Friday, February 8, 2013

Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

Sheinkin, Steve. 2012. BOMB: THE RACE TO BUILD –AND STEAL–THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS WEAPON. New York: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN 9781596434875 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-10]

In 1938, German chemist Otto Hahn wondered what would happen when neutrons sped out of a radioactive material and crashed into a uranium atom.  “The answer was shocking.” Hahn found that the atoms split and that great energy was released. This discovery within the earth’s tiniest particles launched a worldwide race to build the first atomic bomb. 

BOMB tells the captivating story of this race to create the world’s most powerful weapon. The action involves scientists, spies, intelligence agents, military commanders, and world leaders from around the globe. Settings include German, Russian, and American laboratories as well as the White House, the Norwegian wilderness, a ranch school in Los Alamos, Arizona, and an unsuspecting home in Hiroshima. Less than seven years after Hahn’s discovery, the first atomic bomb is dropped.  The war ends with the “knowledge that that the world would never be the same.” 

This well-researched, engaging book provides historical information in an accessible format for teen readers. Direct quotations and first-hand accounts are incorporated seamlessly into text that reads more like a spy novel than a nonfiction piece. Photographs, diagrams, and thorough back matter are utilized effectively. The book provides enough information to satisfy history buffs and science enthusiasts without overwhelming the casual reader.

Readers can map the locations where action took place. Fiction selections portraying different points of view can be read. The devastation of Hiroshima can be further studied. Readers can also research more about the science behind the bomb.

Fictional stories about teens living these events:
Klages, Ellen. THE GREEN GLASS SEA. ISBN 9780670061341
Preus, Margi. SHADOW ON THE MOUNTAIN. ISBN 9781419704246

By Jill Bellomy

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