Author Charles Pellegrino to remove 'Hiroshima' impostor from future editions

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By Steven Levingston
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Author Charles Pellegrino confirmed Monday that he was duped by a source while researching his book on the bombing of Hiroshima and will remove the impostor entirely from future editions.

"The Last Train From Hiroshima," published last month by Henry Holt to favorable reviews, contained reminiscences of Joseph Fuoco, who claimed to have been a last-minute substitute aboard Necessary Evil, one of the photography planes that escorted the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Fuoco presented evidence to Pellegrino that he replaced Flight Engineer James R. Corliss. "My concern now is to correct this, to have James Corliss in his rightful place in history," Pellegrino said in an interview Monday. Fuoco died in September 2008.

Pellegrino said he trusted Fuoco, who was referred to him by a friend, partly because Fuoco was a firefighter who had served in World War II. Pellegrino, whose family lost a cousin at the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, had worked with firefighters on research projects in the aftermath. "I let a lot of my skepticism drop down a couple notches," he said, adding he couldn't believe a firefighter could provide a false story.

The veterans who carried out the mission over Hiroshima in August 1945 had raised concerns about "The Last Train From Hiroshima." In a virulent news release, the 509th Composite Group said it was "incensed" about parts of the book, calling it "rife with errors."

Fuoco delivered a range of views on the bomb and fraudulent firsthand accounts of the mission. He moves in and out of the book's narrative, describing his career, his views on atomic bombs, his role in the Hiroshima bombing. Fuoco's false recollections are spread over at least 30 pages but Pellegrino said they add up to only about five pages of text. He said the impostor will be wiped from all future editions of the book in hardcover, paperback and electronic. He will also write an author's note explaining the errors.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company

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