A superb tale of an era and an effort that forever changed our world.

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In late December 1938, German chemist Otto Hahn discovered that uranium atoms could be split, and just a few months later the race to build an atomic bomb was on.

The story unfolds in three parts, covering American attempts to build the bomb, how the Soviets tried to steal American designs and how the Americans tried to keep the Germans from building a bomb. It was the eve of World War II, and the fate of the world was at stake, “[b]ut how was a theoretical physicist supposed to save the world?” It’s a true spy thriller, ranging from the football stadium at the University of Chicago to the mountains of Norway, from the deserts of New Mexico to laboratories in East Tennessee, and all along the way spies in the United States were feeding sensitive information to the KGB. Groups of photographs are sprinkled throughout the volume, offering just enough visual support for the splendid character development in the writing, and thorough documentation is provided in the backmatter. It takes a lot of work to make a complicated subject clear and exciting, and from his prodigious research and storytelling skill, Sheinkin has created a nonfiction story young people will want to read.

A superb tale of an era and an effort that forever changed our world. (source notes, quotation notes, acknowledgments, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59643-487-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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"Illustrated books are a natural extension of [the] African oral tradition'' of storytelling, writes Caldecott Award–winning artist Tom Feelings. Here, in 64 powerful black-and-white paintings—some of them harshly realistic, others nightmarishly phantasmagoric—this noted artist tells a neglected part of the story of African-American slavery: the cruel journey known as "the middle passage,'' in which millions, perhaps tens of millions, of Africans died before ever reaching American shores. The soft edges of Feelings's art, the blended grays of his palette, do nothing to mute the violence that permeates these images: the bowed bodies of captured Africans being led away under the whip; rows and rows and rows of bodies crammed side by side, shackled together, in dark, filthy holds beneath deck; the agony of a man remembering a baby viciously murdered. Feelings's purpose here, however, is not vengeful but cathartic. Through remembering and understanding the sources of their continuing pain, he believes that Africans can turn the chains of bondage into "spiritual links that willingly bind us together now and into the future... whether living inside or outside of the continent of Africa.''

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-8037-1804-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1995

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Strewn with minutely detailed cityscapes, cutaway views, and interiors, this hefty urban study recaptures the architectural glories of two great cities in their heydays, with as much specific information as assignment-driven readers or browsers could want. In a substantial text providing plenty of historical background, aided by a blizzard of sharp, full-color photos of artifacts and classical art, Connolly (Pompeii, 1990) and Dodge examine both cities’ major and minor buildings, from Bronze Age remnants through the aftermath of the Persian War (for Athens) and the great fire of a.d. 64. (for Rome), also describing government, legal systems, religious ceremonies, theater and other public amusements, fashion, daily life for people of all classes, food, water, and waste disposal. More debatable or speculative reconstructions are noted as such. Equally suited to casual readers or serious study, this takes a giant step past the Eyewitness-filled cheap seats and even beyond David Macaulay territory. (maps, diagrams, glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-19-521409-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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