Bombs and Dragons

Over the winter break, I was on a reading binge. The day we left for break, a box arrived with an order of books. They were all books that had been nominated for Best Non-fiction for Young Adults. My favorite of the bunch was Bomb: the race to build – and steal – the world’s most dangerous weapon by Steve Sheinkin. Mr. Sheinkin used to write textbooks, and to make up for the torture he inflicted on students that way, he now writes really interesting non-fiction books. Here’s my review on Good Reads

Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous WeaponBomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fascinating. This book had everything…spies, tradecraft, codes, scaling snow covered gorges, deception, geeks, a bunch of guys named Knut, bombs, victory, regret, gossip, a Philadelphia connection. I loved every minute of it.

I knew only the bare minimum about the development of the atomic bomb, enough to appreciate scenes in movies where someone (was it Indiana Jones?) gets “trapped” in the fake town during the testing. After reading this, I have a much better understanding of what went into the development of the bomb. I liked the picture I got of Oppenheimer.

Spy stuff is always fascinating, so I really enjoyed the details about the “tradecraft” involved in passing the secrets to the Russians. (view spoiler)[All along I kept hoping someone was a double agent and would rat folks out before Russia got all the details, even though I knew it wasn’t going to happen…kind of like the way you sit on the edge of your seat during the final game in Miracle, even though you know the US team wins. (hide spoiler)]

I even sort of want to go back and reread The Radioactive Boy Scout in light of what I’ve learned from this book.

For some reason I didn’t read The Notorious Benedict Arnold for last year’s challenge. Luckily, though, I did just recently order it for school. That’ll go to the top of my list when it comes in.

Why I picked it up: For the 2013 Best of the Best Challenge, I’ve gone with the non-fiction, because they all came into my library right before break.

Why I kept reading: From the get-go I was intrigued by the guy from Philly and what role he was going to play.

I’d give this book to: Zach N who likes history; Justin who likes spies; Margie who likes WWII resistance stories (even though they’re Norwegian, not French).

View all my reviews

And a nice little trailer for the book:

Today’s book is the The Element encyclopedia of magical creatures, a source for all you wanted to know about dragons, elves and mermaids. I picked this book today because my friend Joan, a history teacher at Notre Dame, had posted that on this day in 1493, off the coast of the Dominican Republic, Christopher Columbus mistook manatees for mermaids. He apparently hadn’t yet discovered an eye doctor.


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