Literary Programme 2017

Bob Jackson

Bob Jackson
(A Doctor's Sword: How an Irish Doctor Survived War, Captivity and the Atomic Bomb)

Bob Jackson

Bantry Library

Tue 18 July 2017




There followed a blue flash accompanied by a very bright magnesium-type flare… Then came a frighteningly loud but rather flat explosion, which was followed by a blast of hot air… All this was followed by eerie silence.

This was Cork doctor Aidan MacCarthy’s description of the atomic bomb explosion above Nagasaki in August 1945, a mile from where he was trembling in a makeshift bomb shelter in the Mitsubishi POW camp.

This is the astonishing story of the wartime adventures of Dr Aidan MacCarthy from Castletownbere, who survived the evacuation at Dunkirk, burning planes, sinking ships, jungle warfare and appalling privation as a Japanese prisoner of war. It is a story of survival, forgiveness and humanity at its most admirable.

Bob Jackson first heard of Dr Aidan MacCarthy over sixteen years ago while working in a bar in Cork city. One of the regular customers, who had been in the RAF, told a story of a doctor in west Cork with a connection to the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. Intrigued, Bob travelled to MacCarthy’s Bar in Castletownbere where he met Aidan’s daughter Adrienne. He was stunned to learn that not only had Aidan survived the atomic bomb but Kusuno, the Japanese commander of the camp where Aidan had been held prisoner, had gifted his family’s ancestral samurai sword to him – an extraordinary act of sacrifice and gratitude.

A Doctor’s Sword is the first complete biography of Dr Aidan MacCarthy. It is the astonishing story of his wartime adventures, a story of survival, forgiveness and humanity at its most admirable.

‘Powerful, powerful read.’Patricia Messenger Show, C103

‘Puts celluloid heroes like Indiana Jones in the shade.’Irish Independent

Bob Jackson lectures in Creative Media at the Institute of Technology, Tralee. He produced the feature documentary A Doctor’s Sword, which was released in Irish cinemas in 2015 and was nominated for an IFTA award in 2016. Bob also works in music production, and lives in Cork city.