The basics of the development of the atomic bomb are familiar to most. The details, less so. Bomb is full of scientific, historical, and political explanations that will make the circumstances surrounding the first atomic bombs much clearer. This may well intrigue those who enjoy reading about particle physics or political history. Here’s why you should check out Bomb even if you don’t: Sheinkin does a fantastic job of making something you should understand into something that you actually care about.
The story begins years after the Second World War, with Harry Gold, one of the American men drafted as a spy for the Soviet Union, agreeing to confess his crimes. The unlikeliness of this scenario — Gold is a nervous chemist who still lives with his father and brother — sets up the project well. All the way through, Sheinkin pulls in details and anecdotes that help the events described, and the people involved, come across as real, memorable, and eminently shareable. Read the book yourself, and you will be dropping bits and pieces into conversation. Pass it on to a student, and they’ll come back looking for more about Moe Berg, Robert Oppenheimer, and Richard Feynman.
Bomb is a truly fascinating account of the scientific and political pursuit of the first atomic bomb, rounded off with a sobering look at what the existence of the bomb means we are able to do to one another. With incredible research, skilled narrative, and an emphasis on characterisation that puts plenty of fiction to shame, Sheinkin tells history in a way that will keep even the most story-oriented reader engaged.
Read an interview with author Steve Sheinkin on School Library Journal, or watch Sheinkin talk about his approach to writing history: