On the Story Behind the Story of, "To BLEEP and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima"
The original title of my proposed book about Hiroshima and Nagasaki was, "The Last Train to Nagasaki." I believed the title conveyed how I would bridge the story of the two cities via the people who had survived both atomic bombings - the double hibakusha. In this manner, I thought I could correct the problem of how history all but forgot the second and even more powerful atomic bomb and the people beneath it. As one survivor expressed the forgetting: "It is never good to be the second of anything." I did not know how extreme the forgetfulness had become. In 2009, my editor discovered that almost no one at the publishing house knew what the name, Nagasaki, referred to - and thus the title change, to name a city familiar to everyone: "The Last Train from Hiroshima."
Approximately 300 people are known to have made the journey, aboard two trains, from Hiroshima all the way to Nagasaki in the wake of the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945. Of this group, approximately 90% were killed by the second bomb. In "Last Train," the double hibakusha bracket and interweave with the stories of other survivors, ranging from conscripted schoolchildren and doctors at Nagasaki to the origin of the thousands of paper cranes that were sent from the children of Hiroshima to the children of New York in 2001.