Summary Analysis of Hell and Back

Once you have read the whole of the book, give here your own, original summary analysis of Pellegrino’s To Hell and Back. Appleby, as you may recall, in “Discovering the Clay Feet of Science” discussed how the atomic bombings of Hiroshima were factors leading many to question scientism as an alternative to religion for providing overarching hope and meaning in life. Does Pellegrino’s account effectively strengthen or weaken the credibility of an argument from the World War II atomic bombings against scientism? What value is there in thoroughly recounting a nightmarish event such as the bombing of Hiroshima? After the war, both Americans and Japanese increasingly pointed to atomic bombing as the major reason Japan surrendered in 1945. Many historians, however, have argued that Japan’s leadership decided to surrender when they did more for other reasons–such as Russia’s sudden offensive movement against them, and fear of being occupied in the end by Russia, which country many assumed would be more vindictive than the U.S. What is the evidence in Pellegrino’s book: was it the atom bomb attacks that precipitated the Japanese surrender? Finally, who were the most inspiring, or otherwise striking, people in Pellegrino’s account, and what larger lessons does the book offer? What connections can you draw between 1945 Japan, as portrayed by Pellegrino, and the backstory of Japanese political, technological, and economic reform described in the below video? Having sought to join the industrial revolution, to live by the sword of industrial might, is it ironic–which is not the same thing as saying that it is fair–that at Hiroshima in 1945 a population of Japanese was made to die by the industrial sword, which slaughter their American foes justified to themselves largely by recalling the high-tech Japanese attack upon the United States Navy at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii four years earlier, in December of 1941?


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