Much like Preston's Hotzone, this true story reads like a fictional thriller. David Hahn, an introverted teenager growing up near Detroit, began an obMuch like Preston's Hotzone, this true story reads like a fictional thriller. David Hahn, an introverted teenager growing up near Detroit, began an obsessive focus on science. With no parental or adult supervision or concern, David was left free to research and create chemical experiments that often ended with injuries to himself or damage to his home. When his father pushed him into Boy Scouts, David discovered his knowledge easily helped him obtain several science related merit badges. But then his desire to earn the Atomic Energy badge inspired a new obsession - he wanted to create his very own model nuclear reactor.
By reading his father's old textbooks, conducting research in public libraries, and sending out letters of inquiry to professionals in the field, David learned how to extract supposedly impossible to obtain radioactive materials. Hidden away in an old potting shed at his mother's house without proper personal protection or concern for the thousands of people living nearby, David set about creating his very own nuclear reactor.
This book reads like a thriller and I could not put it down. In addition to David's amazing and frightening true story, Ken Silverstein provides readers with the science behind nuclear energy and the very horrific human toll it's pursuit has taken. There are fascinating stories of how radium paints were used and what happened to the factory workers. And of course the comparison between the nearly incomprehensible devastation brought by atomic weapons upon Japan during WWII and the "Duck and Cover" advice to US school children during the Cold War still sends shivers down my spine. There are a lot of "what if..." moments in this book that will hopefully create further interest in the history and the future of the atomic age. Highly recommended for high school students....more
The book opens with 13 year old Lucy opening the door to find Helen, an aunt she never knew - an aunt who is the identical twin of her mother Aliese.The book opens with 13 year old Lucy opening the door to find Helen, an aunt she never knew - an aunt who is the identical twin of her mother Aliese. Separated as infants, Helen was raised in poverty, while Aliese was raised with great wealth. Aliese and her husband accept Helen into their wealthy household.
Over the next few months, Helen and Aliese become more and more alike in speech, dress and behavior. Lucy finds herself worrying that it is becoming more and more difficult to tell them apart, and feels guilt that she doesn't know her own mother at times. Lucy loves her mother unconditionally, but grows to love her aunt as well. But when tragedy strikes the house, Lucy questions how well she knows her own family.
Just when I thought the book was becoming too predictable, interesting plot twists and turns kept me turning the pages. There are some rather violent scenes in the book, and references to sexual relations, so I'd recommend this book for 10th grade and above. The plot lines and questions about the lies and truths that bind a family will keep a reader interested until the end.
This book offered a very personal glimpse into the lives of some pivotal figures within Germany leading up to WWII as well as the experiences of WilliThis book offered a very personal glimpse into the lives of some pivotal figures within Germany leading up to WWII as well as the experiences of William E. Dodd and his family, who found himself appointed US Ambassador to Germany. I didn't realize the extent of animosity between the different factions of the German government and even within the Nazi party. It was also surprising to see how blind officials in the United States were to what was actually happening in Germany because they were so focused upon repayment of WWI debts. And if they had spent less time mocking Ambassador Dodd and listened to his warnings, perhaps history might have been different. But the anti-semitism that permeated Germany also colored the perspective of the United States.
I originally wanted to say that I did not like this as much as other books by the same author. But the more I think about it, this book offers a perspective on how the Holocaust was able to occur: the world-wide anti-semitism, the insular attitude of the US, the forced acceptance and adherence to Nazi doctrine for the German people...at least in public... This book sheds light onto a very dark period in history....more
After Long Silence by Helen Fremont was excellent. What happened to her family during the holocaust is horrific and amazing. I had to remind myself seAfter Long Silence by Helen Fremont was excellent. What happened to her family during the holocaust is horrific and amazing. I had to remind myself several times that I was reading a memoir, not a novel. The image she paints of her childhood town and friends and family is heartbreaking when you consider the horror that awaits them. As soon as I finished the book, I wanted to read it again. As a choice for high school students, it would appeal to those who enjoyed The Glass Castle (memoir) or Sarah's Key (novel)....more