So, finally, last week, I had Bomb once again sitting in my library pile on my bookshelf. I headed out to my patio to start it. And I did. And then I put it down. And then I picked it back up. So much stuff about physics! So many characters to keep track of! Where was the spy novel stuff people always talked about? Was I going to be able to read this? I'll be honest, I wasn't sure. I put it down for about 5 days and read a different book, then I went to my aunt and uncle's lake house for the weekend. Then I realized, I didn't want to send this book back to the library again! This book was becoming my White Whale (Seinfeld reference, anyone?)
So, yesterday, I picked it up again. And guess what, about 70 pages in I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! I have read a lot of middle grade, YA, and adult fiction about World War II. But this is a perspective I had never learned much about. I was amazed at the lengths our country went to in order to keep this project secret and keep the technology out of the hands of the Germans. The people who put their lives on the line for this project, when they didn't even really know what it was all about. The fear that everyone had about the catastrophe that would ensue if Hitler got his hands on this. The secret cities in the United States that helped ready the uranium and plutonium needed for the project. The secret missions deep in the mountains of Norway.
It's interesting to read about this time in history, obviously knowing what the outcome of the project would be. It was easy to get wrapped up in the excitement with the scientists, seeing if they could create this monstrous, feared weapon. But when they did, and at the end when they dropped it, there seemed to be a huge relief and sense of accomplishment and awe, but also a lot of sadness. Kind of...what have we done now? And that is what this book left me with. Science allowed them to create a horrible, awful thing. And we all live in a world where this now exists. I was actually amazed...and frightened...at the number of atomic bombs that are currently held in the world. Let's hope they stay wherever they are for the rest of time.
On a side note, as I said before, this book was really hard for me to read. It really made me think about the struggle kids in my classroom have with a difficult piece of text. There was so much new vocabulary and people and places I hadn't heard of. I had to do a lot of rereading and looking at dates and times in order to fully understand the book. I will definitely take this experience with me into my classroom when I see kids struggling with non-fiction.
This would be a great book to read along with The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages or Countdown by Deborah Wiles.
Have you read Bomb? I'd love to know what you think!