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Monday, August 13, 2012

James Agee on Hiroshima and Birth of Atomic Age

My book with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America (see blog rail at right) carries a number of pages on the great writer James Agee and his reaction to The Bomb, which emerged 67 years ago last week.  this included a wild short story fantasy that basically depicted the men who used the bomb as monsters.  But his initial take, for Time magazine, at the end of this week in 1945, was controlled focused on the undeniable dangers of the new age.  But he did raise a question about the use of the bomb over two large cities:   "The race had been won, the weapon had been used by those on whom civilization could best hope to depend; but the demonstration of power against living creatures instead of dead matter created a bottomless wound in the living conscience of the race. The rational mind had won the most Promethean of its conquests over nature, and had put into the hands of common man the fire and force of the sun itself."

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