The Bastard Brigade
From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes the gripping, untold story of a renegade group of scientists and spies determined to keep Adolf Hitler from obtaining the ultimate prize: a nuclear bombScientists have always kept secrets. But rarely have the secrets been as vital as they were during World War II. In the middle of building an atomic bomb, the leaders of the Manhattan Project were alarmed to learn that Nazi Germany was far outpacing the Allies in nuclear weapons research. Hitler, with just a few pounds of uranium, would have the capability to reverse the entire D-Day operation and conquer Europe. So they assembled a rough and motley crew of geniuses - dubbed the Alsos Mission - and sent them careening into Axis territory to spy on, sabotage, and even assassinate members of Nazi Germany's feared Uranium Club.The details of the mission rival the finest spy thriller, but what makes this story sing is the incredible cast of characters-both heroes and rogues alike-including:Moe Berg the major league catcher who abandoned the game for a career as a multilingual international spy; the strangest fellow to ever play professional baseball.Werner Heisenberg the Nobel Prize-winning physicist credited as the discoverer of quantum mechanics; a key contributor to the Nazi's atomic bomb project and the primary target of the Alsos mission.Colonel Boris Pash a high school science teacher and veteran of the Russian Revolution who fled the Sovit Union with a deep disdain for Communists and who later led the Alsos mission.Joe Kennedy Jr. the charismatic, thrill-seeking older brother of JFK whose need for adventure led him to volunteer for the most dangerous missions the Navy had to offer.Samuel Goudsmit a washed-up physics prodigy who spent his life huntinh Nazi scientist-and his parents, who had been swept into a concentration camp-across the globe.Irène and Frederic Joliot-Curie a physics Nobel-Prize winning power couple who used their unassuming status as scientists to become active members of the resistance.Thrust into the dark world of international espionage, these scientists and soldiers played a vital and largely untold role in turning back one of the darkest tides in human history.

The Bastard Brigade Details

TitleThe Bastard Brigade
Author
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN-139780316381680
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Science, War, World War II

The Bastard Brigade Review

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting, wide-ranging story of the development of nuclear physics and the bomb before and during WWII, and the Alsos mission to stop the Nazi development of atomic bombs.Review to come!Initial post: Woohoo, I just got a hardback ARC! Sam Kean wrote the amazing Caesar's Last Breath and I was absolutely delighted when the publisher offered me his latest book!Now I just have to keep my husband (a WWII buff) from stealing this one until I'm done. :)
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Magnificent book on the crossroads of science and historyThere are the occasional science/history books, that when I reach the end, I go, "Oh no, I want more." The Bastard Brigade is one of those books. I loved it. Sam Kean is a wonderful science writer and this book is exactly what I expect in great science writing: lots of biographical and historical content, well-explained science, and a good sense of humor. Considering the subject matter, the fact that Kean can use humor attests to his skill Magnificent book on the crossroads of science and historyThere are the occasional science/history books, that when I reach the end, I go, "Oh no, I want more." The Bastard Brigade is one of those books. I loved it. Sam Kean is a wonderful science writer and this book is exactly what I expect in great science writing: lots of biographical and historical content, well-explained science, and a good sense of humor. Considering the subject matter, the fact that Kean can use humor attests to his skills as a writer. Kudos also to Kevin Cannon for his excellent illustrations. The on-line notes and photographs are another bonus and are worth a look. This book is a must read for everyone interested in history, regardless of their science background.Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes.
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  • Thomas Edmund
    January 1, 1970
    By Kean's own admission B***** Brigade is a departure from his usual style, being a more focused A to B story. Although is some respects the story is much like the Brigade, an intriguing whole pieced together from bits and pieces all over. It's hard to explain, the story isn't a straightforward tale of a crack team thrown together for a challenging task, but more of a compilation of the various missions and people associated with the Nazi Nuclear Bomb project. That's not to say the book was dire By Kean's own admission B***** Brigade is a departure from his usual style, being a more focused A to B story. Although is some respects the story is much like the Brigade, an intriguing whole pieced together from bits and pieces all over. It's hard to explain, the story isn't a straightforward tale of a crack team thrown together for a challenging task, but more of a compilation of the various missions and people associated with the Nazi Nuclear Bomb project. That's not to say the book was directionless, in fact it was an amazing journey across all corners of the globe with all manner of characters, from Joe Kennedy, to Heisenberg, and many others involved with atomic research. What I particularly liked about the book is that Kean managed to contain what could have been a huge tome, dealing with WWII, with insight, sensitivity, value and (at appropriate times) humour. I'm not much of a history buff, but I found B***** Brigade followable and inspiring to keep learning more. Another highlight was Kean's discussion of the unusual relationship of German soldiers to the regime and the rest of the world. There is a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty on this topic, whether the so called 'Uranium Club' purposefully put road blocks in the way of the project because they were against the Nazi Regime, or did they just fail at their task and want to put a positive spin after Germany was defeated? I must confess a bias, I did receive a free review copy of B***** Brigade, as I did Kean's last book and I just think the author and his books are brilliant as a baseline so you're unlikely to hear much criticism from me on anything by Kean!
