I just finished reading Bomb: The Race to Build -and Steal- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steven Sheinkin. Maybe it's just me, but every time I told somebody what book I was reading at the moment I would think of Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents when he is on the plane and goes on his "Bomb" monologue. That clip is comical. Bomb the book isn't comical but it is an entertaining and fascinating read that I highly suggest.
I would give Bomb 5 out of 5 stars. Seriously, it is a great read, and it is even non-fiction. For those non-library type people non-fiction means it's true. I'm usually not a non-fiction type reader, but a good well written non-fiction book is always suggested to anyone and everyone. This book will be one of those books. Lincoln: A Photobiography, and Children of the Dust Bowl are other non-fiction books I love. However, I think this book is an even more entertaining of a read. Seriously, it's fabulous, and deserves all 5 stars. Plus, it was a Newbery Honor book this year, as well as all of those other medals on the book. It's a well decorated book for a good reason.
Bomb has three main characters that you follow along. You come to know them and care about them. This book has plenty of action, and it is all around fascinating. I found myself sharing what I learned with several people. Plus, I was able to have great discussions about World War II with people. My grandpa worked in communications during the war. He took all of the Morse Code telegrams. There was a part in the book that talked about morse code, and I learned that every person that sends a telegram has a signature/style of sorts. It makes sense, but I had no idea. I talked with my grandpa about this and asked if that was the case. He told me it was, and that there was a guy in Colombia that would send them messages (he was in Panama during the start of the war) that was perfect and incredibly precise. My gpa said he was so impressed with that guy.
Bomb ends up following three characters throughout the story to tell this fascinating book. You have Robert Oppenheimer who was the "Father of the Atomic Bombl," Harry Gold who was a Soviet Spy, and Knut Haukelid who was a Norwegian who was constantly trying to sabotage the Germans. As a result of reading this book I learned more about the importance the atomic bomb played. I always knew we bombed Japan, but I didn't know there was such a race to build the atomic bomb.
Bomb is such a well written historical book that you will find yourself enthralled with the characters and the story as much as a fiction book. Steve Sheinkin used to write history textbooks, but he is now writing enthralling historical non-fiction books. Sheinkin is talented, and I am pretty sure if all history textbooks were as interesting as this book teachers would've had no problem getting me reading the textbooks.
For those parents out there this is a clean book for upper elementary school. If you have an advanced reader interested in non-fiction than you could have a 4th grader read it, but I would say 5th grade and up. It is geared to kids and teenagers but adults will love this book just as much.
Amazon had the following book review:
"Harry Gold was right: This is a big story." So begins this depiction of the "creation-and theft-of the deadliest weapon ever invented." As he did in The Notorious Benedict Arnold (Roaring Brook, 2010), Sheinkin has again brought his superior talent for storytelling to bear in what is truly a gripping account of discovery, espionage, and revolutionary changes in both physics and the modern world. This fascinating tale, packed with a wide cast of characters, focuses mainly on three individuals: spy for the Soviets Harry Gold, leader of the Manhattan Project J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Knut Haukelid, who sabotaged German bomb efforts while working for the Norwegian resistance. Sheinkin skillfully combines lucid, conversational snapshots of the science behind the atomic bomb with a fast-paced narrative of the remarkable people who made it possible and attempted to steal it. Handsomely designed and loaded with archival photos and primary-source documents, the accessible volume lays out how the bomb was envisioned and brought to fruition. While the historical information and hard facts presented here will likely be new to the intended audience, they in no way overwhelm readers or detract from the thoroughly researched, well-documented account. It reads like an international spy thriller, and that's the beauty of it.-Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC,"
Overall, Bomb is a wonderful book for boys and girls alike as well as the young and the old. This book is worth everyone's time b/c you will not only learn a lot, but you'll love the adventure you are on while you read it.
My next book: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. I'm so excited!