The Massacre of the Innocent and the Unknowing

Craig Collie

Published: 4 April 2013
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 352 pages
ISBN: 9781846274428


The events of a few days in August 1945 brought WWII to an end. They also destroyed the city of Nagasaki and killed 80,000 of its inhabitants, half of them instantly. Craig Collie is the first person to interview elderly survivors and descendants of the victims, and to stitch together their recollections with contemporary diaries and letters, and details from official documents. The result is a unique, unprecedented work of narrative reconstruction that follows ordinary Japanese in the hours after the blast to provide a gripping account of the decision-making, the denials, the devastation and the loss.

About the author

Image of Craig Collie

Craig Collie is a TV documentary maker, and the author of several books about Australian history. More about the author


‘A valuable addition to the history of one of mankind's darkest hours’ Josh Glancy



‘An absorbing, white-knuckle account of the lead-up, the detonation and the aftermath of the bombing of Nagasaki’

‘Collie has reasserted the tragedy of Nagasaki's annihilation and given it a human face... [The] emphasis on the plight of the innocent people is this book's great strength’ Alastair Mabbott

‘Collie succeeds in capturing the fleeting moments of quotidian life in Nagasaki before the bomb... [and] skilfully weaves in the machinations of Japan's leadership... [A] striking account’ Tristan Quinn

‘Collie writes pacy narrative with much human interest’ Jonathan Mirsky

‘Collie, a TV documentary-maker, turns his eye, heart-wrenchingly, on the people whose lives were atomised. It is affecting stuff’ Dan Jones

‘Seldom do you find a treatise on a very well-documented historical event that grips you like a well-crafted thriller. Nagasaki achieves this. This is one of those rare books that manages to make history live and breathe through the characters it introduces you to, while weaving them into the wider context of the final phases of our last great war’

‘This is the first book to piece together the story of the city pulverized by an atomic bomb - one of the most crucial events in world history... Written so skilfully it is as gripping as a thriller’

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