Kirkus Star


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For the first time, so far as I know, the internal struggle of men and women in the conquest of the atom has been presented. There have been several moving novels built around man's inward struggle, his resistance to the thing that was driving him forward to world destruction. This time the most revealing parts of the story are those which weigh the results in terms of marriages, of private lives, of homes that are broken by dedication of the scientists to the primal forces --by remoteness from the things of daily life that constitute marriage. The story revolves around two marriages- Burton Hall, an older man who is the scientific head of the project, and Molly who puts up with his foibles; and his chief assistant, young Stephen Coast, passionately in love with Helen, whose complete remoteness from his world is a delight-until he needs desperately someone to whom he can talk, during the years when the band of silence is imposed from above; and Jane, woman and scientist, to whom both men are irresistibly drawn. While names are altered, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, and so on are easily identifiable, and some of the characters take on the identities of real figures. The story builds in mounting intensity to Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- and the violence of reaction thereafter. Mrs. Buck has not only succeeded in compassing the scientific aspects of the subject, but has made us live in the minds and hearts and emotions of the people who brought it about.

Pub Date: May 4th, 1959
Publisher: John Day