book-action-for-disarmamentAction for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do!

Kathleen Sullivan and Peter Lucas
UN Publications, 2014

In a world where weapons small and large remain a threat to humanity, the United Nations’ new book “Action for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do!” shows young people actionable steps they can take to personally lead the call for disarmament. The book presents a variety of resources for the reader to learn about history and modern uses of weapons: guns, bombs, nuclear and biological weapons. The reader is encouraged to use that knowledge to foster a dialogue with peers, the media and politicians. Suggestions are given for points of discussion as well as methods to tailor them to be concise and have impact. The action-driven format of the book makes it both an excellent primer on disarmament and also one on civic engagement.

African Americans Against the Bomb
Vincent Intondi
Stanford University Press, 2015
Well before Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out against nuclear weapons, African Americans were protesting the Bomb. Historians have generally ignored African Americans when studying the anti-nuclear movement, yet they were some of the first citizens to protest Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Now for the first time, African Americans Against the Bomb tells the compelling story of those black activists who fought for nuclear disarmament by connecting the nuclear issue with the fight for racial equality.

By expanding traditional research in the history of the nuclear disarmament movement to look at black liberals, clergy, artists, musicians, and civil rights leaders, Intondi reveals the links between the black freedom movement in America and issues of global peace. From Langston Hughes through Lorraine Hansberry to President Obama, African Americans Against the Bomb offers an eye-opening account of the continuous involvement of African Americans who recognized that the rise of nuclear weapons was a threat to the civil rights of all people.

book_american-prometheusAmerican Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
Vintage Books, 2005

J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war, and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress. In this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years in the making, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War. This is biography and history at its finest, riveting and deeply informative.

book_voicesAtomic Bomb – Voices From Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Mark Selden and Kyoko Iriye Selden (editors),
Routledge, 1989

Many accounts, personal and secondary, have been written by and about the victims of the atomic bombs, the best known being John Hersey’s Hiroshima. Following an essay which discusses (and indicts) the decisions to drop the bombs, the Seldens have assembled literary expressions, factual and fictional, written by those who experienced the world’s only nuclear warfare. The testimony appears in the form of “Novellas,” “Poetry,” a “Photo Essay,” “Citizens’ Memoirs,” “Pictures by Atomic Bomb Survivors” (not available for review), and “Children’s Voices.” As the editors assert, these voices ” . . . merit careful listening,” but their graphic descriptions of unimaginable horrors challenge both stomach and conscience. Recommended

Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy
Ray Acheson
Rowan & Littlefield, 2021

Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy offers a look inside the antinuclear movement and its recent successful campaign to ban the bomb. From scrappy organizing to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 and achieving a landmark UN treaty banning nuclear weapons, this book narrates the journey of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and developments in feminist disarmament activism. Acheson explains the process through which diplomats, activists, and nuclear survivors worked together to elevate the horrific humanitarian and environmental impacts of nuclear weapons, develop new international law categorically prohibiting the bomb, challenge the nuclear orthodoxy, and strengthen norms for disarmament and peace. Told from the perspective of a queer feminist antimilitarist organizer who was involved from the start of the process through to the treaty’s adoption, the book utilizes interviews with dozens of participants, as well as critical theoretical perspectives about transnational advocacy networks, discourse change, and intersectional feminist action. It is meant to provide useful insights for anyone trying to make change amidst structures of power and politics.

Barefoot Gen, Vol. 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima 
Kenji Nakazawa
Last Gasp, 2004

The reissue of this classic manga’s first volume has impeccable timing. It recounts the bombing of Hiroshima from the perspective of a young boy, Gen, and his family. But the book’s themes (the physical and psychological damage ordinary people suffer from war’s realities) ring chillingly true today. Gen and his family have long been struggling without much food, money or medicine, but despite hardships, they try to maintain a semblance of normal life. The adults are exhausted and near despair; the children take air raids and starvation more or less in stride. Nakazawa, a Hiroshima survivor, effectively portrays the strain of living in this environment and shows how efforts to stay upbeat in dire circumstances sometimes manifest as manic, irrational humor. Vol. 2-10 also available.