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    The Bastard Brigade: The True Story of the Plot to Stop the Nazi Atomic Bomb was a surprise in a number of ways. In spite of my interest in WWII, I wasn't sure if this one would be a winner for me. There is some physics involved, which made me a bit leery, but Sam Kean keeps it simple even for the layman, and the oddball (and totally real) characters involved are fascinating examples of all the strengths and flaws human beings can exhibit. from description: From New York Times bestselling author The Bastard Brigade: The True Story of the Plot to Stop the Nazi Atomic Bomb was a surprise in a number of ways. In spite of my interest in WWII, I wasn't sure if this one would be a winner for me. There is some physics involved, which made me a bit leery, but Sam Kean keeps it simple even for the layman, and the oddball (and totally real) characters involved are fascinating examples of all the strengths and flaws human beings can exhibit. from description: From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes the gripping, untold story of a renegade group of scientists and spies determined to keep Adolf Hitler from obtaining the ultimate prize: a nuclear bomb.Some of the information was already familiar to me because I've read a lot of WWII nonfiction, but not in the same detail. I knew about the attempts to sabotage the Venmorck Heavy Water facility in Norway to prevent the Germans from gaining access to heavy water for nuclear experiments, but not how many on died on the original British attempt or any details about Operation Grouse and the unbelievable hardships of the Norwegian team. I knew about Marie Curie, but not that she was asked not to attend the ceremony for her second Nobel Prize for moral reasons--because after the death of her husband, she was having an affair with a married scientist. She attended anyway. And I had no idea about her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie and her husband Frederick Joliot-Curie's experiments, their connection to heavy water, and Frederick's work with the Resistance. I knew about Moe Berg, the baseball catcher turned spy, but not about the details of his career and that during baseball's off seasons, he attended the Sorbonne and graduated from Princeton and Columbia Law School. Casey Stengel called him "the strangest man ever to play baseball." I knew almost nothing about the scientists involved other than the most famous names, but all of these men and women came alive as real people, not just historical footnotes. Although I had some quibbles about the author insertions in parentheticals or italics, the book was easy to read, fascinating, and informative. Many missions failed or missed, and the book doesn't present any of these individuals as comic book heroes or paragons, many of them had no background in clandestine activities and were eccentric in one way or another, but each one played a vital role in helping prevent Germany achieving nuclear power. Read in May. Blog review scheduled for June 23.NetGalley/Little, Brown, & CoNonfiction/WWII. July 9, 2019. Print length: 464 pages.
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  • Collette
    January 1, 1970
    I heard an interview with the author on Science Friday and ordered the book immediately. Wow, I started reading it this morning and I can barely put it down. The subtitle is completely, accurately descriptive, it's packed with physics, war, spies, fascinating characters, history--this a GREAT read with snark, adventure, intrigue, war, suspense and drama. It's exceptionally well written dealing with the science without condescension or confusion and the real-life individuals come across as humans I heard an interview with the author on Science Friday and ordered the book immediately. Wow, I started reading it this morning and I can barely put it down. The subtitle is completely, accurately descriptive, it's packed with physics, war, spies, fascinating characters, history--this a GREAT read with snark, adventure, intrigue, war, suspense and drama. It's exceptionally well written dealing with the science without condescension or confusion and the real-life individuals come across as humans with "souls and elbows". The short chapters make it easy to pick back up when you find a few minutes to sneak in a quick read and makes it well suited to summer reading on the beach, porch, picnic, on a bench on your lunch break. Stop reading this review now and buy a copy or get your name on the wait list at your library.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Great read! Real-life spy story and science book rolled together in one. I loved learning about the talented Moe Berg--baseball player and spy, about nuclear physics, about Joe Kennedy Jr and the crazy spy operations implemented to disrupt the Nazi atomic bomb project. And thank you for telling readers about Lise Meitner, the female nuclear physicist who first understood what nuclear fission was, even if she never received credit from the Nobel Committee for her discovery. I recommend it!
