Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

Newbery Honor Book for 2013, Bomb by Steve Sheinkin follows the story of the development of the first atomic bomb during World War II.

From the possibility to the discovery of nuclear fission through the Nazi heavy water manufacture to the Manhattan Project and the attempts of the Soviet Union to steal the bomb design, Bomb is a riveting book, exposing the heavy toll the atom bomb takes on the developers, the secret-stealers, the people of Japan, and those of us still living in a nuclear age.

We follow Robert Oppenheimer, the leader of the Manhattan Project, which is the name the US called its development program for the atom bomb, and all the other colorful physicists who created the world’s most powerful weapon.  We see their struggles and triumphs, their sense of duty and desire to prevent Hitler from acquiring the bomb, their sense of helping the Russians in order to even the playing field, and their immense concern seeing its power afterwards.

This book humanizes the developers, gives the reasons behind the development, creates the sense of urgency, and the devastating results afterwards.  For those of us who didn’t live through this time period, Bomb takes up back to what it was like during World War II and fills in a void (at least for me) of the details.  I loved learning all of this since I only had a rudimentary knowledge of the bombing like most people.

An amazing book for all history buffs who want a relatively easy read without getting bogged down in the details of physics.  A few black-and-white pictures.  Probably for older kids although my 9 year old loves the story.  It goes into just a bit of detail of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Highly recommended!