Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bomb: The Race to Build--And Steal--The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Katie's got one of the most talked about books of last year, a National Book Award Finalist AND a nominee for Yalsa's Excellence in Teen Nonfiction Award:

There was a time in my life that I thought nonfiction couldn’t ever be as interesting as fiction because it was real. Let’s face it, where was the imagination?

Bomb: The Race to Build--And Steal--The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon was written just to prove me wrong. Author Steve Sheinkin even admits to writing it to help make up for the boring text books he used to work on in his author bio. This is exciting stuff. And there is no shortage of imagination here. Creative, brilliant people can be found on every page of this National Book Award finalist.

The usual suspects are all accounted for--Robert Oppenheimer, head of the Manhattan Project; Harry S. Truman, the president who ordered the use of the bomb; in addition to a rich and varied cast of physicists and military men. But there is also the 18-year-old prodigy who took a job at Los Alamos, a former major league baseball player turned spy, a scientist who writes letters to his family in code just for kicks, and the work of Walt Whitman, which is used to send secret information. The international intrigue spans years and stretches from the U.S. to Germany to Norway to Russia and, finally, to Japan.

In other words, this isn’t just a story of mad scientists figuring out how to make a bomb, it’s also an account of the spies who tried to steal the plans of the scientists, the double agents, the prodigies, the heroes, and the victims. This book covers more in a few hundred pages than any history class I ever took and may just change how you think about history and nonfiction.

1 comment:

Rachel Kovacs said...

There is also a literature unit based on this book for teachers. It is geared toward high school English or social studies classes and is based on Common Core standards. It can be found at Curriculum Aids or on Amazon.