Wednesday, May 22, 2013

[Book Review] BOMB by Steve Sheinkin

Nonfiction/History/Young Adult

Dean reviews BOMB: THE RACE TO BUILD--AND STEAL--THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS WEAPON by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook Press, 2012)

Developing the atom bomb is without doubt one of the greatest scientific world-changing events. This fascinating account of that world-changing development adds high level espionage to the story.  It is set in the historic time period before, during, and at the end of World War II. Providing enough detail to keep the reader engaged, it moves at a fast pace. One can readily agree with the various selection committees who have distinguished this book with multiple awards.  It has four awards to date. These are: National Book Award finalist, YALSA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction, The Robert F. Seibert Medal, and Newbery Honor Book.

Sheinkin writes with a reading ease and attention-grabbing style.  Even though this title is nonfiction, it easily crosses into the narrative mystery fiction genre.  As indicated by the YALSA Award, the target audience is young adult readers.  It deserves to be recognized as excellent both as YA and as adult non-fiction.  The author takes the intrigue of international espionage and relates a down-to-earth account of closely guarded military secrecy.

The plot is a historical account of the building of an enormously powerful weapon we know as the atomic bomb.  It describes scientific discoveries and those who made them. It follows the international community's involvement in making those discoveries. Then it provides the historical development and deployment that came from those breakthroughs.
If you like mystery and intrigue this is a great read.  If you are fascinated by WWII this is a must read.  If you enjoy stories of international espionage you will not be disappointed by this work.

Dean Moore, Frayser Branch Library

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