Today's the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and there is no better way to recall the day's impact than to pick up John Hersey's memorable work. "Hiroshima" originally ran in The New Yorker -- it took up the entire August 31, 1946, edition, in fact -- and was later reprinted as a book.
Hersey described the events in simple, but powerful, prose. Here's how his article began in the magazine's "A Reporter at Large" section: "At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk."
His work -- chronicling the bombing's aftermath through the eyes of six survivors: two doctors, two women, a Protestant clergyman, and a German Jesuit priest -- has been recognized as one of the 20th Century's best pieces of journalism. Here's how The New Yorker describes the response: "The magazine sold out at newsstands. Many newspapers republished portions of the article on their front pages or devoted editorials to it. The Book of the Month club distributed "Hiroshima" free of charge to its members. ABC pre-empted its radio schedule to broadcast a reading of the entire piece. Later that year, the article was published in book form by Alfred A. Knopf and has gone on to sell more than three million copies."