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

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,451 ratings  ·  389 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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Elisabeth Denisar I think that it would be golden for Middle School or High School. If you read Hiroshima by John Hersey, this would be an excellent intro piece for Hig…moreI think that it would be golden for Middle School or High School. If you read Hiroshima by John Hersey, this would be an excellent intro piece for High School.(less)

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Greta G
Great scientific and historical overview of the making of the first atomic bombs and the decision to drop them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Well-written and well researched, with simple black and white drawings, this graphic novel was an informative and satisfactory read.
Now I need to find some uranium and plutonium to try this at home.

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More than a history of the atomic bomb, Trinity is also a primer on the physics and history behind nuclear fission, and simultaneously a social history of the Manhattan Project. Fetter-Vorm is a storyteller and an educator, seamlessly weaving the story of Oppenheimer and General Groves' collaborative project in the desert of New Mexico (not too far from where I grew up...) with the history of science.

One of the standout sections of the book for me was the countdown to the test explosion in Los
I picked this graphic novel up purely because I needed a "book about technology" for a reading challenge, not a topic I naturally gravitate towards in my reading. I certainly don't think I would have come across this particular book without that nudge.

This is a fantastic discovery for me, the power of graphic novels to tell a story like this in a way that doesn't feel dumbed down, yet neither is it obfuscated in dry facts and dense prose. For readers who shy away from reading non-fiction I thin
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Kudos to Jonathan Fetter-Vorm for an excellent, well-written and informative book about Little Boy and Fat Man, the atomic bombs dropped on Hirsohima and Nagasaki to end World War II. In a graphic book format, using simple but effective black and white drawings, Trinity weaves together the science, social, military and political background for the invention of this world-changing technology. Very well researched, integrating source material, the secrecy in which the bombs were constructed, it en ...more
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan Potter
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Miroku Nemeth
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-books
a very good graphical history from the discovery of atoms to the first nuclear bomb (y)
Vinayak Hegde
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Part science textbook and part historical documentary. The book is well researched overview of the science of building the first Atomic bomb and the historical circumstances that led to building it. The Manhattan project was started in the deserts of New Mexico (Los Alamos) and led by General Groves (Administration) and Robert Oppenheimer (Science).

The artwork is pretty good though not extraordinary but the given the scientific context it is quite dense with information (especially about nuclear
I'd never read a graphic story/novel before, so I decided to start with a historical event I know well in order to see if this really is a format I could appreciate and learn from. I liked it more than I expected, though it did take me several tries to really get into it. Much to my surprise, I found that the graphic format required even more focus than usual; this was nothing at all like skimming the comics section. I have a lot more respect for the medium now. As far as the storytelling itself ...more
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Inspired" by a breakfast with friends conversation, i decided to read this one now. I'm glad i read it.

I'm tempted to give Barefoot Gen another shot. And i'm tempted to read at least a couple books from Fetter-Vorm's lists of source material and further reading.
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked 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. ...more
This was absolutely fantastic. I've had a general idea of the history and the horrors of the atom bomb, but this went into detail in an informative and simple way. It briefly went over some history of war and it's escalation. It had a brief history on the build up to the science, chemistry, physics of how fission of an atom was discovered, how it works, and how it translates into a bomb. It was an info dump without feeling like an info dump. It was really well conveyed.

Then it goes on about some
Sreeraag Mohan
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The fire will only stop when there is nothing left to burn.

The atomic bomb marked a significant event in the history of mankind. Never before has man possessed the power to obliterate entire cities, cultures, and civilisation in a matter of minutes, not to mention the lasting damage ionising radiation does internally to forms of life. Trinity works as a primer on the science behind the Manhattan Project, and once it was deemed a success, the political and military ramifications the atom bomb wou
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jessica by: Abi Bechard
This was excellent. Explanations on how atomic bombs work without being too heady. A good view of the outcomes of these bombs vs. other terms of warfare that were being used at the time. A look into the moral aspect of "if we can" and "should we" without leaning too heavy one way or the other.

This is a great starter piece for this particular part of U.S. and World History.

I happened upon "Trinity" because a friend was reading it and when I looked closer it was referring to the site in which the
Dakota Morgan
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Trinity is a terrifically informative history of the Manhattan Project, as well as a detailed introduction into the world of fission and an account of the cost of atomic warfare. It's really got everything. Science, thrills, pathos, the grim reality of our atomic future. The book is far more riveting than you'd expect - Jonathan Fetter-Vorm switches gracefully between scientific dissertations and fast-paced narrative to keep the reader engaged.

The art is solid, though it can sometimes be hard to
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Picked this up at the book fair part of a conference. I've been thinking about how to integrate graphic novels into survey courses, and this seemed like a good candidate for that kind of thing. It was interesting to me how much Fetter-Vorm chose to concentrate on the science side of this. I don't feel like I got a lot of history of the race for the bomb, or of WWII, or the US in the 30s/40s. What I got was the science - how did these bombs work, and why were they so tricky to build? So for the f ...more
5/5 ⭐️ this is a powerful book that gets into a horrific time in our history that gets little more than a sentence or two in high school textbooks. There have been other times in our (scientific) history where scientists have had to question “just because we can, should we” but not on this much of a scale. The book balances the awe-inspiring nature of what the Manhattan Project was scientifically with the moral/humanitarian ethics that its history still impacts us today. I think this would be an ...more
Gabrielle Matthews
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was such an unexpected find for me! I picked it up on a whim because I felt a bit of nostalgia as I studied the Cold War in high school and I really loved it! The art was gorgeous and the story (albeit non-fiction) was so entertaining. Most of the science talk went straight over my head but it was well explained so I'm sure most people could understand it. A really accessible insight to such an important piece of history. ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was SoOoOoOo well done 😍😍😍! I got it from my local library but it’s so good that I MUST OWN it for my personal library 📚! This is definitely on my NEED list! It’s a non-fiction graphic novel but it has a kind of poetic essence mixed into it that makes it all the more next level and the artistry complements it perfectly. I loved it! 💗
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this and finished it in one evening. Occasionally I need a book to scratch my continuing fascination with Oppenheimer and this did the job. The art is wonderful but I can't help but fault the storytelling a bit. There are some temporal errors near the beginning of the book that I can't overlook. ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The author did a remarkable job explaining the chemistry, the political context, and the aftermath/guilt of the entire Manhattan Project. Start to finish. I learned so much from this book.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overview of the entire Manhattan Project, and how it led directly into the beginning of the Cold War. Did a good job of explaining who the main personages of the A-Bomb project were, and of depicting the massive resources and effort that went into the project. Also explained well the logic of the massive costs of developing the Bomb guaranteeing that the Bomb would be used on a civilian target (since there were no purely military targets large enough to use the bomb on). Finally, Trinity made a ...more
Thomas Andrikus
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very well-done short graphic history of the Trinity test (the first atomic bomb). It starts with the Curies' discovery of radioactivity, Szilard's letter to Roosevelt, some basic overview of the physics of atomic bombs, the Manhattan Project, and Hiroshima & Nagasaki. ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Very timely read that explains the political motivation for building the first atomic bomb, the technical side and also doesn't shy away from the aftermath. ...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
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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,
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Class of 2013: Book Review 3 9 Jun 13, 2013 01:07AM  

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Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is an author and illustrator. His first book, Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb was selected by the American Library Association as a Best Graphic Novel for Teens in 2013. His Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War, co-authored with historian Ari Kelman, was published in May of 2015. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, and Guernica. ...more

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