At two minutes past 11 o’clock in the morning on August 9, 1945, an atomic bomb exploded over the Japanese city of Nagasaki. At that moment, Kazumi Yamada, a 12-year-old paper boy, was finishing up his deliveries and on his way home. Earlier that morning, some friends had gone to a local swimming hole, but Yamada had work to do and did not go with them. Yamada survived the attack on Nagasaki; his friends died from their injuries shortly after the bomb fell.
Such a commonplace choice, to go for a swim versus delivering newspapers, hardly seems like a life or death decision—but that day, it turned out to be. The story of August 9, 1945, in Nagasaki is full of