Chad R. Diehl
(Cornell University Press, 2018)
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In Resurrecting Nagasaki, Chad R. Diehl examines the reconstruction of Nagasaki City after the atomic bombing of August 9, 1945. Diehl illuminates the genesis of narratives surrounding the bombing by following the people and groups who contributed to the city’s rise from the ashes and shaped its postwar image in Japan and the world. Municipal officials, survivor-activist groups, the Catholic community, and American occupation officials interpreted the destruction and envisioned the reconstruction of the city from different and sometimes disparate perspectives. Each group’s narrative situated the significance of the bombing within the city’s postwar urban identity in unique ways, informing the discourse of reconstruction as well as its physical manifestations in the city’s revival. Diehl’s analysis reveals how these atomic narratives shaped both the way Nagasaki rebuilt and the ways in which popular discourse on the atomic bombings framed the city’s experience for decades.
“Diehl poses a deceptively simple question: when considering the atomic bombings of Japan in 1945, why does Hiroshima, and not Nagasaki, come to mind? This deeply researched and beautifully written study of how different constituencies in Nagasaki responded to the bomb substantially enriches our understanding of the only other atomically bombed city in history.”
– Lori Watt, Washington University in St. Louis
Chad R. Diehl is Assistant Professor of History at Loyola University Maryland. You can follow him at @ProfDiehlLoyola.