New Yorker Treasures: John Hersey & "Hiroshima"

Tue. May 24, 2022 6:00pm - 7:15pm EDT
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Event Description

Lesley M.M. Blume, the author of Fallout, joins New Yorker editor Erin Overbey and journalist Janine di Giovanni to discuss the story behind John Hersey’s masterpiece “Hiroshima.”

Book Cover of Fallout by Lesley M.M. BlumeIn the spring of 1946, journalist John Hersey spent three weeks in Hiroshima, recording the horrific reality of atomic warfare. He revealed it to the world later that year in The New Yorker, which published “Hiroshima” as the entirety of its August 31, 1946 issue. It is still considered one of the greatest pieces of journalism ever written. Lesley M.M. Blume’s Fallout reveals the dramatic story behind the story. Blume researched the book at the New York Public Library, where the records of The New Yorker from 1924 to 1984 are stored. She speaks about mining the archives for Hersey’s story, along with New Yorker archive editor Erin Overbey and journalist Janine di Giovanni.

Presented as part of The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library's Treasures, which showcases some of the most extraordinary items from the 56 million in our collections. Among them is the prospectus for The New Yorker, written by founding editor Harold Ross. The event will begin with a short curator talk on the Library’s New Yorker holdings, given by Julie Golia, Associate Director, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books and Charles J. Liebman Curator of Manuscripts.

To join this event in-person | Please be sure to register for an In-Person Ticket. Doors will open 30 minutes before the program begins. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form shortly before the program.

To join the livestream | A livestream of this event will be available on the NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register!

To view the exhibition | Register now for timed tickets to view the Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library's Treasures before the event.


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In-Person | Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template. This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs.

Livestream | Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media used over the course of the conversation will be accompanied by alt text and/or audio description. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template.


Lesley M. M. Blume is an award-winning journalist, historian, and New York Times bestselling author. Her last book, Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World, was selected by TheNew York Times as an Editors' Choice and as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2020. Lesley's work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Geographic, Columbia Journalism Review, and many other publications. She currently lives in Los Angeles, but is a fifth-generation New Yorker. 

Janine di Giovanni is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, a columnist at Foreign Policy and The National in Dubai and an award-winning author, journalist, and war reporter. The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her their highest nonfiction prize, the Blake Dodd, in 2020 for her lifetime body of work. Her most recent book, The Vanishing: Faith, Loss and the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets, chronicles the disappearance of Christian minorities. She is the also author of the award-winning book The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria, which has been translated into 28 languages and was a Finalist for The New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award For Excellence In Journalism. She is currently directing a transitional justice project in Ukraine, Enabling Witnesses, sponsored by US AID. From 2017 to 2018, Janine was the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Professor of Practice in Human Rights at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Administration. Di Giovanni was previously the Middle East Editor at Newsweek, Senior Foreign Correspondent for the Times of London, and a contributing editor for two decades at Vanity Fair. She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Erin Overbey, is the Archive Editor of The New Yorker and has been an archivist at the magazine since 1994. She has worked closely with many of the magazine’s writers over the years, including the legendary Lillian Ross, and collaborated with Ross on her comprehensive Talk of the Town anthology, The Fun of It. She directs and helps coordinate archival coverage at the magazine. She currently helms and curates the publication’s popular twice-weekly archive newsletter, New Yorker Classics. She also co-edits the magazine’s annual archive issue. Additionally, she frequently writes about culture and the history of the magazine. She is an advocate for equal pay and broader inclusivity and diversity in the media..


Please submit all press inquiries to Sara Beth Joren at least 48 hours before the event: email or use this Gmail template.

For all other questions and inquiries, please email or use this Gmail template.

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LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund, and the support of Library patrons and friends.

Treasures programming is made possible by the Estate of Helen Sisserson.

Lesley Blume © Claiborne Swanson Frank

Janine di Giovanni © Rannjan Joawn

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Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (2nd Fl) 476 5th Ave
New York, NY 10018