book_bells-of-nagasakiThe Bells of Nagasaki
Takashi Nagai
Kodansha Amer Inc, 1949

The book vividly describes Dr. Nagai’s experiences as a survivor of the Atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The book was translated into English by William Johnston. South of Nagasaki harbor on the hillside of Mount Hachiro about eight kilometers from Urakami is the village of Oyama. From here one can see the basin where Urakami lies, and beyond one can see Nagasaki hazily in the distance. Young Kato was taking his cow to pasture. In the expanse of green, he found some wild strawberries and he was picking them and putting them in his mouth. And then came the flash. The cow saw it too and lifted her head. In the sky above Urakami rose a white cloud–a deep white cloud like an enormous ball of cotton–and it got bigger and bigger and bigger. It looked like a huge lantern wrapped in cotton. The outside was white but inside a red fire seemed to be blazing and something like beautiful electric lights flashed incessantly. The colors within this lantern were now red, now yellow, and now purple–all kinds of beautiful colors.

book-the-bombThe Bomb
Howard Zinn
City Lights, 2010

“The late historian and activist Howard Zinn was familiar with bombs—he dropped them on people during World War II, flying as a bombardier in Europe. This is Zinn’s passionate and readable denunciation of bombs—not just the bomb, but all bombs. In the book’s two chapters—one on Hiroshima and one on Royan, France, where Zinn dropped napalm late in World War II—Zinn poses the crucial question: “What can we learn to free us from the thinking that leads us to stand by . . . while atrocities are committed in our name?” The Bomb is the kind of critical, angry, but hopeful history telling for which Howard Zinn is so deservedly well known.” —Bill Bigelow

book_brighter-than-a-thousandBrighter than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists
Robert Jungk
Harvest Books, 1970

Robert Jungk, is the first published account of the Manhattan Project and the German atomic bomb project. It studied the making and dropping of the atomic bomb from the perspective of the atomic scientists. The book is largely based on personal interviews with the people who played a leading part in the construction and deployment of the bombs, originally published in German in 1956. An account of the remarkable scientists who discovered that nuclear fission was possible and then became concerned about its implications. Index. Translated by James Cleugh.

book_broken-connectionThe Broken Connection: On Death and the Continuity of Life
Robert Jay Lifton
American Psychiatric Publishing, 1996

The unique human awareness of our own mortality enables us to ensure our perpetuation beyond death through our impact on others. This continuity of life has been profoundly shaken by the advent of wars of mass destruction, genocide, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. In The Broken Connection, Robert Jay Lifton, one of America’s foremost thinkers and preeminent psychiatrists, explores the inescapable connections between death and life, the psychiatric disorders that arise from these connections, and the advent of the nuclear age which has jeopardized any attempts to ensure the perpetuation of the self beyond death.

Coming Back to Life: An Updated Guide to the Work that Re-Connects
Joanna R.Macy and Molly Young Brown
New Society Press, 2014 Revised Edition

Deepening global crises surround us. We are beset by climate change, fracking, tar sands extraction, GMOs, and mass extinctions of species, to say nothing of nuclear weapons proliferation and Fukushima, the worst nuclear disaster in history. Many of us fall prey to despair even as we feel called to respond to these threats to life on our planet. Authors Joanna Macy and Molly Brown address the anguish experienced by those who would confront the harsh realities of our time. In this fully updated edition of Coming Back to Life, they show how grief, anger and fear are healthy responses to threats to life, and when honored can free us from paralysis or panic, through the revolutionary practice of the Work that Reconnects. New chapters address engaging communities of color, children and teens in the Work. Youth Arts New York founder, Robert Croonquist acted as an advisor to the authors.

book_fate-of-earthThe Fate of the Earth
Jonathan Schell
Stanford University Press, 2000

