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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German…

Overall Book Review:

Bomb:  The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin is a 2013 Newbery Honor Book for a good reason.  Sheinkin masterfully weaves together the different historical threads surrounding the development of the atomic bomb into a seamless narrative; a splash of physics is even incorporated into the book.  The voice and detail are spot-on for the targeted audience and included are personal details that bring the individuals to life.  The sheer number of individuals, many with foreign names, is a challenge to keep straight and organized, but it is managed.  The historical photographs included with text enrich and the short chapters maintain the pacing.  As all good non-fiction does, Sheinkin wraps up Bomb by showing how the issues are relevant to the reader today.  Highly recommended middle-grade non-fiction which even an older reader can appreciate!

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  7 religious exclamations; 8 mild obscenities; 2 derogatory names.

Violence/Gore: Report of boys hazing another boy at a summer camp; general reports on the events of World War II (bombings, battles and such); 2nd hand report of Pearl Harbor with brief mention of body parts and blood; a man is purposefully thrown overboard and presumed drowned; an accidental shooting of an individual’s foot; report of a glider crash with injuries, death, capture, executions; report of a beating (no details); report of an individual digging metal out of leg with a pocket knife; a person contemplated suicide; one chapter quotes first-person accounts of the aftermath of bombing of Hiroshima with details about devastation and injuries, with some descriptive details.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

War, Espionage, Treason, Nuclear Arms Race, Death, Ethics

Alcohol / Drug Use:

General drinking and smoking by adults.  An individual is a chain smoker.  Churchill smokes cigars.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!