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About the author


​Leslie A. Sussan was born and raised in Manhattan, and now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her daughter Kendra and their cat, Neko-chan. She was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Bryn Mawr College and Georgetown Law School. Over a long career as an attorney, she litigated for the U.S. Department of Justice, represented migrant farmworkers and abused children, and has now served for fourteen years as an administrative appellate judge for the federal government. (Everything written here, however, reflects only her own work and not any government position.) She attends Bethesda Friends Meeting. She loves to learn about different cultures through books and travel; she cannot carry a tune or follow a recipe. She and Kendra lived in Hiroshima for a year in 1987-88 and have visited Japan many times since.​
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Choosing Life
My Father’s Journey in Film from Hollywood to Hiroshima
by Leslie A. Sussan View author's profile page

Overview


Herbert Sussan's film crew took the only color film footage of the aftermath of the atomic bombings. The U.S. government suppressed the footage for decades, but it continued to haunt Herbert Sussan until his death in 1985. The author, his daughter, followed his footsteps to Japan and listened to the survivors whom he had filmed. Together, these accounts weave a picture of the human cost of nuclear war.

Early reviewers are praising Choosing Life --

From Readers' Favorites, this 5-star review: "[T]his book isn't only about Hiroshima/Nagasaki--it's a story about humanity and how it is fragile yet strong it is at the same time. Whether you approve or disapprove of nuclear war/weapons, this account may cause you to ponder the ramifications; some that last a lifetime and beyond for generations to come. Some readers may come away thinking that if the general public had been allowed to view the footage Sussan captured years ago, nations might be less war-hungry today, and there would be more of an outcry against nuclear arms. At the time of the bombings, most people supported it, though since then, that support has decreased. Choosing Life: My Father’s Journey in Film from Hollywood to Hiroshima by Leslie A. Sussan is a book of substance. Read at your own risk." - Tammy Ruggles

From Samuel Pickands, Maj., USA (ret): "Choosing Life brings together generations and cultures: the voice a soldier of humble means and unique ambition who came to play a central role in the recording and documentation of Hiroshima, the musings and accounts of his pacifist daughter who opposed yet loved him a generation later, and . . . the stories and glimpses of some of those who survived the nuclear bombings that concluded WWII. . . . This book belongs in our archives as a companion to the records of nuclear conflict, the legacy of a (thus far successful) American and international peace movement, and a selection of first-person voices from a complex and dark part of our history. As a veteran who still struggles to balance the perspectives of my dogged yet sunny WWII veteran grandparents and a hard bitten and cynical Vietnam veteran stepfather, I prize this book as both a source of answers and questions."

Read more

Description


In 1946, with the war over and Japan occupied, 2nd Lt. Herbert Sussan received a plum assignment. He would get to use his training as a cinematographer and join a Strategic Bombing Survey crew to record the results of the atomic bombings in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. From his first arrival in Nagasaki, he knew that something completely novel and appalling had happened and that he had to preserve a record of the results, especially the ongoing suffering of those affected by the bomb (known as hibakusha) even months later. When the U.S. government decided that the gruesome footage would not be "of interest" to the American public and therefore classified it top secret, he spent decades arguing for its release. His last wish was that his ashes be scattered at ground zero in Hiroshima. The author, his daughter, followed his footsteps in 1987, met survivors he had filmed more than 40 years before. And found that she met there a father she never really knew in life. This book recounts Herbert Sussan's experiences (drawn directly from an oral history he left behind), his daughter's quest to understand what he saw in Japan, and the stories of some of the survivors with whose lives both father and daughter intersected. This nuclear legacy captures the ripples of the atomic bombing down through decades and generations. The braided tale brings human scale and understanding to the horrors of nuclear war and the ongoing need for healing and peacemaking.
Read more

Overview


Herbert Sussan's film crew took the only color film footage of the aftermath of the atomic bombings. The U.S. government suppressed the footage for decades, but it continued to haunt Herbert Sussan until his death in 1985. The author, his daughter, followed his footsteps to Japan and listened to the survivors whom he had filmed. Together, these accounts weave a picture of the human cost of nuclear war.

Early reviewers are praising Choosing Life --

From Readers' Favorites, this 5-star review: "[T]his book isn't only about Hiroshima/Nagasaki--it's a story about humanity and how it is fragile yet strong it is at the same time. Whether you approve or disapprove of nuclear war/weapons, this account may cause you to ponder the ramifications; some that last a lifetime and beyond for generations to come. Some readers may come away thinking that if the general public had been allowed to view the footage Sussan captured years ago, nations might be less war-hungry today, and there would be more of an outcry against nuclear arms. At the time of the bombings, most people supported it, though since then, that support has decreased. Choosing Life: My Father’s Journey in Film from Hollywood to Hiroshima by Leslie A. Sussan is a book of substance. Read at your own risk." - Tammy Ruggles

From Samuel Pickands, Maj., USA (ret): "Choosing Life brings together generations and cultures: the voice a soldier of humble means and unique ambition who came to play a central role in the recording and documentation of Hiroshima, the musings and accounts of his pacifist daughter who opposed yet loved him a generation later, and . . . the stories and glimpses of some of those who survived the nuclear bombings that concluded WWII. . . . This book belongs in our archives as a companion to the records of nuclear conflict, the legacy of a (thus far successful) American and international peace movement, and a selection of first-person voices from a complex and dark part of our history. As a veteran who still struggles to balance the perspectives of my dogged yet sunny WWII veteran grandparents and a hard bitten and cynical Vietnam veteran stepfather, I prize this book as both a source of answers and questions."

