“American Survivors: Trans-Pacific Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki” by Naoko Wake has been published by Cambridge University Press.
Using more than 130 oral histories of Japanese American and Korean American survivors, their family members, community activists, and physicians — most of which appear here for the first time — Wake reveals a cross-national history of war, illness, immigration, gender, family, and community from intimately personal perspectives.
This is a fresh and moving historical account of U.S. survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, breaking new ground not only in the study of World War II but also in the public understanding of nuclear weaponry. A truly trans-Pacific history, “American Survivors” challenges the dualistic distinction between Americans-as-victors and Japanese-as-victims often assumed by scholars of the nuclear war.
“American Survivors” brings to light the history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that connects, as much as separates, people across time and national boundaries.
Wake is associate professor of History at Michigan State University. A historian of gender, sexuality, and illness in the Pacific region, she has authored “Private Practices: Harry Stack Sullivan, the Science of Homosexuality, and American Liberalism” and co-authored with Shinpei Takeda “Hiroshima/Nagasaki Beyond the Ocean.” She was born and raised in Japan.
“Ghostly figures, American survivors of their nation’s nuclear holocaust, speak for themselves and for those who failed to survive in profound utterances and silences, the living and the dead,” said Gary Okihiro, professor emeritus at Columbia University. “Their haunting testimonies, in translation, speak of the unspeakable and of life — remembering, forging connections with families and other survivors, and working for peace in and across the Pacific. Indeed, as Naoko Wake astutely observes, nuclear holocaust is by definition a global phenomenon for all times.”