Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb
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Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  658 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Trinity, the debut graphic book by the gifted illustrator Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, depicts in vivid detail the dramatic history of the race to build and the decision to drop the first atomic bomb. This sweeping historical narrative traces the spark of invention from the laboratories of nineteenth-century Europe to the massive industrial and scientific efforts of the Manhattan...more
Hardcover, 154 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Hill and Wang
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Ryan Potter
I have two history degrees and have taught social studies for 19 years. I've become a huge fan of non-fiction graphic books and graphic novels the past few years because they draw in reluctant readers in my classroom. But here's the thing about TRINITY: the book is better than a lot of adult works on the subject, and I think it comes down to the riveting pictures and writing style of the author.

TRINITY is impeccably researched and does a splendid job of retelling the story of the Manhattan Proje...more
Prior to this book I had never read a Graphic Novel. I will admit to even being a bit of a book snob, the type who thought Graphic Novels were just glorified comic books, and not real books. I read literature, I read 1000+ page classics. Graphic novels? Pshaw!

But this book has changed my opinion of Graphic Novels. I didn't know they could be this good. I didn't know they could be this emotional. I didn't know they could be this educational.

It could be that I am going through a reading binge on...more
A really good, if quick, history of the development of the atomic bomb. I don't have much in the way of prior knowledge here, and you don't really need it. There are a few names that are casually thrown out without much, if any, explanation, but those moments were few and far between. The graphic format really works well with the scientific explanations for how and why the bomb works.
Thomas Andrikus
When I came upon Trinity by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and Michael Gallagher, I thought I was going to face all those clichés found in so many other books written on the topic of Atomic Bomb, such as the horrendous effects of bombs on the residents of Hiroshima, or how the Nevada testing site was picked in the first place. Apparently, this graphic novel has proven to be much more informative than that.

It shows how the Manhattan project was conceived by key players such as President Harry Truman, Gener...more
This book is a graphic novel about the first atomic bomb being made and used during WWII. I thought it was especially interesting to read this book seeing how Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin was so good. And I think that comparing these two books would be perfect for a school class (especially one of those library school courses on Non-Fiction literature for children and teens). Just comparing similar information that is so well done in the t...more
Rick Silva
Jonathan Fetter-Vorm relates a wide-ranging history of the development of the first nuclear weapons, beginning with the early discoveries of radioactivity and nuclear forces, through the Manhattan project, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the beginnings of the nuclear arms race.

This is an ambitious book, and Fetter-Vorm moves the narrative along at a rapid pace, sprinkling in enough physics and history to get the important concepts across. The focus characters are Robert Oppenheimer,...more
"All this work, whether it's lining up dominoes or enriching uranium, builds toward one single moment: the moment when what was once impossible becomes unavoidable. In that moment the logic of the chain reaction takes over. The fire will only stop when there is nothing left to burn."
-From Trinity, page 51

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is a graphic telling of how the bombs that were released over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were released. The story starts...more
This is a very educational graphic novel. I now have an understanding of of atomic energy, nuclear fission and the process by which the nuclear arms race was begun.

The simple black and white line drawings provide great background, while not detracting from the overall experience.

It touches on the affects, military, financial, humanity and moral, of the production and use of the Atomic bomb. It gives no small insight into the minds and lives of all involved. Lastly giving food for thought on the...more
Aug 03, 2014 Lindsay rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lindsay by: Karen
Good enough while the story was being told, but I admit I starting skimming when it got a bit too far into the discussion of chemistry (c'mon, Lindsay, it even had pictures!). I was especially surprised to learn that the firebombings the Americans rained on Japan produced far more casualties than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined and that the first one, over Tokyo, killed more people within six hours "than in any equivalent period of time in the entire history of mankind." Overall, though, I have...more
A well-written and illustrated history of one of mankind's darkest times. At about 150 pages, it's a very quick read - though that doesn't make it any less harrowing. The lead-up to the creation of the first atomic bomb seems almost organic, the science pointing in that direction since Marie and Pierre Curie first discovered radioactivity; however, while scientific progress should be couched in optimism and benevolence, the backdrop of WWII gave this research a dark and dangerous air. The develo...more
Miroku Nemeth
The scientific explanations and a good portion of the history behind the creation of the atomic bomb are ingeniously rendered in graphic form. This is what earned it at least 3 stars. However, it sadly takes a turn into the worst kind of repetition of official government propaganda lines when it deals with Truman, Byrnes, and the decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fetter-Vorm has military planners, for example, choose Hiroshima because it is a "military target". Nothing could...more
Jan 18, 2014 Holly added it
Shelves: 2013-reads
Wonderful! Black-&-white drawings. An overview of the Manhattan Project (reminding readers of the roles of Oak Ridge, Univ of Chicago, UC-Berkeley, and Hanford), the science, the bomb drops on Japan, and the Cold War bomb testing. Only quibble is that the otherwise solid reading list at the back of the book doesn't cite Jennet Conant's excellent Los Alamos history, 109 East Palace.
Jennifer W
A good condensed version of what happened as the US began development on the atomic bomb. I really liked it because it easily and accessibly (I think) describes the science behind atoms and an atomic bomb. I think if you have little understanding of the Manhattan Project, this would be a great book to start with.
The art is great and the story is well-told, but about 20 pages from the end, Fetter-Vorm turns the story into a polemic. I don't have a problem with what he had to say, but it didn't fit with the tone he established throughout the rest of the book. 90% fantastic.
What is interesting about this graphic history is how much accurate and interesting information is so interestingly and accessibly presented. Fetter-Varm presents the characters and mentions the problems of conscience some of the participants had In addition he adds other works to enable a student to undertake his/her own personal further exploration at the end of the book as well as a list of the sources and inspirations which were important in helping him to complete the project.

