March 6th, 2013 by Nancy
Do you ever feel guilty when you’re enjoying something? That’s kind of how I felt when I read Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steven Sheinkin.
Bomb was my super unhealthy chocolate cake with sugar frosting, because the book is so good but so sad because of what it’s about: the creation of the atom bomb during World War II. No matter how delicious that chocolate cake is, it’ll result in a tummy ache (and in the case of the atom bomb, many lives lost).
You may recall from my earlier post about last year’s Cybils awards*, Bomb is about the scientists who built the atom bomb, the soldiers who stopped Hitler and the Nazis from building their own bomb, and the spies who stole the bomb for Russia.
Amazingly, everything in the book is true — even the mild-mannered scientists who became spies (and were eventually caught). You might have heard of the “father of the atom bomb” (scientist Robert Oppenheimer) but did you know about Knut Haukelid, a Norwegian resistance fighter who was key in stopping Hitler from making his own bomb? Or Klaus Fuchs and Ted Hall, two scientists who were covert spies for Russia, but didn’t even know of each other until after they were found out? Or back to Oppenheimer — did you know that he was the leader of dozens of scientists from all over the world, determined to create a bomb that would not only be so destructive that it could end the war, but also be an amazing scientific feat?
You should pick this book up if you’re interested in any of the following:
- Scientific breakthroughs that change the world
- How wars are fought, not just on the front lines
- Spies who jump out of planes and ski into remote enemy territory
- Real-life heroes and explosions of all sizes
- Fighter pilots and curious senators who would become president one day
- Why people decide to become spies against their countries
- A well-written book (including few photographs too)
- Even a little bit of romance (seriously, a tiny bit)
- And a lot, lot more!
Nancy wants you to read this book. If you don’t, you just admitted you don’t want to read a well-written book. What’s up with that? Do you want to read a poorly written book? No, of course not. We didn’t think so.
*Oh, and Bomb also won another little award — you might of heard of it, uh, EVERYWHERE: a Newbery Honor!