'Bomb' by Steve Sheinkin

In the summer of 1945, President Truman was tired of war. The European war had ended in May, but the Japanese were still holding on in the Pacific. The Japanese had been losing the war, but did not want to accept the American conditions for surrender. The result was that Japan was starving, but still fighting. The decision to use the atomic bomb on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9 was one filled with contention, and left the world irrevocably changed.

The race to Cover of Bomb by Steve Sheinkinmake these weapons was one filled with intrigue; the development of the bomb was filled with attempted kidnappings, bombings, and scientists acting as spies to give information to the Soviet Union. If it weren’t all meticulously documented, it could be confused with a plot in a John le Carré novel or a James Bond movie. 

Bomb, by Steve Sheinkin, covers the story of the atomic bomb, from its inception to the decision to use them that fateful August. Sheinkin profiles the confluence of events that led to having the world’s best allied scientists living in a school compound in New Mexico for two years, and the spies that were working with (and against) them. The author does not comment on whether or not the United States should have used the bomb, instead he talks about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and what that means for the world today. But, for those who have never heard this story, this is a fantastic place to start.

Interested in learning more about the use of the bomb? John Hersey’s Hiroshima is an in depth examination of what the city went through on Aug. 6. You can learn more about Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, or any of the other major players by coming into the library.

-- Cynthia Vrabel