Reviews | Anthony Drago

Reviews of Surviving Hiroshima

5 stars. “Surviving Hiroshima gives a voice to those whom aren’t talked about much due to being a different nationality then someone who would’ve been born and raised in Japan. It tells a life story of how the writer and his family were affected from this well known tragic event and thereafter. Without going further into detail. Excellent addition to have in your library for WWII History lovers.”

— Vanessa Youse for NetGalley

5 stars. “This is a multi-faceted story.

Anthony Drago’s mother, Kaleria Palchikoff, was an infant when her aristocratic Russian family fled to Japan in the early 1920s to escape the repression of the Bolsheviks. The family settled in Hiroshima.

She and her family survived the atomic blast in August 1945 and Kaleria, as one of the only English-speaking survivors, was interviewed extensively by the U.S. Army. The account of the blast and the nightmare days that followed is told in Kaleria’s own words. It is a horrific and unimaginable tale of death and destruction. It is also an uplifting story of the strength of the human spirit and the will to survive.

After the war, Kaleria emigrated to the U.S. and built a new life for herself – raising a family in America. She buried her memories for decades. Her story and how she eventually came to terms with the day that changed the world forever is compelling.

Highly recommended.”

— Len Joy, author of Everyone Dies Famous

5 stars. “I knew that people who weren’t Japanese lived in and survived the Hiroshima bombing, but this is the first time I’ve come across an account that I can read!

The story was incredibly engrossing. As I was reading, I didn’t realize how much time had passed and I had to force myself to stop and take a break to do some actual work.

This book was incredibly well written. Easy to read and follow.”

— Meredith Reid, for NetGalley

5 stars. “Wow! That is the one word that sums up this book. The author survived the first atomic bombing in the world when she was 22 and since she was the only one that could speak English had to describe in detail what she experienced, which I am sure was not easy. She came to the United States and raised a family, keeping her pain hidden. Now she is ready to tell her story and this book is a testament to her strength during a time that I cannot even imagine.”

— Cristie Underwood (Bookseller), for NetGalley

5 stars. “Twenty two year old Kaleria Palchikoff was doing pre breakfast chores on August 6, 1945 when a blinding flash lit the sky over Hiroshima, Japan. Just a moment later everything went dark and the house collapsed around her and her family. Her life and all around them changed drastically in that moment. 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.

Kaleria’s Father, a talented musician was able to create a new life for his family. But after the Second World War broke out a cloud of suspicion fell over the family leading to imprisonment and and years of deprivation for his family.

Kaleria managed to summon enough strength to of bomb victims, treating the never-before seen effects of radiation. Being fluent with 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.

This book is heavily based on quotes from Kaleria’s memoirs written immediately after World War II, as well as transcripts of United States Army Air Force interviews with her.

I give Surviving Hiroshima five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!”

— Michelle Kidwell, Random Ramblings of a Writer

“This historical and biographical account creates immediate suspense by starting in the cabin of the Enola Gay on its way to drop an atomic bomb. Then the book cuts back in time to build up to the plane’s mission. From the close perspective of author Drago’s family as well as a broader lens, it captures the dramatic highs and lows of momentous events and their aftermath.

Drago’s grandfather, Sergei Palchikoff, is a Russian aristocrat and officer. After the Bolshevik takeover in 1917, he joins the White Army serving the czar. When the czar dies, the Palchikoff family flees to Japan. Palchikoff teaches violin and Russian language in Hiroshima. Accused of spying, he is imprisoned. His wife, daughter, and one son fend for themselves at home. Another son goes to school in California and joins the U.S. Army shortly before the bomb is dropped. He helps the family move to America after the war.

The co-authors seamlessly interweave an intimate and historically accurate account. Drago’s family presents characters deserving of recognition for their determined attitudes in the face of drastic circumstances. Wellman’s writing and war expertise illuminate forces the family is up against. Eyewitness statements paint the effects of the bomb in gruesome relief.

The Palchikoff family is deemed an enemy in their own homes—first, as landowners in communist-leaning Russia and then as Allies in Axis-backed Japan. Through these hurdles, they show fortitude and charisma, making friends, music, and excelling in work. After emerging from the rubble of their home following the bomb’s explosion, Kaleria, Drago’s mother, serves at a makeshift hospital. Like her father, her language skills enable her to work in translating after the war. Also, like her father, she teaches her son to endure pain. History fans have much to look forward to in this book.”

— Mari Carlson, The US Review of Books

“An absolutely fascinating and deftly crafted true life biography that reads with all the drama of a well penned novel, ‘Surviving Hiroshima: A Young Woman’s Story’ is a deftly crafted and riveting read from beginning to end. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library WWII Biographies and Historical Japan Biographies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists…”

— Midwest Book Review

5 stars. “Wow this book was really a fascinating and heartbreaking story. Thank you to BQB Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a review. The first half of the book is the history leading up to Hiroshima. It was well written and very readable. Surviving Hiroshima’s main focus was the story of the author’s Mother’s life which included surviving Hiroshima. His grandparents (Russian Aristocrats) fled Russia during the Russian Civil War to Japan for a safer life. It seems every time they get their lives headed in the right direction, something always happens to set them back. This book is a stark reminder of why we need to remember our history no matter how terrible it may be. IT MUST NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN! I would certainly recommend this book to everyone – whether you are a history lover or not.”

— Debbie Carey, NetGalley

5 stars. “The Palchikoff family literally went from the frying pan into the fire. Fleeing troubles from the Bolsheviks in Russia, they settled in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Their troubles did not end there, but eventually came to a climax in a blinding flash of white light on the morning of the 6th of November, 1945. This is the story, told by Kaleria Palichikoff, who was 22 when the bomb landed.”

— Jazzy Lemon, NetGalley

“This was a superb memoir, I really enjoyed going on this journey with Kaleria. It was a great read and I look forward to more of this type of memoir.”

— Kay McLeer, NetGalley

“A truly brilliant book! The absolutely amazing story and beautiful writing of Anthony Drago and Douglas Wellman’s ‘Surviving Hiroshima: A Young Woman’s Story’” brings to life a time during World War II with true personal tales of action, adventure, and heartbreak. As I read this story, I became so invested in this family’s journey during the bombing of Hiroshima that I cried at their many losses and tragedies, and rejoiced at their triumphs, moments of kindness, sacrifices, and ultimately their survival. A brilliantly vivid, accurate, and personal account of such an important piece of history. This book is a must-read.”

— Jana Zinser, author of “The Children’s Train” and “Fly Like a Bird”