Hersey, John

Hersey, John (Richard)

(1914–93) journalist, writer; born in Tientsin, China. His parents were missionaries and after his early education in China he attended Yale (B.A. 1936) and Clare College, Cambridge, England. He was briefly Sinclair Lewis's personal secretary (1937), then went to work as a journalist and editor for several New York magazines. During World War II he saw considerable action as a correspondent and he drew on his experiences for several of his works, including the novel A Bell for Adano (1944) (which also became a play and a movie). His greatest impact came from his documentary-style account, Hiroshima (1946), the first work to reveal to the general public the true horrors of a nuclear war. He taught at Yale for many years starting in 1950 and continued to publish his fiction and nonfiction.
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They captured the attention of imaginative writers as perceptive as Herman Melville and Mark Twain, James Michener and John Hersey, John Grisham and Barbara Kingsolver.
Many editors spoofed the system, dubbing it "grope journalism" Frustrated, some of the brightest--Archibald MacLeish, Louis Kronenberger, James Agee, Theodore White, John Hersey, John McPhee--resigned to become prominent authors.