Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 5 Feb 2014
Full Title: Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
In the 1930s, fission was discovered, and the warring powers strove to develop this new discovery into destructive weapons. Like all else, the history of the atomic bomb could be viewed from many different angles, whether it was Robert Oppenheimer's research process, the Soviet espionage, the training of an air crew for the delivery of the finished product, or commando missions to disrupt German research. Steve Sheinkin's Bomb presented a bird's eye view over the landscape, touching upon many of these topics in an attempt to form the bigger story. Given the book's wide scope and limited size, the content remained cursory over each topic, but the author nevertheless did a fine job weaving the overall story together, thus forming a great primer for those interested in the years leading up to the atomic age. With its simple language, the book would make a great read for younger readers. To me, the greatest weakness of Bomb was the fact that the suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was only glossed over, possibly intentional given the target audience. For the mature readers, I would highly recommend following up this book with Charles Pellegrino's The Last Train from Hiroshima, for a sobering reminder that such awesome weapons could only result in unimaginable human misery.
I had reviewed this book in its audio book format. Roy Samuelson did a fine job with the reading.
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939