Surviving Hiroshima: A Young Woman’s Story
by Anthony Drago and Douglas Wellman
WriteLife Publishing

"'What happened in Hiroshima should never be repeated again. I know how it was, I was there.’"

This historical and biographical account creates immediate suspense by starting in the cabin of the Enola Gay on its way to drop an atomic bomb. Then the book cuts back in time to build up to the plane's mission. From the close perspective of author Drago's family as well as a broader lens, it captures the dramatic highs and lows of momentous events and their aftermath.

Drago's grandfather, Sergei Palchikoff, is a Russian aristocrat and officer. After the Bolshevik takeover in 1917, he joins the White Army serving the czar. When the czar dies, the Palchikoff family flees to Japan. Palchikoff teaches violin and Russian language in Hiroshima. Accused of spying, he is imprisoned. His wife, daughter, and one son fend for themselves at home. Another son goes to school in California and joins the U.S. Army shortly before the bomb is dropped. He helps the family move to America after the war.

The co-authors seamlessly interweave an intimate and historically accurate account. Drago's family presents characters deserving of recognition for their determined attitudes in the face of drastic circumstances. Wellman's writing and war expertise illuminate forces the family is up against. Eyewitness statements paint the effects of the bomb in gruesome relief.

The Palchikoff family is deemed an enemy in their own homes—first, as landowners in communist-leaning Russia and then as Allies in Axis-backed Japan. Through these hurdles, they show fortitude and charisma, making friends, music, and excelling in work. After emerging from the rubble of their home following the bomb's explosion, Kaleria, Drago's mother, serves at a makeshift hospital. Like her father, her language skills enable her to work in translating after the war. Also, like her father, she teaches her son to endure pain. History fans have much to look forward to in this book.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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