Surviving Hiroshima: A Young Woman’s Story

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On August 6, 1945, 22-year-old Kaleria Pachikoff was doing pre-breakfast chores when a blinding flash lit the sky over Hiroshima, Japan. A moment later, everything went black as the house collapsed on her and her family. Their world, and everyone else’s, changed as the first atomic bomb was detonated over a city.

From Russian nobility, the Palchikoff’s barely escaped death at the hands of Bolshevik revolutionaries until her father, a White Russian officer, hijacked a ship to take them to safety in Hiroshima. Safety was short lived. Her father, a talented musician, established a new life for the family, but the outbreak of World War II created a cloud of suspicion that led to his imprisonment and years of deprivation for his family.

After the bombing, trapped in the center of previously unimagined devastation, Kaleria summoned her strength to come to the aid of bomb victims, treating the never-before seen effects of radiation.

Fluent in English, Kaleria was soon recruited to work with Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s occupation forces in a number of secretarial positions until the family found a new life in the United States.

Heavily based on quotes from Kaleria’s memoirs written immediately after World War II, and transcripts of United States Army Air Force interviews with her, her story is an emotional, and sometime chilling, story of courage and survival in the face of one of history’s greatest catastrophes.

ISBN 978-1-60808-236-0 (Paperback)

History / Biography

6×9, 250 pages

Publication date: September 1, 2020

This book is available in paperback and eBook format:

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Anthony “Tony” Drago was born in Camden, New Jersey and spent much of his early childhood at his paternal grandparents Italian grocery store. His school years were spent in Los Angeles, California which is when he began to realize he was the only child bringing seaweed & rice to school instead of peanut butter & jelly.

From a young age, his mother, Kaleria Palchikoff Drago, would tell him the captivating story of her journey from Russia, to Japan, and then to the United States. It created Tony’s foundation for his love of history — especially his family’s history—bringing him to write his first book, Surviving Hiroshima: A Young Woman’s Story.

Tony is a former Public Safety Officer who spent his twenty-five year career serving the community of Sunnyvale, California as both a firefighter and police officer. After retiring in 2006, he doubled down on his passions — flying his airplane, restoring his classic car, and traveling the world with his wife, Kathy. He has two brothers, Mark and Paul Drago, who reside in Long Beach, California.

Tony and Kathy have been married for forty-five years. They have three adult children and enjoy spending their days on the beach in their hometown of Carmel, California with their eight grandchildren and dogs, Tug and Maggie.

Douglas Wellman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and studied Broadcast Speech/Communications at the University of Minnesota. After several years working in Twin Cities television stations, he moved to Los Angeles where he became a multi-award winning television producer-director. Much of his work was in comedy. He also worked at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts for 17 years, the last ten years as assistant dean.

Concurrently he attended King’s College and Seminary, earning a theology degree. He spent six years working as a pastor with the homeless population of Los Angeles, and after retiring from USC, he volunteered for two years as a Bible teacher in a Southern Utah prison. He is currently a hospital chaplain.

An ardent amateur historian, he is the author of Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes and Surviving Hiroshima: A Young Woman’s Story. He has also returned to his comedy roots to work on the autobiography of his friend, John Byner, with Five Minutes, Mr. Byner!

He has given up motorcycles, but remains addicted to sports cars.

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