The book is a groundbreaking work that described the effects of nuclear war in such a way that “forces even the most reluctant person to confront the unthinkable: the destruction of humanity and possibly most life on Earth”. The book is often attributed with revitalizing the anti-nuclear movement in the United States. This book helped focus national attention in the early 1980s on the movement for a nuclear freeze. The Fate of the Earth painted a chilling picture of the planet in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, while The Abolition offered a proposal for full-scale nuclear disarmament. With the recent tensions in India and Pakistan, and concerns about nuclear proliferation around the globe, public attention is once again focused on the worldwide nuclear situation. The author is at the forefront of the discussion. In February 1998, his lengthy essay constituted the centerpiece of a special, widely distributed issue of The Nation dealing with the nuclear arms race. The relevance of his two books for today’s debates is undeniable, as many experts assert that the nuclear situation is more dangerous than ever.

book_first-into-nagasakiFirst Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War
George Weller
Broadway Books, 2006

This book is a collection of reports by Chicago Daily News foreign correspondent George Weller. Originally written in 1945 but not approved for publication by Gen. Douglas MacArthur‘s military censors, the reports were found, collected and edited by the author’s son Anthony Weller, and published for the first time. George Weller, a Pulitzer Prize–winning war correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, entered Nagasaki on September 6, 1945, four weeks after the atomic blast leveled the city. The first Westerner to tour the city’s ruins, he talked with doctors at the makeshift hospitals and scoured the countryside in search of the POW camps scattered across southern Japan over several weeks. His eyewitness dispatches were intercepted and buried, however, by Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s censors. Weller saved his carbons, but they disappeared in the hectic months after the war and remained lost for 60 years, until rediscovered after his death by his son Anthony, himself a journalist and a novelist.

book_trinityFrom Trinity to Trinity 
Kyoko Hyashi
Station Hill Press, 2010

Station Hill Press just published Eiko Otake’s translation of From Trinity to Trinity, a novella by Kyoko Hayashi, with an extensive introduction by Eiko. Hayashi’s story traces an atomic bomb survivor on her trip to the Trinity site in New Mexico where the atomic bomb was first tested. Hayashi, through the voice of a narrator, mourns for the plants and creatures of the southwest landscape that were the first victims of an atomic blast. Her journey takes her into unfamiliar terrain, both past and present, as she not only confronts American attitudes, disconcertingly detached from the suffering of nuclear destruction, but discovers as well a profound kinship with desert plants and animals, the bomb’s “first victims.” Otake’s theatrical adaptation of From Trinity to Trinity was presented at New York Theatre Workshop as part of Hibakusha Stories programming in May, 2010.

book_full-body-burdenFull Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats
Kristen Iversen
Broadway Books, 2013 revised

Full Body Burden is Kristen Iversen’s story of growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant. It’s also a book about the destructive power of secrets—both family secrets and government secrets. Her father’s hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what they made at Rocky Flats—best not to inquire too deeply into any of it. But as Iversen grew older, she began to ask questions and discovered some disturbing realities.

As this memoir unfolds, it reveals itself as a brilliant work of investigative journalism—a shocking account of the government’s sustained attempt to conceal the effects of the toxic and radioactive waste released by Rocky Flats, and of local residents’ vain attempts to seek justice in court. Based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class-action testimony, this taut, beautifully written book promises to have a very long half-life.

John Hersey
Turtleback Books, 1946, revised 1989

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This account of the bombing of Hiroshima is told from the perspective of six survivors. Almost four decades after the original publication of the book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told. His account of what he discovered about them is now the final chapter of Hiroshima. 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” It is an unforgettably powerful book and highly recommended as a classroom assignment.

Medicine And Global Survival: The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

This free PDF is filled with excellent articles such as “Radiation in Medicine and Nuclear Power Plants: The Same But Very Different” and “Children, Teens and the Japan Disaster”.

