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John Hersey Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

A Bell for Adano (1944)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hiroshima (1946)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Child Buyer (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wall (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Single Pebble (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
The War Lover (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
White Lotus (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Too Far to Walk (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Under the Eye of the Storm (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Conspiracy (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Petition for More Space (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Walnut Door (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Call (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Antonietta (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Marmot Drive (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Fling and Other Stories (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Key West Tales (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Into the Valley (1943)Description / Buy at Amazon
Here to Stay (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Of Men and War (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Algiers Motel Incident (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Letter to the Alumni (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Writer's Craft (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
The President (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Aspects of the Presidency (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blues (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Life Sketches (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon

John Richard Hersey is a historical and literary fiction author that is best known for his Pulitzer award-winning novel “Hiroshima.”
The author was born on June 17, 1914, in Tientsin, China to American missionaries Grace and Roscoe M Hersey.

Spending his childhood in China, he was totally out of it when it came to American culture and attitudes. Given that he spent a lot of his childhood in China he came to speak fluent Chinese.

As a kid, he loved to exercise his imagination with writing and reading and learned English when he started going to school. He first went to the British Grammar School before proceeding to the American School.

John Richard Hersey has said that despite living as an American in China, he had a pretty normal childhood and looks back fondly at his time growing up in China.
While John Richard Hersey believes he had a pretty much normal childhood, the facts say otherwise.

As a ten-year-old, his father was afflicted with encephalitis and the family had to go back to the United States, where they made their home in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

It was when he was in his adolescent years that he would become very Americanized. Hersey went to Hotchkiss Preparatory School, where he sometimes worked as a janitor and waiter.

He would then proceed to Yale for his undergraduate studies between 1932 and 1936. After he graduated from Yale University, Hersey went on to study at Clare College of Cambridge University, as he had been offered a Mellon Scholarship.
At the latter, he was a student of eighteenth-century English literature. He always proved himself a diligent person and student as at both colleges, he used to work as a lifeguard, librarian, tutor, and waiter.

Unlike many of his fellow students, he did not live a life of privilege and it is believed that the many odd jobs he took while studying made him develop empathy with the common man. This empathy would then show up in many of his later writings.

In the summer of 1937, John Hersey was a gofer and secretary for Sinclair Lewis. He would then quit that job in the fall as he was interested in interning at “Time Magazine,” where he had been offered a position.

This would become a long-lasting business relationship as he worked at the “Times” until 1945. In 1939, he reported for Time from the Chungking bureau, where he was a war correspondent covering all of China.

During this time, he traveled all over Japan and China and sent reports of military action, and conducted interviews with important leaders. As a correspondent, his writings appeared in “The New Yorker,” “Life” and “Time.”

In 1942, he published “Men on Bataan,” his debut that chronicled his experiences reporting on the war in the Philippines. It was a work that comprised fifty stories from enlisted men and included several chapters from General MacArthur.
His later novels are about a range of social, political, and moral issues that made use of Hersey’s moralistic aim, and his social criticism with imaginative premises and plots.

John Hersey died in Key West Florida in 1993, at the home where he lived with his wife and Ralph Ellison his writer friend.

“Hiroshima,” by John Hersey is a book-length work that is more of an article than a novel.

The work focuses on the Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, Dr. Rerufumi Sasaki, Dr. Masakazu Fujii, Father William Kleinsorge, and Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamara.
They are six victims of the bombing and the work follows their lives right from the morning when the bomb drops to the several months following that.

It is a masterful journalistic work with few quotes or attribution, as it prefers to make use of a straightforward narrative style.

Still, it is very clear that Hersey has done his research in coming up with his piece. Nonetheless, there is hardly any information about how the American leadership made the decision to bomb Hiroshima.

Hersey also fails to bring the context to the larger war as he prefers to focus only on the bombing and how it affected the people in Hiroshima. This makes for a much stronger book as it showcases the range of horrors brought about by the bombing.
The author manages to make readers care deeply about the characters. He makes use of tragic subject matter to make for some emotional and physical turmoil that makes for a gripping story.

John Hersey’s work “A Bell for Adano,” is a work that was penned in 1944 at the height of World War II.

It is a more humorous and positive read as compared to “Hiroshima,” as it does not have the same angst of war or pain 0f loss. Overall, this is a story of reconstruction with the battles raging in the background.

Hersey tells the story of an Italian American man named Major Victor Joppolo. As a Civil Affairs Officer, he is in charge of Adano, the Sicilian town that has recently been set free from the Nazis.

While he makes his mistakes like just about anyone, he is a very moral man who intends to restore Adano and its people to a semblance of normalcy they had before the war broke out.

His mission would clearly take some fortitude and moral courage. One of the first things he wants to do is replace the 400-year-old bell that the Nazis had taken and melted down, using the metal to make weapons.

For Joppolo and the town, the bell is a symbol of freedom and hence it has to be restored at all costs.

It is a sweet and delightful read that provides some beautiful insights into what happened in the last days of the war.

“The Wall,” by John Hersey is a historical fiction work by Pulitzer award-winning author that brought us “Hiroshima.”

The author writes his novel very close to actual events as he finds hIs information from real documents retrieved from the razed-down Jewish ghetto in Warsaw following the end of World War II.

It recounts the tale of Jews that had been trapped in the ghetto by the Nazis that had taken over Poland in 1939. It also looks into the rising determination to wipe out the Jews by the Nazis.

The work is not only about the destruction and extermination of people and their property, but a determination to survive when living in some of the most harrowing conditions.

It is written like a journal, showcasing the experiences of one of the characters. He reports and observes the events in the community from the momentous to the trivial.

The author also documents the tightening of the nose around the community over the years, as the Nazis grow even more determined to destroy the Jews.

It is a heartbreaking story but overall, it still manages to put forth the message that hope never dies, regardless of how low people or communities may sink.

Book Series In Order » Authors » John Hersey

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