Bomb: The Race to Build –and Steal- The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

by Steve Sheinkin

Ages: 12 years and up (approximately grades 4 and up)

Did you know there was far more than American scientists working furiously to create the bomb that ended World War II? Following the lives of a theoretical physicist, a Soviet spy, and a secret Norwegian agent, Bomb expertly weaves the story leading up to, during, and after the creation of the world’s first atomic bomb. While keeping suspense and energy high throughout the fast-paced tale, Bomb also adequately informs readers of every aspect and angle of the race to build the atomic bomb, from the science involved in an atomic explosion, to the planning and execution of a top-secret mission, and more. Filled with espionage, sabotage, suspense, and revolution, Bomb exploded into the scene in 2012, earning it many starred reviews, awards, and honors in the years to follow, most notably a 2013 Newberry Honor and a 2015 Caudill Nomination. Don’t let its nonfiction status throw you: this narrative history of the worldwide arms race to build the first atomic bomb reads just like any science fiction thriller set in a war-torn country with humanity’s very survival at stake. What makes Bomb all the more thrilling than any other novel out there? The story is completely true.

Using a narrative approach to tell this dynamic story, Steve Sheinkin, master of the nonfiction craft, makes Bomb (and all of his other books, too) read not like your text book’s nonfiction, but like a suspenseful crime novel that you can’t wait to finish. Peppered with photographs, maps, quotations, letters, and diagrams, Bomb’s visual expressions are nearly as strong as its narrative, and help to set the stage for the time period and vast importance of the atomic bomb’s creation. Within the gripping tale, as well as in the epilogue and author’s afterwards, both arguments for and against the bomb’s creation are presented and give a well-rounded debate on the pros and cons of creating and wielding this weapon. Readers who are ten years old and up who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers, or have an interest in war and peace will simply devour this chronicle.

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