Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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

Everybody and their mother have been talking about this one. Even before it was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award it was getting a bunch of buzz.

What did I think? Wow, compelling non-fiction for sure. It read like a spy-story and it would make a thrilling movie. In fact, the chapters cut back and forth between the main characters just like a movie so it was almost like reading a screenplay. I was kind of in awe.

Like Nina at the Heavy Medal blog – (or probably more accurate because of her)I wondered about some of the quotes and the very specific descriptions of looks, actions, etc. Much of this I’m sure came from memoirs, etc., but some of it seemed as though the author was perhaps reaching a bit.  

Now, keep in mind I was reading and deliberately looking for flaws in an excellently written book. If I had to pick one thing that made me uneasy about this book it was the complete lack of mention about the Native Americans whose lands the bombs were tested on and around. I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I read this, but I have a vivid memory of a firsthand account of the bomb testing where kids were playing in the atomic fallout like it was snow. Did I make that up? The memory I have of this is so real. I didn't really do any research to see if this was true or a false memory, but it made me uncomfortable all the same. 

I also think it understated the impact of dropping the atomic bombs in Japan. Why were there no pictures of the devastation? Not one. I found that a little shocking. Yes, he says this was serious stuff and he certainly doesn't make light of it – but images would have really driven home just how serious it really was. I would have also liked a little more on the long-term effects of the bombs. I don’t think there was one mention of long-term cancer rates? 

This was an excellent book – but I am certain it will not be getting my vote for most distinguished.


Mock Printz Titles: 

1. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
2. A Certain October - Angela Johnson
3. Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvator
4. Brides of Rollrock Island - Margo Lanogan
5. Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
6. Every Day - David Levithan
7. Bomb - Steven Sheinkin
8. Never Fall Down - Patricia McCormick
9. Ask the Passengers - AS King
10. The Drowned Cities - Paolo Bacigalupi

No comments: