3 books sent (total updated daily). Click here to let us know you sent a book.
Nuclear weapons and Donald Trump
On December 22, 2016, Donald Trump tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” Though his aides tried to downplay the statement and reassure Americans that Trump does not plan to start a new arms race, the following day, Trump directly contradicted them, telling MSNBC, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” Throughout his campaign and transition, Trump has made alarming off-the-cuff statements about nuclear weapons policy. He has called for more countries (including Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia) to develop nuclear weapons, and has asked, “If we have nuclear weapons, why shouldn’t we use them?”
About the book
Of Hiroshima by John Hersey, the Saturday Review of Literature said, “Everyone able to read should read it.” It was originally published in the New Yorker on August 31, 1946; the 30,000-word article replaced all of the usual features and cartoons. It follows the experiences of six survivors during the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima, and it caused a sensation upon its initial publication, with copies of the magazine selling out almost immediately. Despite the dramatic nature of its subject matter, Hiroshima is written in a clear, calm style that does not offer opinions, but merely reports the events that followed the atomic bomb explosion. It focuses on the human dimension of the bomb, bearing witness to its effects on the survivors’ lives. If President Donald Trump is to manage this power responsibly, these are things he must comprehend. It is clear from his comments that he doesn’t, which is why we need to send him copies of the book and draw attention to his failure to take his responsibilities seriously.
How to send a book
1. Buy a copy of the book. The mass-market paperback is $7.87 new on Amazon, but it’s used so often in classrooms that it should be no problem to pick up a used copy for a few bucks. As a book lover, I also encourage you to patronize your local independent bookstore!
2. Read the book, if you haven’t already. It’s a quick, essential read.
3. Include a note (optional). You don’t have to do this, but you can if you want. Here’s mine:
4. Address the package to:
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
5. Take a picture or video, if you want to share on social media later. (Don’t forget to cover up your return address.)
6. Send it via first-class. You can take the package to the post office or send it from home. (If you send only a book and note, the contents are eligible for media mail rates, but we’ve found that first-class comes out to about the same price, and it’s faster.)
7. Let us know you sent it, and share on social media! Use the hashtag #SendHiroshima.
“But the bombing of Hiroshima saved countless lives by forcing the Japanese to surrender.”
I see this argument frequently in discussions of Hiroshima, so I want to quickly address it here. Neither the book Hiroshima nor this campaign is concerned with the question of whether dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was the right thing to do under the circumstances. We cannot change the past. The bombing of Hiroshima is what it is; Hersey merely documented it. We have, however, been given the terrible gift now of knowing exactly what happens when a nuclear weapon is used on a city of 350,000 people. This is knowledge that every human should have, but particularly the person charged with setting nuclear weapons policy for the most powerful nation in the world.
What else can I do?
Sign up for updates from the Ploughshares Fund—which works to reduce nuclear stockpiles, prevent new nuclear states, and increase global security—and consider making a donation.
Thank you for helping to make a statement about nuclear responsibility!