HIROSHIMA PILOT by William Bradford Huie


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The fouled up, postwar life of Claude Eatherly, the Air Force major who ""accepted his guilt"" for helping bomb Hiroshima, is both bizarre in content and impressive reporting. Evidently, Huie reports, Eatherly manufactured his guilt (or rather it was made up for him by the press after his false assertions) to save himself from federal prosecution for robbing post offices. Since 1957, he has found a purpose in life by abandoning habitual criminal activity, assuming self-crucifixion and campaigning as a pacifist. By now he may actually feel the guilt a Texas reporter (and an unproduced Paul Wellman movie script) decided to ascribe to him as explanation of his eccentric behavior. Amid divorce, drink and crime, the major has been in and out of mental institutions for years, where he was conveniently diagnosed as schizophrenic to avoid official embarrassment connected with the affair. Huie punctures the Eatherly myth relentlessly, but the major may have the last word. After reading Huie's book, he said, ""A hundred years from now I'll be the only American anybody thinks of in connection with Hiroshima. Maybe they'll remember Truman, too. Eatherly and Truman. The Hero and the Villain.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1963
Publisher: Putnam