Choosing Life

My Father’s Journey in Film from Hollywood to Hiroshima

Non-Fiction - Historical
338 Pages
Reviewed on 07/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Choosing Life: My Father’s Journey in Film from Hollywood to Hiroshima by Leslie A. Sussan is a memoir and biography about the author's father, Herbert Sussan, who was tasked in 1946 by the US military to film the horrible after-effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. He would use his expertise as a Hollywood cinematographer to bring the story of death to life. But when he finished filming the devastating aftermath of the atomic bomb, the footage was declared top secret and kept hidden for years, with the official stance being that the public wouldn't be interested in seeing it. The truth was, it was too terrible for anyone to see. The project and the people left to languish in the wake of the bombings haunted the filmmaker for the rest of his life. The shadow of that haunting reached his daughter, Leslie, who took up where her father left off, returning to the areas of destruction with her own daughter, Kendra (then 4 years old), to meet with and interview some of the survivors her father had met 40 years earlier. For those involved, the war never ended.

This biography/memoir, part history/part photo essay will leave a lasting impression on you. The author doesn't try to embellish with excessive descriptions--those graphic incidents speak for themselves. Leslie, a lawyer, also showcases a well-rounded account of her father's early life, his personality, and their relationship, so that this book isn't only about Hiroshima/Nagasaki--it's a story about humanity and how it is fragile yet strong it is at the same time. Whether you approve or disapprove of nuclear war/weapons, this account may cause you to ponder the ramifications; some that last a lifetime and beyond for generations to come. Some readers may come away thinking that if the general public had been allowed to view the footage Sussan captured years ago, nations might be less war-hungry today, and there would be more of an outcry against nuclear arms. At the time of the bombings, most people supported it, though since then, that support has decreased. Choosing Life: My Father’s Journey in Film from Hollywood to Hiroshima by Leslie A. Sussan is a book of substance. Read at your own risk.