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  • Tish
    January 1, 1970
    Great story about WWII and the chase to develop the Atomic Bomb. While the Americans had their Manhattan Project, the Nazis had their Uranium Club. The story follows the exploits of the world’s top physicists, along with an interesting cast of characters who try to find them and destroy their work. Well written, fast paced. Great story!
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  • Katrina Christiansen
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fanstastic read. WWII is always so tragic but there was something inspiring about human ingenuity and the allied forces working together that made me feel inspired. Theses stories are incredible and I am so glad I learned of them.
  • Hen
    January 1, 1970
    Fast moving account of ww2 atomic spies who were real characters. Some technical issues with scientific explanations detracted somewhat, but overall a fresh look at the ultimately unfounded allied worries about German atomic program.
  • Eric Sullenberger
    January 1, 1970
    I might be a little biased because I love Sam Kean's other books, I love physics and science in general, and because he indirectly mentions meaning me in the introduction to this book but I LOVE this book. To get it out of the way, he mentioned in the introduction to his book that he's often asked that talks when he's going to write a book about physics, since that was one of his majors in college. I am one of those people who ask them that question oh, having done so when I saw him go talk at t I might be a little biased because I love Sam Kean's other books, I love physics and science in general, and because he indirectly mentions meaning me in the introduction to this book but I LOVE this book. To get it out of the way, he mentioned in the introduction to his book that he's often asked that talks when he's going to write a book about physics, since that was one of his majors in college. I am one of those people who ask them that question oh, having done so when I saw him go talk at the seco conference in Columbus Ohio a few years ago.Anyway, this finally is a story about physics even if it's about the area or physics and chemistry drastically over lab in their study of the atom. The tale of the American efforts to build the atomic bomb has been told so many times that there is very little to add to it, unless maybe some still classified documents were to be declassified and released. This book reminds me a lot of Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, except it is written for adults. Not that there's anything explicit in this book, it's just that the entertainment level is way up is the background knowledge that as soon as you have is a little higher than a YA novel, and the focus is solely on the allied effort to stop moving German effort to make a nuclear bomb. There is little on the making of the American nuclear bomb or on Russia's attempts to steal the plans from the Americans or German scientist.This book is also a lot of history, since it is Sam Kean's first attempt to tell a narrative rather than discrete short stories. He definitely has skill there, and I could see you this story being adapted into a Hollywood movie. Having brushed up by reading a lot about the Apollo program this summer at the 50th anniversary of the 11 Mission as well as watching numerous documentaries- it is interesting to seeing here the German rocket program a V weapons coming up again. Although this book is not quite the casual listen that Kean's other books are nor is it white as engaging in page-turning it is still a wonderful book.
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  • Sarah Ewald
    January 1, 1970
    OMG. I was blown away by this book. Could not put it down. At 464 pages, (420 of actual story), it is a weighty book, but I sped through it. I learned about WWII in high school and I have read several books about the war, but this went way beyond whatever what I thought I knew. Scientists during the war were on the cusp of learning about the nuclear world and its awful implications, and many in the US were deathly worried that the Germans would be ahead of their research and eclipse the US with OMG. I was blown away by this book. Could not put it down. At 464 pages, (420 of actual story), it is a weighty book, but I sped through it. I learned about WWII in high school and I have read several books about the war, but this went way beyond whatever what I thought I knew. Scientists during the war were on the cusp of learning about the nuclear world and its awful implications, and many in the US were deathly worried that the Germans would be ahead of their research and eclipse the US with the 'bomb.' Alsos, an organization that was loosely regulated by the government save a few (thus the name of the book as bastards), was a group of renegade scientists determined to find out where the Germans were in their research and to sabotage their developments and, if needed to assassinate members of their 'Uranium Club.' Some of the unlikely members were Moe Berg, a major league catcher with a curiosity for languages and sciences; Colonel Boris Pash, a high school science teacher with a deep hatred of communism, Joe Kennedy, Jr., of the Kennedy family who volunteered for one of the most dangerous flights in mission to destroy a German launch site (later proven to be false), a mission from which he didn't return; Samual Goudsmit, a physics prodigy whose family disappeared in the Nazi horrors, and Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie, physic scientists in nuclear research who joined in the resistance. One of the subjects of the Alsos search was Werner Heisenberg, who was a key scientist in the Nazi's atomic bomb project. Any one of the different missions in this book would be worthy of a movie treatment, and including them all would probably be a Ken Burns documentary.
