Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima

By Robert Jay Lifton | Go to book overview

PERCEIVING AMERICA

1) The Bomb and After

Since conducting the study, I have been constantly asked how survivors feel about America. The question is usually raised by other Americans, and behind it there is often either the fearful expectation of seething and unremitting hostility, or else the wishful one of no hostility at all. Even knowledge of man's generally ambivalent nature, or of his complex response to catastrophe, does not necessarily alter these either-or anticipations. For an event of this magnitude creates in everyone, and particularly in victims and "instigators," a strong need to believe in certain clear-cut responses to it.* Determining survivors' actual emotions about America, therefore, takes on much more importance than simply satisfying Americans' anxious curiosity. It raises general issues of anger, resentment, and hate (issues sometimes blurred by the use of the attentuated psychological term "hostility"), and of the relationship of these feelings, or their absence, to mastery of an extreme experience. Still more generally, it confronts us with questions of the "appropriateness" of such negative emotions, of man's capacity for sustaining them, and of their own psychological toll.

However muffled or suppressed during the early stages, emotions of

____________________
*
I use "instigators" to represent the wide spectrum of Japanese and American feelings concerning individual Americans' relationship to, or responsibility for, use of the bomb.

-317-

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Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction: Research and Researcher 3
  • Hiroshima 13
  • The Atomic Bomb Experience 15
  • Three - Invisible Contamination 57
  • A-Bomb Disease Four 103
  • A-Bomb Man 165
  • Atomic Bomb Leaders 209
  • Residual Struggles: Trust, Peace, and Mastery 253
  • Perceiving America 317
  • Formulation: Self and World 367
  • Creative Response: 1) "A-Bomb Literature" 397
  • Creative Response: 2) Artistic Dilemmas Eleven 451
  • The Survivor Twelve 479
  • Appendix 543
  • Notes 557
  • Index 577
  • List of Survivors Quoted 593
  • About the Author 595
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