This was an On A Whim pick up at my local bookstore and it wasn’t until I had read almost 100 pages …sitting on the floor at the book store that I realized this was one I had to bring home.
The Bomb by Steve Sheinkin, a Newbery Honor book
- Age Range: 10 – 14 years
- Lexile Measure: 920L
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Flash Point; First Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
This is a History novel about the Race to Build -by hook or crook- the first Atomic Bomb. This is filled with a few pictures, but mostly the kind of story writing you expect to see in the best Spy novels. I can see why this is a Newbery Honor book. I have a WW2 obsessed son, and I am a big fan of exciting history novels in general. Before my Dad introduced me to all things Science Fiction we read every Biography, History, Historical fiction novel we could get in the JF/TF section of our local library. So this book delighted and intrigued me. While most of the factual elements are known to me, this was the first time I can recall reading about it with such a compelling and complete narrative. This story goes from the first discoveries of fission, to dropping two nuclear bombs on Japan, and the spy scandal that made headlines around the globe. Taken from first hand accounts and primary sources this book weaves three stories: The US and Germany trying to build a bomb, the Soviets trying to steel it, and the Allies trying to disrupt Germany’s research.
The story does more than just share dry facts, it tells about the elation and then devastation felt by the scientists over what they had done. It gives first hand accounts from Nagasaki, and Hiroshima. It discusses the crazy methods Soviet spies went to to steel plans, and even President Truman’s feelings on Why it was necessary to drop a nuclear bomb on Japan. This should be on your shelves.
Parental Note: This is not a condemnation of the bomb makers, or of America dropping the bombs on Japan. Mr. Sheinkin does his best to just lay out facts and let you draw your own conclusions, but it is unapologetically pro American. I encourage you to read this along with your child, especially if you are not familiar with the Manhattan Project.