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  • Jeffrey Ogden Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    Exciting and fascinating book about WW2. The 5-star rating recognizes both its content and pacing: the author gathers from so many sources and stitches together the most exciting bits, yet maintaining the atomic thread throughout. Some of the chapters may seem a bit helter-skelter, and some transitions abrupt, but that reflects the wartime chaos that he constantly references -- and it allows him to focus on the juicy bits. Most every reader will find lots of new nuggets among the general history Exciting and fascinating book about WW2. The 5-star rating recognizes both its content and pacing: the author gathers from so many sources and stitches together the most exciting bits, yet maintaining the atomic thread throughout. Some of the chapters may seem a bit helter-skelter, and some transitions abrupt, but that reflects the wartime chaos that he constantly references -- and it allows him to focus on the juicy bits. Most every reader will find lots of new nuggets among the general history of the war. What particularly strikes me is the chaos of the "mopping up" liminal spaces between war and peace, and the opportunities to be seized therein, if you know where and how to look. The author also helps us recognize the frantic state of mind at the time -- we know now what happened, but in the midst of the crisis, we knew what COULD happen, which was frightening. True leadership makes those decisions about priorities. The author also strikes a good balance with the need to fight, and the terror unleashed by atomic fission -- he did not use the famouse Oppenheimer quote from the Bhagavad Gita, but I guess we all know that by now. Spoiler alert: the nazis never got close to making an atomic bomb. (But, as in the author's closing paragraphs, we'll never know if they failed because of incompetence or because of Allied sabotage)
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  • Dennis Hogan
    January 1, 1970
    Finished The Bastard Brigade: The True Story of the Renegade Scientists and Spies Who Sabotaged the Nazi Atomic Bomb by Sam Kean. The name of the book is a bit misleading. This book is a comprehensive look at Allied efforts to prevent Hitler from developing atomic weapons. It was a “virtual team” rather than a specific military brigade that impeded the Nazi’s. German scientists had a two-year head start over the American Manhattan Project, which led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Finished The Bastard Brigade: The True Story of the Renegade Scientists and Spies Who Sabotaged the Nazi Atomic Bomb by Sam Kean. The name of the book is a bit misleading. This book is a comprehensive look at Allied efforts to prevent Hitler from developing atomic weapons. It was a “virtual team” rather than a specific military brigade that impeded the Nazi’s. German scientists had a two-year head start over the American Manhattan Project, which led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Allies feared attack by V rockets with “dirty bombs” until close to the end of WW2. There are lots of very interesting characters including a multilingual Major League Catcher, Moe Berg, Irène (daughter of Madame Curie) & Fredric Joliot-Curie, the British commando’s who destroyed Nazi heavy water, the German atomic team; Joe Kennedy Jr’s doomed bombing mission is mentioned as well. The hidden gem in the book is the explanation of the physics of nuclear fission in layman’s terms.
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  • Todd
    January 1, 1970
    Kean gets the balance of science, history, and story telling about as right as you can in this excellent account of the Allies efforts to disrupt the building of a Nazi nuke. The Nazis ultimately did not come all that close to building a weapon and most of the Allies efforts to disrupt their attempts had little to no effect, so this story is mostly about the "fog of war" and the long term implications of small decisions. Neither side had an accurate account of the enemy's nuclear progress and if Kean gets the balance of science, history, and story telling about as right as you can in this excellent account of the Allies efforts to disrupt the building of a Nazi nuke. The Nazis ultimately did not come all that close to building a weapon and most of the Allies efforts to disrupt their attempts had little to no effect, so this story is mostly about the "fog of war" and the long term implications of small decisions. Neither side had an accurate account of the enemy's nuclear progress and if the Nazis had gone with graphite instead of heavy water as their preferred method of neutron moderation, history could have unfolded very differently. Many of the names in The Bastard Brigade will be familiar (Heisenberg, Fermi) but the most central players here are likely to be new to most readers. Great stuff and highly recommended.
