The News

J. David Simons: US in denial about Hiroshima bombing

As the world commemorates the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, J. David Simons, author of bestselling novel An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful, has claimed that America has never had a proper debate or introspection about this extremely difficult and sensitive subject.

He argues: 'The justification for the bombs was that they saved America from a full-scale invasion that would have resulted in the deaths of over a million lives, both American and Japanese. I believe that this is a hugely inflated figure. However, even if you were to accept that argument, why not bomb a military target rather than a city of civilians? And why the second bomb?

'However, whether or not these bombings were justified remains a moot point these days - everyone will have their own side to take. My main concern is that I don't feel America has really had a proper debate or introspection on the subject. To this day, I feel that when the US criticises other countries for their nuclear programmes, it tends to forget it still is the only country ever to have used these weapons.'

Simons, who spent seven years working and living in Japan, wrote An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful to express his feeling that America is still in denial over the use of the atomic bomb on Japan. 'The main reason [I wrote the book] is the sense of injustice I have always felt about America destroying two cities and killing 200,000 civilians in just two days, not to mention the further loss of 100,000 lives caused by the firebombing of Tokyo five moths earlier. I don't think there is anything that justifies such mass destruction of innocent lives. I don't think it is an act of war that would be acceptable today.'

The full interview with J. David Simons is available here.

An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful has been longlisted for The Guardian's Not the Booker prize. For more details and to vote, please click here

Major media coverage of Your Country Needs You

Your Country Needs You, our forthcoming book by James Taylor about World War I propaganda posters, has proved a big hit in UK newspapers this weekend after the Telegraph published a great article about the book.

The Telegraph's article provoked a huge amount of interest and the story about the groundbreaking research that features in Your Country Needs You was subsequently also covered in the Daily Mail, The Independent and the Daily Express.

In the book, James reveals that the famous finger-pointing image of Lord Kitchener from World War I was, in fact, never used as an official recruitment poster - that's simply an urban myth. It actually started life as a magazine cover rather than a poster!

In an interview with the Telegraph, James said: 'There has been a massive, collective misrecollection. The image's influence now is absolutely out of all kilter with the reality of its initial impact. So many historians have used it and kept repeating how influential it was, that people have come to accept it.'

Your Country Needs You will be published on 29 August and is available for pre-order at Amazon UK. James Taylor will be appearing at a special event at the National Army Museum in London on 7 September as part of a day celebrating British war posters from the English Civil War to the present day. For more details and tickets, call 020 7881 6000.

Cellmates: helping people deal with the challenges of cancer

Cellmates: Our lessons in cancer, life, loss and love goes on sale today (August 1), and will help shine a light on how we deal with cancer in our society, at personal, professional and institutional levels. The new book follows author Rose T Clark, her partner John and their relationship with each other and with cancer.

Rose says: "It is a story of how two ordinary people live the cancer rollercoaster, the extreme lows of despair and highs of hope. It is the story of survival - of learning the practical and emotional ways to breathe in life alongside the cancer - of loss and acceptance. It is how we found strength and peace even in the darkest of times.

"I hope my honesty will help reveal the importance of the role of carers and charity support organisations in helping people with a terminal diagnosis to feel understood, without judgement or pressure, and to be supported intuitively and genuinely. If Cellmates helps even one person to deal with challenges of cancer and caring for someone with it, then this book is worth writing."

Some of Macmillan Cancer Support's 'Cancer Voices' have found the book to be both touching and useful. One said: "[Cellmates] is rich in advice, humour, hope, strategy and love... It a fantastic example of learning through experience and using this learning to help others." Another said: "Excellent in helping the reader feel that they are not alone with the cancer nightmare... If you are not a fluffy, pink-ribbon person and need a more down-to-earth approach, this book provides an excellent, truthful approach."

For every copy of Cellmates that is sold, a donation will be made to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres and Marie Curie Cancer Care. You can buy Cellmates here or at Amazon UK.

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