Read more

Description


In 1946, with the war over and Japan occupied, 2nd Lt. Herbert Sussan received a plum assignment. He would get to use his training as a cinematographer and join a Strategic Bombing Survey crew to record the results of the atomic bombings in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. From his first arrival in Nagasaki, he knew that something completely novel and appalling had happened and that he had to preserve a record of the results, especially the ongoing suffering of those affected by the bomb (known as hibakusha) even months later. When the U.S. government decided that the gruesome footage would not be "of interest" to the American public and therefore classified it top secret, he spent decades arguing for its release. His last wish was that his ashes be scattered at ground zero in Hiroshima. The author, his daughter, followed his footsteps in 1987, met survivors he had filmed more than 40 years before. And found that she met there a father she never really knew in life. This book recounts Herbert Sussan's experiences (drawn directly from an oral history he left behind), his daughter's quest to understand what he saw in Japan, and the stories of some of the survivors with whose lives both father and daughter intersected. This nuclear legacy captures the ripples of the atomic bombing down through decades and generations. The braided tale brings human scale and understanding to the horrors of nuclear war and the ongoing need for healing and peacemaking.

Read more

Book details

Genre:HISTORY

Subgenre:Military / World War II

Language:English

Pages:350

Format:Paperback

Paperback ISBN:9781098314538


Overview


Herbert Sussan's film crew took the only color film footage of the aftermath of the atomic bombings. The U.S. government suppressed the footage for decades, but it continued to haunt Herbert Sussan until his death in 1985. The author, his daughter, followed his footsteps to Japan and listened to the survivors whom he had filmed. Together, these accounts weave a picture of the human cost of nuclear war.

Early reviewers are praising Choosing Life --

From Readers' Favorites, this 5-star review: "[T]his book isn't only about Hiroshima/Nagasaki--it's a story about humanity and how it is fragile yet strong it is at the same time. Whether you approve or disapprove of nuclear war/weapons, this account may cause you to ponder the ramifications; some that last a lifetime and beyond for generations to come. Some readers may come away thinking that if the general public had been allowed to view the footage Sussan captured years ago, nations might be less war-hungry today, and there would be more of an outcry against nuclear arms. At the time of the bombings, most people supported it, though since then, that support has decreased. Choosing Life: My Father’s Journey in Film from Hollywood to Hiroshima by Leslie A. Sussan is a book of substance. Read at your own risk." - Tammy Ruggles

From Samuel Pickands, Maj., USA (ret): "Choosing Life brings together generations and cultures: the voice a soldier of humble means and unique ambition who came to play a central role in the recording and documentation of Hiroshima, the musings and accounts of his pacifist daughter who opposed yet loved him a generation later, and . . . the stories and glimpses of some of those who survived the nuclear bombings that concluded WWII. . . . This book belongs in our archives as a companion to the records of nuclear conflict, the legacy of a (thus far successful) American and international peace movement, and a selection of first-person voices from a complex and dark part of our history. As a veteran who still struggles to balance the perspectives of my dogged yet sunny WWII veteran grandparents and a hard bitten and cynical Vietnam veteran stepfather, I prize this book as both a source of answers and questions."

Read more

Description


In 1946, with the war over and Japan occupied, 2nd Lt. Herbert Sussan received a plum assignment. He would get to use his training as a cinematographer and join a Strategic Bombing Survey crew to record the results of the atomic bombings in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. From his first arrival in Nagasaki, he knew that something completely novel and appalling had happened and that he had to preserve a record of the results, especially the ongoing suffering of those affected by the bomb (known as hibakusha) even months later. When the U.S. government decided that the gruesome footage would not be "of interest" to the American public and therefore classified it top secret, he spent decades arguing for its release. His last wish was that his ashes be scattered at ground zero in Hiroshima. The author, his daughter, followed his footsteps in 1987, met survivors he had filmed more than 40 years before. And found that she met there a father she never really knew in life. This book recounts Herbert Sussan's experiences (drawn directly from an oral history he left behind), his daughter's quest to understand what he saw in Japan, and the stories of some of the survivors with whose lives both father and daughter intersected. This nuclear legacy captures the ripples of the atomic bombing down through decades and generations. The braided tale brings human scale and understanding to the horrors of nuclear war and the ongoing need for healing and peacemaking.

Read more

About the author


​Leslie A. Sussan was born and raised in Manhattan, and now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her daughter Kendra and their cat, Neko-chan. She was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Bryn Mawr College and Georgetown Law School. Over a long career as an attorney, she litigated for the U.S. Department of Justice, represented migrant farmworkers and abused children, and has now served for fourteen years as an administrative appellate judge for the federal government. (Everything written here, however, reflects only her own work and not any government position.) She attends Bethesda Friends Meeting. She loves to learn about different cultures through books and travel; she cannot carry a tune or follow a recipe. She and Kendra lived in Hiroshima for a year in 1987-88 and have visited Japan many times since.​

Read more

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