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  • Gayle Noble
    January 1, 1970
    The book tells the stories of the many people involved in the mission to sabotage Hitler's plan to build an atomic bomb, including the ex-baseball player Moe Berg, Joseph Kennedy Jr (brother of JFK), and scientist Samuel Goldsmit. This is obviously a well-researched book, there was a lot of densely packed information not only about the war, but about the science involved in building an atomic bomb. I did find it a bit heavy going at times, but it was a worthwhile read. I definitely learned thing The book tells the stories of the many people involved in the mission to sabotage Hitler's plan to build an atomic bomb, including the ex-baseball player Moe Berg, Joseph Kennedy Jr (brother of JFK), and scientist Samuel Goldsmit. This is obviously a well-researched book, there was a lot of densely packed information not only about the war, but about the science involved in building an atomic bomb. I did find it a bit heavy going at times, but it was a worthwhile read. I definitely learned things I didn't know before about WW2 and the Allies. It did take me a while to read it but that was for personal reasons rather than anything to do with the book itself. Overall it was an interesting read and I would recommend it anyone interested in behind-the-scenes WW2 exploits. Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Hodder & Stoughton, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing and very interesting book. This is a cross between science and espionage. During World War II, Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany had an idea to develop the atomic bomb and had some German scientists, known as the Uranium Club to work on the project. Of course, it never happened. The Allies formed a group of misfitted scientists and saboteurs and sent them on a mission, known as the Alsos mission behind enemy lines to disrupt and sabotage their efforts, even assassinate members of Nazi Germ An amazing and very interesting book. This is a cross between science and espionage. During World War II, Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany had an idea to develop the atomic bomb and had some German scientists, known as the Uranium Club to work on the project. Of course, it never happened. The Allies formed a group of misfitted scientists and saboteurs and sent them on a mission, known as the Alsos mission behind enemy lines to disrupt and sabotage their efforts, even assassinate members of Nazi Germany's Uranium club. for those who enjoy science and espionage, I highly recommend this book. On a side note: the United States developed and used the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan, Can you imagine if the Allies didn't succeed in the Alsos mission and Germany developed the atomic bomb and used it on the Allies?
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  • Monika Landy-Gyebnar
    January 1, 1970
    Being an A-bomb science-history fan I read anything related to this topic. This one was a bad decision, not just because it didn't add much to what I already knew, but because the science part of the book was really lazy. Sometimes I simply felt that the author wrote it to preschool kids. I guess it would have been a lot better if the story had became a novel as it was written in a rather entertaining mood and the author has the vein for adding fictional details to otherwise well known stories ( Being an A-bomb science-history fan I read anything related to this topic. This one was a bad decision, not just because it didn't add much to what I already knew, but because the science part of the book was really lazy. Sometimes I simply felt that the author wrote it to preschool kids. I guess it would have been a lot better if the story had became a novel as it was written in a rather entertaining mood and the author has the vein for adding fictional details to otherwise well known stories (e.g. climbing the icy rocks at Vemork), but these fictional details make me think about other parts of the story: how much of it was based on documents and how much was added by the author's fantasy? It lacks what I'd expect from someone who has a degree in physics.
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  • Chris Miller
    January 1, 1970
    I heard the author interviewed on NPR's Science Friday and had to get the book. It is a nice compendium of the German Nuclear and Rocket Programs during WWII. In some areas, it seems derivative of History Channel, Nova, and other programs that have covered similar territory, but having them together in a compelling, interesting package that is well done and readable is wonderful. He also has several drawings throughout that show and explains complex issues in the text. He has no citations in the I heard the author interviewed on NPR's Science Friday and had to get the book. It is a nice compendium of the German Nuclear and Rocket Programs during WWII. In some areas, it seems derivative of History Channel, Nova, and other programs that have covered similar territory, but having them together in a compelling, interesting package that is well done and readable is wonderful. He also has several drawings throughout that show and explains complex issues in the text. He has no citations in the book and the ones on his web site are more chatty insights than aimed at digging deeper into the issue. In spite of this, I enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
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  • Garry Duncan
    January 1, 1970
    I heard the author interviewed on a recent Science Friday podcast and was intrigued. The book did not disappoint. It concerns the true story of the race between Germany and the Allies to develop a nuclear weapon. It’s an original story, fast paced, providing interesting personal backgrounds on the characters and is very informative on the physics. Some of the mental images were quite memorable. Although the book is fairly lightweight and some of the opinions a bit disparaging, it evidences a lot I heard the author interviewed on a recent Science Friday podcast and was intrigued. The book did not disappoint. It concerns the true story of the race between Germany and the Allies to develop a nuclear weapon. It’s an original story, fast paced, providing interesting personal backgrounds on the characters and is very informative on the physics. Some of the mental images were quite memorable. Although the book is fairly lightweight and some of the opinions a bit disparaging, it evidences a lot of research and overall it is an entertaining and worthwhile read. I finished it in a few days.