Memoirs of a Rebel Journalist: The Autobiography of Wilfred Burchett
Edited by George Burchett and Nick Shimmin
UNSW Press, 2007

Wilfred Burchett (1911-1983) was one of Australia’s most important and controversial journalists and war correspondents. He grew up in Gippsland and cut cane along the east coast of Australia. Burchett lived through some of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century and experienced the horrors of Nazi Germany at first hand, before becoming a war correspondent. Wilfred was the first westerner to witness and report to the world on the appalling aftermath of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and has covered news in many trouble spots in the world. At one stage he was exiled from Australia because he was unable to get a replacement for his lost passport. Wilfred Burchett is widely recognized as one of the most important war correspondents in Australian history, often choosing to report from the ‘other side’. Many labelled him as a traitor because of his unorthodox views and activities. This compelling autobiography resonates with issues facing journalists today.

Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War
Susan Southard
Viking, 2015

Nagasaki takes us on the astonishing journeys of five survivors, all teenagers at the time of the bombing. From 1945 to Nagasaki today, we watch them and hibakusha across the city navigate an uncertain future with punishing injuries, acute and late-onset radiation-related illnesses, and haunting fears that they would pass on genetic disorders to their children and grandchildren. In a remarkable demonstration of human resilience, a small number of hibakusha made the very personal choice to speak out about their experiences, even as U.S. policies kept their suffering hidden in both in their own country and across the world. The survivors’ goal: To ensure that Nagasaki remains the last atomic-bombed city in history. Susan Southard spent more than a decade researching and interviewing hibakusha and atomic bomb historians, physicians, and specialists to reconstruct the days, months, and years after the bombing. Using powerful eyewitness accounts, Southard unveils this neglected story of the enduring impact of nuclear war.

book_one_thousandOne Thousand Paper Cranes: The Story of Sadako and the Children’s Peace Statue 
Ishii Takayuki
Dell Laurel Leaf Books, 2001

Ten years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Sadako Sasaki died as a result of the Atomic Bomb Disease. Sadako’s determination to fold one thousand paper cranes, symbolizing her hope for peace and her courageous struggle with her illness inspired her classmates. After her death, they started a national campaign to build the Children’s Peace Statue in memory of Sadako and the many other children who were victims of the bombing of Hiroshima. To this day, in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the statue of Sadako is beautifully decorated with thousands of paper cranes brought and sent by people around the world.

Adam Johnson and Tom Kealy
Stanford Graphic Novel Project, 2010

Although the actual death tolls remain unknown, the 1945 atomic bomb attacks killed approximately 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki. The survivors suffered from the effects of radiation and many developed diseases such as cancer. Portraying their concerns became our challenge in writing Pika-Don. Nuclear disarmament was a dream held by one man whose story touched our hearts. Pika-Don chronicles Tsutomu Yamaguchi’s life; he was a Japanese ship designer who survived the 1945 atomic bombings in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Rebel Journalism: The Writings of Wilfred Burchett
Edited by George Burchett & Nick Shimmin
Cambridge University Press, 2007

This book is an anthology of the writing of Wilfred Burchett, perhaps the greatest journalist and war correspondent Australia has ever produced. He was also one of the most controversial figures of the Cold War, both in Australia and overseas. Burchett published more than 30 books, and this volume brings together extracts from most of these, spanning the entire breadth of his career, from before World War 2, through Hiroshima, Eastern Europe, Korea, Russia, Laos, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Angola, Rhodesia and other areas from which Burchett reported. The book presents these fields of reportage chronologically, and thus serves not only as a significant historical overview of the period, but also as a reader in Cold War journalism

book_worldasloverWorld As Lover, World As Self  Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal
Joanna R. Macy
Parallax Press, 2007

A new beginning for the environment must start with a new spiritual outlook. In this book, author Joanna Macy offers concrete suggestions for just that, showing how each of us can change the attitudes that continue to threaten our environment. Using the Buddha’s teachings on “Paticca Samuppada,” which stresses the interconnectedness of all things in the world and suggests that any one action affects all things, Macy describes how decades of ignoring this principle has resulted in a self-centeredness that has devastated the environment. Humans, Macy implores, must acknowledge and understand their connectedness to their world and begin to move toward a more focused effort to save it. This book focuses on our interconnectedness with the natural world, the psychology behind our apparent disconnect and how to begin to change it by coming back to our rightful place in nature.