September 1945 Joe O?Donnell was a twenty-three-year-old Marine Corps photographer wading ashore in Japan, then under American occupation. His orders were to document the aftermath of U.S. bombing raids in Japanese cities, including not only Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also cities
such as Sasebo, one of the more than sixty Japanese cities firebombed before the atomic blasts. "The people I met," he now recalls, "the suffering I witnessed, and the scenes of incredible devastation taken by my camera caused me to question
every belief I had previously held about my so-called enemies." In addition to the official photographs he turned over to his superiors, O?Donnell recorded some three hundred images for himself, but following his discharge from the Marines he could not bear to look at them. He put the negatives
in a trunk that remained unopened until 1989, when he finally felt compelled to confront once more what he had he had seen through his lens...