Cover image for A song for Nagasaki
Title:
A song for Nagasaki
Author:
Glynn, Paul.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990.

©1988
Physical Description:
267 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
"First published 1988 by the Catholic Book Club of Australia"--T.p. verso.
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780802804761

9780802836700
Format :
Book

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Reviews 6

Booklist Review

Response to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was quite different in each city: disbelief, bitterness, and hatred of the Americans by Hiroshima; a desire to turn tragedy into something meaningful by Nagasaki. This dissimilarity in reaction was due primarily to one man, radiologist Takashi Nagai, one of the pioneers in his field and a Shintoist turned Roman Catholic. A Song for Nagasaki, his biography, is not so much about religious conversion as it is about the conversion of a people by a man so dedicated to life that he was able to instill hope in those around him and eventually in a whole nation through his writings. Although Glynn's sentences are rather abrupt and perpendicular, Nagai's story is worth telling, compelling enough that it becomes difficult to put the book down even though its outcome--Nagai's death from radiation sickness--is already known. The glimpse Glynn affords us into the life and death struggle of a man and a nation makes excellent inspirational reading. Glossary of Japanese words. --Jerry Alber


Publisher's Weekly Review

The Roman Catholic viewpoint of Glynn, a Marist priest who spent two decades in Japan, dominates a naive biography that fails to do justice to Japanese radiologist and author Takashi Nagai, who died in 1951. A convert to Christianity, Nagai helped pioneer X-ray work at Nagasaki Medical University, survived the atomic bombing there and, although terminally ill with leukemia (a result of years of working with radiation), wrote inspirational books and articles after World War II. Glynn glosses over Nagai's professional life, preferring to concentrate on his religious conversion or his (Christian) wife, Midori, ``a well-nigh perfect example of womanhood.'' This focus also pervades supporting material; Glynn states three times that 8000 Christians died in the Nagasaki bombing before mentioning, pages later, that 72,000 Japanese died. The author is didactic and condescending, as when he explains that ``Shinto gods are really like Christian saints in heaven.'' Even worse is Glynn's casual and questionable handling of history, noting, for example, that ``European women first began to read and write in the sixteenth century.'' Photos not seen by PW. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

This is a marvelous biography of Takashi Nagai, a Japanese convert to Christianity, physician, peace activist, and victim of terminal radiation disease as well as a man of letters who wrote 20 books after he became bedridden. The story reveals the horrors of atomic devastation, the ironies of the bomb's dropping on one of the few Christian communities in Japan, Nagai's successful struggle to find meaning in suffering, and the triumph of life in almost hopeless situations. Nagai never rejects science, continues to see atomic discovery as potentially good (providing peaceful energy for oil-poor Japan), and retains deep love for the Emperor and for his non-Christian ancestors. This book can inspire both Christians and non-Christians to work for peace. Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Response to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was quite different in each city: disbelief, bitterness, and hatred of the Americans by Hiroshima; a desire to turn tragedy into something meaningful by Nagasaki. This dissimilarity in reaction was due primarily to one man, radiologist Takashi Nagai, one of the pioneers in his field and a Shintoist turned Roman Catholic. A Song for Nagasaki, his biography, is not so much about religious conversion as it is about the conversion of a people by a man so dedicated to life that he was able to instill hope in those around him and eventually in a whole nation through his writings. Although Glynn's sentences are rather abrupt and perpendicular, Nagai's story is worth telling, compelling enough that it becomes difficult to put the book down even though its outcome--Nagai's death from radiation sickness--is already known. The glimpse Glynn affords us into the life and death struggle of a man and a nation makes excellent inspirational reading. Glossary of Japanese words. --Jerry Alber


Publisher's Weekly Review

The Roman Catholic viewpoint of Glynn, a Marist priest who spent two decades in Japan, dominates a naive biography that fails to do justice to Japanese radiologist and author Takashi Nagai, who died in 1951. A convert to Christianity, Nagai helped pioneer X-ray work at Nagasaki Medical University, survived the atomic bombing there and, although terminally ill with leukemia (a result of years of working with radiation), wrote inspirational books and articles after World War II. Glynn glosses over Nagai's professional life, preferring to concentrate on his religious conversion or his (Christian) wife, Midori, ``a well-nigh perfect example of womanhood.'' This focus also pervades supporting material; Glynn states three times that 8000 Christians died in the Nagasaki bombing before mentioning, pages later, that 72,000 Japanese died. The author is didactic and condescending, as when he explains that ``Shinto gods are really like Christian saints in heaven.'' Even worse is Glynn's casual and questionable handling of history, noting, for example, that ``European women first began to read and write in the sixteenth century.'' Photos not seen by PW. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

This is a marvelous biography of Takashi Nagai, a Japanese convert to Christianity, physician, peace activist, and victim of terminal radiation disease as well as a man of letters who wrote 20 books after he became bedridden. The story reveals the horrors of atomic devastation, the ironies of the bomb's dropping on one of the few Christian communities in Japan, Nagai's successful struggle to find meaning in suffering, and the triumph of life in almost hopeless situations. Nagai never rejects science, continues to see atomic discovery as potentially good (providing peaceful energy for oil-poor Japan), and retains deep love for the Emperor and for his non-Christian ancestors. This book can inspire both Christians and non-Christians to work for peace. Highly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.