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Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon - Steve Sheinkin Couldn't put it down. I would like to read historians' reviews to see how they think it stacks up and what the historiography looks like. But all the quality indicators are there--meticulous documentation of primary and secondary sources; and an unusual item--a source index for all quotations. So many of the picture book authors skimp on telling about use of primary sources in their notes, and it makes the research look shallow.

Sheinkin was obviously swallowed up in this project. His narrative interweaves elements of various characters' activities in a chronologically parallel story that has the feel and style of a novel. The third person narrative helped me feel that it is more informative in nature than fictional.

The best thing about this book is that it does nothing to indict Gold, Fuchs, and Hall or to make them feel like wicked traitors. In quotations from Fuchs' discussions with his lawyer, he is clearly told that spying for a British ally carries a maximum sentence of 14 years. Sheinkin's decisions to include lines like this are remarkable, because he helps us understand that in Europe and America in that time period 1930s, 1940s, many ordinary people's emerging beliefs and understanding of global politics made them at least curious and intrigued by the Soviet Union as an alternative government. There was a clear feeling that many people were highly disappointed by the Great Depression as a major failing of US government and politics.

I was amazed to see quotations from scientists at Los Alamos who clearly decided that the Cold War and arms race was a better solution than an American monopoly on nuclear arms. Even 20 years ago, just after the collapse of Soviet communist governments, it would have been terribly difficult to write from this perspective. Sheinkin found a perfect moment to tell the story of Americans spying for the Soviets with this kind of aplomb and candor.