Search-icon

First Into Nagasaki

The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War

By , (Author)

eBook published by Crown (Crown Publishing Group)

have you read it? rate it!
Histogram_reset_icon
(6 REVIEWS)
ADD TO MY SHELF
About This Book
George Weller was a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who covered World War II across Europe, Africa, and Asia. At the war’s end in September 1945, under General MacArthur’s media blackout, correspondents were forbidden to enter both Nagasaki and Hiroshima. But instead of obediently staying with the press corps in northern Japan, Weller broke away. The intrepid newspaperman reached Nagasaki just weeks after the atomic bomb hit the city. Boldly presenting himself as a U.S. colonel to the Japanese military, Weller set out to explore the devastation.

As Nagasaki’s first outside observer, long before any American medical aid arrived, Weller witnessed the bomb’s effects and wrote “the anatomy of radiated man.” He interviewed doctors trying to cure those dying mysteriously from “Disease X.” He typed far into every night, sending his forbidden dispatches back to MacArthur’s censors, assuming their importance would make them unstoppable. He was wrong: the U.S. government censored every word, and the dispatches vanished from history.

Weller also became the first to enter the nearby Allied POW camps. From hundreds of prisoners he gathered accounts of watching the atomic explosions bring an end to years of torture and merciless labor in Japanese mines. Their dramatic testimonies sum up one of the least-known chapters of the war—but those stories, too, were silenced.

It is a powerful experience, more than 60 years later, to walk with Weller through the smoldering ruins of Nagasaki, or hear the sagas of prisoners who have just learned that their torment is over, and watch one of the era’s most battle-experienced reporters trying to accurately and unsentimentally convey to the American people scenes unlike anything he—or anyone else—knew.

Weller died in 2002, believing it all lost forever. Months later, his son found a fragile copy in a crate of moldy papers. This historic body of work has never been published.

Along with reports from the brutal POW camps, a stirring saga of the worst of the Japanese “hellships” which carried U.S. prisoners into murder and even cannibalism, and a trove of Weller’s unseen photos, First into Nagasaki provides a moving, unparalleled look at the bomb that killed more than 70,000 people and ended WWII. Amid current disputes over the controlled embedding of journalists in war zones and a government’s right to keep secrets, it reminds us how such courageous rogue reporting is still essential to learning the truth.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
George Weller was a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who covered World War II across Europe, Africa, and Asia. At the war’s end in September 1945, under General MacArthur’s media blackout, correspondents were forbidden to enter both Nagasaki and Hiroshima. But instead of obediently staying with the press corps in northern Japan, Weller broke away. The intrepid newspaperman reached Nagasaki just weeks after the atomic bomb hit the city. Boldly presenting himself as a U.S. colonel to the Japanese military, Weller set out to explore the devastation.

As Nagasaki’s first outside observer, long before any American medical aid arrived, Weller witnessed the bomb’s effects and wrote “the anatomy of radiated man.” He interviewed doctors trying to cure those dying mysteriously from “Disease X.” He typed far into every night, sending his forbidden dispatches back to MacArthur’s censors, assuming their importance would make them unstoppable. He was wrong: the U.S. government censored every word, and the dispatches vanished from history.

Weller also became the first to enter the nearby Allied POW camps. From hundreds of prisoners he gathered accounts of watching the atomic explosions bring an end to years of torture and merciless labor in Japanese mines. Their dramatic testimonies sum up one of the least-known chapters of the war—but those stories, too, were silenced.

It is a powerful experience, more than 60 years later, to walk with Weller through the smoldering ruins of Nagasaki, or hear the sagas of prisoners who have just learned that their torment is over, and watch one of the era’s most battle-experienced reporters trying to accurately and unsentimentally convey to the American people scenes unlike anything he—or anyone else—knew.

Weller died in 2002, believing it all lost forever. Months later, his son found a fragile copy in a crate of moldy papers. This historic body of work has never been published.

Along with reports from the brutal POW camps, a stirring saga of the worst of the Japanese “hellships” which carried U.S. prisoners into murder and even cannibalism, and a trove of Weller’s unseen photos, First into Nagasaki provides a moving, unparalleled look at the bomb that killed more than 70,000 people and ended WWII. Amid current disputes over the controlled embedding of journalists in war zones and a government’s right to keep secrets, it reminds us how such courageous rogue reporting is still essential to learning the truth.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
eBook (288 pages)
Published: December 26, 2006
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Imprint: Crown
ISBN: 9780307351616
Other books byGeorge Weller
  • Weller's War

    Weller's War
    A Legendary Foreign Correspondent's Saga of...
    Walter Cronkite called him “one of our best war correspondents.” His stories from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific during World War II won him the Pulitzer Prize. Now, George Weller is immortalized in a collection of fearless, intrepid dispatches that crisscross a shattered globe. Edited by his son, Weller’s War provides an eyewitness look at modern history’s greatest upheaval, and also contains never-published reporting alongside excerpts from three books. From battlefront to beachhead, Weller incisively chronicles the heroism and humanity that still managed to triumph amid horrific events. Following the Nazi seizure of Eastern Europe and his own “quarantine” in Greece by the Gestapo, George Weller accompanies Congolese troops freeing Ethiopia for Haile Selassie. He remains in doomed Singapore until the colony falls. On Java, he watches brave American fighter pilots delay the island’s collapse. Strafed by Japanese planes, he escapes by small boat to Australia. He covers the Pacific, from the Solomon Islands to the jungle hell of New Guinea. Back in Europe he sees a liberated Greece beset by civil war, then crosses the Middle East. In Burma, he risks guerrilla raids behind enemy lines. At the war’s close, he hurries from China to a defeated but uncowed Japan, where new horrors await. And he struggles throughout against a tireless adversary—censorship. Vivid and heart-stopping, the dispatches of World War II reporter George Weller are as intimate, memorable, and relevant today as they were nearly seventy years ago—and demonstrate what it meant to be a foreign correspondent long before the era of satellite phones and the Internet. From the Hardcover edition.

    First into Nagasaki

    First into Nagasaki
    The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on...
    After the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, George Weller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, became the first free Westerner to enter the devastated city. His dispatches, which described the terrifying effects of the bomb, were heavily censored and never published—until now.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
Quote Cannot be Empty

Submitted quotes are usually posted within 48 hours

ThanksYour Quote Will be posted Shortly
Bookish