Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

This book would be a great spy film!   This well-crafted version of the race to build the ultimate weapon is based on exciting scientific discovery, espionage and war drama.  As World War II and a small experiment demonstrating fission rock the status quo, several characters’ involvement deepen.  Readers follow:  Harry Gold, the spy and schmoe in Pennsylvania reluctantly(?) working for the Soviet Union; Oppenheimer, the nutty professor and scientific genius with his humongous, secret team of geniuses; and Knut Haukelid, the Norwegian resistance fighter.  While the race for the bomb was exciting, the book deals with the destruction  and arms race matter-of-factly.  Some pictures and bibliography are great enhancements to the book.

How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

Funny, informative, and gross, the author takes readers on a chronological graveyard tour of famous people starting with King Tut and ending with Albert Einstein.   Readers will feel relieved to live in the world of good hygiene and modern medicine.  The brief biographies are as enlightening as they are entertaining though many of the people are well known, such as Pocahontas, Mozart, and Columbus.  “Further reading and surfing” at the back of the book are there for those who want more.

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