A Song for Nagasaki

Paul Glynn, Author Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company $12.99 (267p) ISBN 978-0-8028-0476-1
The Roman Catholic viewpoint of Glynn, a Marist priest who spent two decades in Japan, dominates a naive biography that fails to do justice to Japanese radiologist and author Takashi Nagai, who died in 1951. A convert to Christianity, Nagai helped pioneer X-ray work at Nagasaki Medical University, survived the atomic bombing there and, although terminally ill with leukemia (a result of years of working with radiation), wrote inspirational books and articles after World War II. Glynn glosses over Nagai's professional life, preferring to concentrate on his religious conversion or his (Christian) wife, Midori, ``a well-nigh perfect example of womanhood.'' This focus also pervades supporting material; Glynn states three times that 8000 Christians died in the Nagasaki bombing before mentioning, pages later, that 72,000 Japanese died. The author is didactic and condescending, as when he explains that ``Shinto gods are really like Christian saints in heaven.'' Even worse is Glynn's casual and questionable handling of history, noting, for example, that ``European women first began to read and write in the sixteenth century.'' Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Paperback - 267 pages - 978-1-58617-343-2
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