Susan Southard spent a decade researching the lives of the survivors of the Nagasaki bomb when writing her ground-breaking book, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War. Dropped on August 9th 1945, this 5-tonne plutonium bomb destroyed the coastal city of Nagasaki and turned the surviving civilians into hibakusha (atomic bomb-affected people).
Southard focuses her study of the devastation of the nuclear bomb on the lives of five teenagers, following the suffering and stigmatisation of these individuals to the present day. Intimate and compassionate, Nagasaki tells the neglected story of life after nuclear war
Last week, Bruce Kent responded to Southard’s raw reconstruction of the days, months and years after the bomb was dropped. A political activist and former Catholic priest, Kent now serves as the honorary vice-president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
For Kent, a devoted advocate of CND, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War is:
An impressive book, well worth reading. It ought to lead to action… The first priority is to get people to realise that there are lessons for today in the horrors of 1945… This book may help jolt the world into taking the practical steps needed, and perfectly possible, to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world.
Bruce Kent, Vice-President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, ‘Camden New Journal’ August 4th 2016
Tomorrow brings the 71st anniversary of this global atrocity just 3 weeks after MPs voted to renew the controversial Trident programme. Tomorrow’s anniversary and our own uncertain future both serve to remind us that we would all do well to reflect on the concerns raised by Bruce Kent, and consider whether nuclear arms really ought to have a place in our world.