Doubts Raised on Book’s Tale of Atom Bomb





A new book about the atomic destruction of Hiroshima has won critical acclaim with its heartbreaking portrayals of the bomb’s survivors and is set to be made into a movie by James Cameron.

“The Last Train from Hiroshima,” published in January by Henry Holt, also claims to reveal a secret accident with the atom bomb that killed one American and irradiated others and greatly reduced the weapon’s destructive power.

There is just one problem. That section of the book and other technical details of the mission are based on the recollections of Joseph Fuoco, who is described as a last-minute substitute on one of the two observation planes that escorted the Enola Gay.

But Mr. Fuoco, who died in 2008 at age 84 and lived in Westbury, N.Y., never flew on the bombing run, and he never substituted for James R. Corliss, the plane’s regular flight engineer, Mr. Corliss’s family says. They, along with angry ranks of scientists, historians and veterans, are denouncing the book and calling Mr. Fuoco an impostor.

Facing a national outcry and the Corliss family’s evidence, the author, Charles Pellegrino, now concedes that he was probably duped. In an interview on Friday, he said he would rewrite sections of the book for paperback and foreign editions.

“I’m stunned,” Mr. Pellegrino said. “I liked and admired the guy. He had loads and loads of papers, and photographs of everything.”...

Mr. Pellegrino is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books. They include science fiction, “Unearthing Atlantis,” “The Jesus Family Tomb” and two books on the Titanic. Mr. Cameron used those books as sources for his Titanic movie and received help from Mr. Pellegrino on “Avatar,” according to the publisher. It says Mr. Pellegrino has a Ph.D. in zoology and lives in New York City....

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