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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Showing Off an Historical New Yorker Cover

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At the Westport Historical Society today, Mandy Teare, niece of New Yorker cover artist John Norment, holds a copy of the magazine that despite its upbeat cover contains an historic narrative of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author John Hersey, a former Westport resident. It is the subject of a New Yorker-themed exhibit in the WHS Mollie Donovan Gallery, “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover…” the story-behind-the-story. Here’s how a story in the July 31, 1995 New Yorker described that issue: “John Hersey’s ‘Hiroshima,’ which famously constituted the entire editorial contents of this magazine’s issue of August 31, 1946, is a work of sustained silence. Its appearance, just over a year after the destruction of the Japanese city, offered one of the first detailed accounts of the effects of nuclear warfare on its survivors, in a prose so stripped of mannerism, sentimentality, and even minimal emphasis as to place each reader alone within scenes laid bare of all but pain.” The article was read on national radio over four evenings and eventually became a book that sold 3.5 million copies. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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