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  • Ed R.
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting story about why the Germans failed to develop an Atomic bomb in WWIIThis is a fascinating story about the Nazi attempts to develop an Atomic bomb and the American attempts to subvert their efforts. As a retired physicist, I am familiar with many of the characters in the book, but the way the author weaves their stories together is absolutely first class. I first learned about the book from a review in the scientific journal Science, and they also highly recommended the book.
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  • Sally
    January 1, 1970
    I have loved all of Sam Kean's books, and this is no exception. Really interesting story about the efforts to prevent Nazi atomic weaponry. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in science history and/or WWII history.I must admit the endnotes were what made me fall in love with Kean's previous books, so if anyone else was completely enchanted with the endnote sections of his other books, fair warning this one doesn't have any endnotes. My only disappointment with this book, but since som I have loved all of Sam Kean's books, and this is no exception. Really interesting story about the efforts to prevent Nazi atomic weaponry. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in science history and/or WWII history.I must admit the endnotes were what made me fall in love with Kean's previous books, so if anyone else was completely enchanted with the endnote sections of his other books, fair warning this one doesn't have any endnotes. My only disappointment with this book, but since some people hate endnotes anyway, perhaps this is just a further selling point!
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  • Joe Spoto
    January 1, 1970
    After hearing the author featured on the Science Friday podcast I wanted to read this book. It turned out to be one of the best non-fiction books that I have read in quite a long time. The various scientists and agents were all interesting characters and the author does a good job of weaving them all together. For anyone interested in a novel about the Heavy water plant, which is covered in this book, The Saboteur by Andrew Gross was very enjoyable.
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  • Tracey
    January 1, 1970
    I've read quite a bit about the development of "the bomb" in the U.S. during WWII, but hadn't read much about the spies and scientists who tried to keep Germany from developing it first. Written in a captivating narrative style, and the descriptions of the physics involved was at a level that even this reader--whose latest foray into atoms and neutrons, etc., was about 40 years ago in high school physics--could follow.
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  • Scott Miller
    January 1, 1970
    Great book about the race to develop and atomic bomb in WWII, and the characters involved. The stories of the individual characters are fascinating, and show that history is really made up of such individual stories. I read the book in just two days- it was a fun read!I found the simple drawings in the book explaining nuclear fission very interesting- I don't think I really understood it until I read this book. A good book for liberal arts majors like me.
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  • Bob Sonday
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent read. Well paced historical novel. Found out details I was unaware of.Author makes science easy to understand when he could have gone way over my head.Tidbits of humor interjected into his writing style.E-mailed author to compliment him on book and response was quick !Will definitely read his other works.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to imagine these stories haven’t been told together yet. Pretty amazing stories of science and espionage with cameos from Marie Curie, Winston Churchill, and a young JFK. Well timed with the release of the ‘catcher was a spy’ movie as Moe Berg was a major storyline here, I guess I’ll have to go see it now.
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  • Scott
    January 1, 1970
    Another fun book by Sam Kean. It's a real-life thriller. And it has all these James Bond moments that make me realize how much it's based on what actually happened. It was interesting learning about how advanced the German nuclear research really was, and how much uncertainty (Heisenberg!) drives so many of our decisions.
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  • Ezeozue Chidube
    January 1, 1970
    If you like Physics and WW2 history, you'll love this book. I was reminded of the basics of nuclear physics with very accessible language interspersed with Robert Ludlum-esque action scenes.I learned so much about the scientists whose names are mentioned in passing in textbooks before mostly focusing on their contributions. I enjoyed hearing about the personal life of these scientists.
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  • Hans U
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing revelations about the individuals who risked their lives to sabotage fission research in Nazi Germany. German physicists, notably Werner Heisenberg, realized early that uranium could be used to develop an A-bomb. Such attempts had to be stopped by any means necessary. This book not only describes what the spies did but also how fission works. I found it fascinating and hard to put down.
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  • Donna Luu
    January 1, 1970
    Having recently read up on the atomic bomb, this was a great addition with really interesting stories. It was a little hard to keep track of all the players as the chapters went back and forth, but I guess that was the only way to keep things in chronological order.
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