Remember that Hiroshima Book Optioned by James Cameron? It's not happening due to Fabricated Witness Accounts

As you know, James Cameron has been doing research for a book called Last Train to Hiroshima: A Survivor's Look Back, which actually could have ended up being his next film. Now it looks like the whole project has been scrapped and a waste of Cameron's time. 

Cameron actually optioned the book with his own money back in January. The book was written by Charles Pellegrino, one of Cameron's long time collaborators. The book takes place over two days and uses eyewitness accounts to tell the story of the first atomic blast firsthand. Now there are claims that the firsthand witness accounts in the book may have been fabricated. 

Here are a couple of the concerns that raised doubt about the book.


  • Pellegrino acknowledged that one of his interview subjects had falsely claimed to be on one of the planes accompanying the Enola Gay, from which an atom bomb was dropped by the United States on Hiroshima in 1945.
  • The publisher was unable to determine the existence of a Father Mattias (the first name is not given) who supposedly lived in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, and John MacQuitty, identified as a Jesuit scholar presiding over Mattias' funeral.

Even Pellegrino's own credentials are under fire. His website claims that he received a Ph.D. in 1992 from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, but the school says he never got one. Ouch.

This discovery has forced the publishers of the book to cancel it's publication. Here's a book that has been received very positive praise from people with James Cameron even volunteering to write a little blurb on the cover and possibly spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make a movie based on it. The Henry and Holt Publishing company made a statement,

It is easy to understand how even the most diligent author could be duped by a source, but we also understand that opens that book to very detailed scrutiny. The author of any work of nonfiction must stand behind its content. We must rely on our authors to answer questions that may arise as to the accuracy of their work and reliability of their sources. Unfortunately, Mr. Pellegrino was not able to answer the additional questions that have arisen about his book to our satisfaction.

So there it is. The book is done, and so is the movie. It's unfortunate that this had to happen. I was looking forward to reading this book and watching the movie because of my love for history. But if the history is being fabricated, what's the point?

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