"Trinity" pro...more
I know the story of the Manhattan Project. I grew up in the waning days of the Cold War in Southern California, surrounded by Nike bases and rocket testing facilities. But never have I seen the story of the creation of the Atomic bomb told with such a well balanced presentation of the science and social history behind the entire thing. I was impressed with the austere beauty of many of the pages. Science came alive on the pages. Oppenheimer's moral dilemma was displayed by remained as a supporti...more
Really good condensed history of Trinity, combining the drama of history and that of the individuals involved. Fetter-Vorm's drawing style isn't quite to my taste... his expressionistic tone is great for mood and montage, but I found it slightly hard to recognize individual characters (Oppenheimer, Groves, etc.) from panel to panel. It's definitely a history lesson, not aiming to be a personal story like Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen, Volume One: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima. Nevertheless, it's...more
Edward Sullivan
A good overview of the Manhattan Project but the book I wrote about it is much better, more detailed and interesting.
I picked up the book to read a few pages on a Saturday morning and I was done with the book in about an hour. As a graphic novel, it has good artwork. The recollection of execution of Manhattan Project --- how was the project managed, the science involved in fission, the design of the bombs, the difference between little boy and fat man, why was Nagasaki bombed, and how wartime decision are made --- is very interesting and informative. As always, the book also dwells on the conflict amongst scie...more
This work is devastatingly good. The drawing, and in my opinion more so the story telling, grips you as a reader.

It starts off in New Mexico with Oppenheimer (who in all honesty I thought most of the graphic novel would be centering on - but I was pleasantly wrong) and bounces around to cover the known details about the a-bomb and some insights that were not touched on in History class.

Even though you know what is coming, the final 15 or so pages unravel the story into something that melds toget...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I thought this was pretty neat. Here's an important part of U.S., no- World History that I knew little about presented in an easily understandable format. Like many of the products of schools, this is something that we barely got to. What is after (and on the fringes) of WWII apparently isn't historical enough to be history or current enough to be current events- such a shame but in many respects this is the stuff that affects us most today. Regardless of my mini-soapbox, I thought the visual fo...more
An amazing little book that focuses on the Manhattan Project and the development and dropping of the first atomic bombs on Japan and its everlasting effect on our "Brave New World."

The ethical dialogue surrounding the question whether such knowledge should even be pursued in the first place permeates this little graphic novel with a powerful "atomic" punch. Kudos for the author and artist, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, for tackling such an expansive subject and tying it all up in a neat little package...more
Glenn Zorpette
The story of the Manhattan Project, which yielded the world’s first three atomic bombs, is one of the most remarkable and gripping in all of human history. Parts of this complex saga have been told in novels, motion pictures, opera, and in countless nonfiction books. Now comes a fresh take in one of the few formats as yet new to the story.

Not many angles of this sprawling piece of history have escaped treatment. All of the major players have had biographies, in some cases more than one. The tech...more
While graphic novels are quite common in our library, graphic non-fiction books are not. While there are some excellent biographies and autobiographies told in comic format histories are rare. This is not a format that lends itself well to the telling of history and so many of the attempts to write history in a comic fall flat.

Having said that Jonathan Fetter-Vorm's Trinity is an exception to this rule. Trinity takes us inside the history of the first atomic bomb starting briefly with the birth...more
Trinity succeeds fundamentally in two ways: it makes difficult scientific concepts understandable and and complex historical events approachable.

In short, Trinity takes full advantage of the graphic novel format. The history of the first atomic bomb could have been told as a textual narrative only. That’s been done before plenty of times and I’m sure some of those accounts are excellent. A few decades ago, that’s probably the primary way students encountered the story unless they saw a video in...more
Nate Arch
Do you like complex technical and moral subjects presented to you in pictures? If so, than this is the book for you.

As someone who was once called upon to put as many bombs on target as possible, the matter of blowing up other living things is one of my very favorite topics, especially the morality (read: lack of) of it all.

This book is a wonderful encapsulation of the big moral questions raised by letting the nuclear ball out of the bag. It doesn't get down into the weeds like other books (fo...more
Oct 24, 2013 Pamela rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Katie
An extremely well-done account of the Manhattan Project, with a lot of scientific background. This would be great for STEM/STEAM work for teens--it's not really adult-adult graphic novel-ish (yes, I know that was not a proper English sentence. It's been a long day. Roll with me here).

I particularly liked Fetter-Vorm's easy-to-understand illustrations of nuclear fission, chain reactions and critical mass. It's one thing to know what they mean and what they can do, but another to see it in, say, d...more
Sara Latta
Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb (Review)

On July 16, 1945, a fireball 600 feet wide exploded in the sky above a top-secret site in New Mexico bearing the code-name Trinity. Years later, the chief architect behind the experiment recalled, "We knew the world would not be the same."

In "Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb" (Hill and Wang, 2012), Jonathan Fetter-Vorm has written and illustrated in vivid detail the race to build, test, and drop the first atomic bombs...more
This graphic novel retelling of the Manhattan Project really nails it on 3 fronts - as a brilliantly executed primer on the science of splitting the atom, a historical deconstruction and a philosophical rumination on the consequences of possession of such power. Jonathan Fetter-Vorm brilliantly utilizes the medium to present sizable chunks of perspective and information in a format easily absorbed by anyone with a hour to spare.
History can be boring when told the wrong way. Names, dates, places, and events take over for the gravity of a situation; Jonathan Fetter-Vorm scribes a living historical tale that continues to reverberate in today's world. Looking back at the history of the atomic bomb, Fetter-Vorm focuses less on the whens and wheres, and places the spotlight on the humanity involved with its creation. Smartly staring with Marie Curie, Ernest Rutherford, and the science of atoms, Trinity folows the path of dis...more
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