The Bomb: Brief Book Review

The message to Soviet leaders was clear. If the Soviets were going to get an atomic bomb any time in the near future, they were going to have to steal it.

Reading is a difficult habit to cultivate. If my brain had its way I’d sooner be watching YouTube or playing video games than digging into a book. Rarely do I find reading a joy in itself.

That was until Bomb, which untangles the game of spies that surrounded the race to build the atomic bomb. The United Kingdom needs it. America and Germany want to build it. And Russia is prepared to steal it.

Just like a James Bond thriller, Bomb takes you on a globe-trotting adventure from the doors of the Oval Office, to the mountainous Norwegian snowscape, to a top secret New Mexico laboratory working day and night to create the first weapon of mass destruction. The fact that it’s a true story only adds to the drama.

The author, Steve Sheinkin, works hard to tell his stories from the perspective of someone on the ground. For example, he doesn’t just list the number of ships and people that were lost during the bombing of Pearl Harbour. He places us inside the head of an American ship worker noticing the drone of oncoming planes, recognising Japan’s rising sun insignia in horror, and witnessing the death and destruction that follows. The purist historian might turn their noses at such subjective storytelling, but I’m more than happy to compromise historical accuracy with a rip-roaring tale that invests its readers.

Bomb is informative, accessible and entertaining, while giving insight into one of the most important times in human history. A good place to start for anyone looking to fall back in love with reading.