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Sunday, June 17, 2018

'Residing' in History

“Journalism allows its readers to witness history; fiction gives its readers an opportunity to live it.” – John Hersey

Born in China on this date in 1914, American writer and journalist Hersey was a storyteller extraordinaire.  His account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was adjudged the finest piece of American journalism of the 20th century by a 36-member panel associated with New York University’s journalism department.

A graduate of Yale, where he not only studied English and Journalism but also was a standout football player, Hersey went to work as a private secretary for Nobel Prize winning novelist Sinclair Lewis, then became a leading writer at Time magazine, including serving as a war correspondent during WWII.  
                                              It was right at war’s end that he wrote his first novel, A Bell for Adano, based on one of his assignments in Italy during the war.  That debut novel won him a Pulitzer Prize and also became an award-winning movie.  Despite his many accolades and awards, Hersey always said that he had as many failures as he did successes and each played an important life role.

“Learning,” he said,  “starts with failure; the first failure is the beginning of education.”

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