perspectives Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 316,090
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Charles Pellegrino is the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller Her Name, Titanic and Ghosts of the Titanic. His research includes work in paleobiology, nuclear propulsion systems for space exploration, and forensic archaeology at sites ranging from Pompeii and the Titanic to the World Trade Center. He serves as a scientific consultant to James Cameron for both his Titanic expeditions and his ongoing Avatar film series.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Killing Star
Chapter 2: Gojira’s Egg
Chapter 3: Setsuko
Chapter 4: And the Rest Were Neutrinos
Chapter 5: The Crazy Iris
Chapter 6: Kaiten and the Faithful Elephants
Chapter 7: A Vapor in the Heavens
Chapter 8: Threads
Chapter 9: Testament
Chapter 10: Legacy: To Fold a Thousand Paper Cranes

About the Author

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To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
MontzieW More than 1 year ago
The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back by Charles Pellegrino, Arthur Morey (Narrator) is a book that needs to be read by everyone. I have read several books about Hiroshima but I think this one is one of the best. It flows so well and covers so much- the science of the bomb (without going deep, just the basics), follows survivors, and pilots. It reads like a novel and I feel like I was living through it with them. This is a book that people need to read esp. now with this Government we have now. Our Groper-in-Chief has a thing for nukes. Scary! Esp. after reading this to remind me of how bad it was and our new ones are so much worse! The narration is perfect, couldn't get a better voice for this book. I got this book from the library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I chose this book for my research topic. The author opens up the book with a good comparison of terror from two writers who've created modern terror with the terror experienced in the bombing of Hiroshima. In the beginning of the book it starts off slow. I didn't mind it starting off slow because it was easier to understand thank the rest of the book. A little boring but pretty comprehensive. As I continued reading, I had a better understanding of what the author was trying to do. He gave the survivors a voice. Survivors who were children when this event happen. Pellegrino also does an amazing job with the amount of detail he explains the stories of the survivors. What I didn't like was how he jumped from story to story, I was a little confused. Pellegrino would speak of one family and their experience and then he would jump to another family and their experience all the way on the other side of the bomb. However the stories were filled with sensory language and so much imagery. All in all I really enjoyed the book and it was emotionally captivating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before reading this book i had no knowledge on the bombing of Hiroshima and I never thought that I would read a book about the topic. When I started reading it I found it very boring because it progressed very slowly, but as the book went on i became more and more interested in it. I am not the type of person that likes to read about history but I loved this book and loved reading about all the interesting things that happened. The author does a great job of using imagery and sensory language when he describes everything, and I think that is what kept me so interested. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves to read about history or who just want a good book to read. After you get past the dull beginning this book keeps you very interested.