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5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and Entertaining
The book works on several levels. It's informative in detailing precisely how the boy obtained and used the materials in his nuclear experiments. As a human interest story, it shows once again how kids fall between the cracks when parents and teachers fail to pay close attention to them as individuals. And it both informs and entertains with its background history of the...
Published on June 4 2004 by GF

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not related to Boy Scouts
I really liked the story. Unfortunately, the author seemed very biased against the Boy Scouts. Linking the boy's activities to scouting activities was REALLY a stretch. Similarly, the author seems confused by the senior patrol leader position, camp position and Eagle projects...this leads me to wonder how accurate the rest of the information is...
Published on June 28 2004 by Cindy


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1.0 out of 5 stars The Library Wasted it's Money, July 2 2004
By 
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
Apparently the author had some extra facts on the history of nuclear power, the boy scouts, and a human intrest story that he couldn't sell. So what is a person to do? Twist the facts, tell small lies, and put three seemingly unrelated stories together to make a bad book.
It is obvious that the author has had some bad experiences with nuclear power, becuase he takes at least 70 percent of the book to bad mouth america's cleanest and safest form of energy.
The title was inviting and the cover art is interesting, but the words and story are a waste of time and not nearly as controversial or interesting as he makes them sound.
I feel bad for the library wasting thier money on this, but I am sure glad I didn't waste mine.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story!, June 29 2004
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
This book was just amazing. I couldn't believe that this kid really built a reactor in his mothers shed. What was really amazing was that he was never charged with any crime. He, after all, put not only his life in danger but his parents and neighborhood and school. The EPA never pressed David to seek medical attention, they just suggested it to him. I just couldn't beleive that he never even received a slap on the hand for what he had done. The icing on the cake was that he joined the Navy and after boot camp was posted to the U.S.S. Enterprise which carries nuclear war heads. What a great country we live in! Never the less a good read that will blow your mind.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not related to Boy Scouts, June 28 2004
By 
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
I really liked the story. Unfortunately, the author seemed very biased against the Boy Scouts. Linking the boy's activities to scouting activities was REALLY a stretch. Similarly, the author seems confused by the senior patrol leader position, camp position and Eagle projects...this leads me to wonder how accurate the rest of the information is...
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Author, June 18 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
The book itself is good, the story is fine, but the way is written is terriable and they author uses the word "hence" almost every 2 pages.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps a good magazine article..., June 15 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
The central story of "The Radioactive Boy Scout" would make for an interesting short story, but is too thin to have been turned in to a novel.
The historical background and mildly informative padding would not be so bad if weren't for the authors strong anti-nuclear power bias. Every incident was a "disaster" and every "nightmare" was "hushed up."
I cannot recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and Entertaining, June 4 2004
By 
GF "gf1701" (Novato, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
The book works on several levels. It's informative in detailing precisely how the boy obtained and used the materials in his nuclear experiments. As a human interest story, it shows once again how kids fall between the cracks when parents and teachers fail to pay close attention to them as individuals. And it both informs and entertains with its background history of the atomic age. I can see how the book might irritate nuclear power enthusiasts, but perhaps reading this cautionary tale will curb some of that enthusiasm.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading even with author bias, June 4 2004
By 
Stevan Davidovich (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
This book is worth reading and is very informative. The only down side is the obvious negative bias the author has toward nuclear engery in general and the Boy Scouts in particular. The story of David Hahn is truly an amazing story of a young and gifted young man who is in a troubled family situation. He finds in science and chemistry a world of discovery that becomes an outlet of his hopes and dreams. His knowledge of chemistry and initative does protect lives when a chemical spill occurs in a retail skill. The author does capture the highly dangerous nature of what David is doing with nuclear chemistry, but misses a more significant point. Not only does David do what no other teenager has ever done, he does it with creativity, persistence and faith in a higher good. While David does make errors in judgement in his quest for a breeder reactor, in the end he stops the experiment and dismantles the nuclear apparatus when he realizes that the reaction might be going out of control and is a risk to the community. Those values are just as much the governing principals of scouting as the emphasis that scouting places on self-reliance which is also demonstrated by David.
Read the book, but keep in mind that the author Silverstein has his own set of biases as he describes a truly amazing and unique story of a young man's journey to adulthood through his backyard lab.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Where is Golf Manor, MI?????, May 31 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
I'm from suburban Detroit and had never heard of this story. (Maybe we were on vacation at the time.) I was not aware of it until a review of the book in DISCOVER this month. And I cannot find any place called "Golf Manor, MI". Is this a pseudonym? I'd like to know the name of the real city in which it happened. Mapquest shows the only cities by this name as being in Ohio and New Jersey. What is going on?
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1.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor, May 28 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
After reading a positive review of "The Radioactive Boy Scout," I bought a copy without first scanning a few pages. Such a blind purchase is against my usual practice, because I have learned how overhyped many new books are. I found the book well-nigh unreadable because it is so poorly written and edited. It reads like breathless pulp fiction and is written at about that level of intellect. It contains numerous grammatical and other writing errors; they made me wince throughout the book. Moreover, the author seems to have had little real information about and even less understanding of the people involved. His analyses of them and the setting of the events are simplistic and cliched: the awfulness of the suburbs, the challenges to children of divorce, that sort of thing. (Do you think that the impressions of your high school teachers would help readers understand you?) The timeline is unintelligible, with a muddle of the concepts and events of more than five decades.
The book is described as having arisen from the idea of a publisher's editor, who contacted the author for an expansion after reading his initial article about the Boy Scout. That probably explains to a great extent why the book is so padded with pat recitations of the history of the nuclear age. I suspect that the review I read was prompted only by the reviewer's politics, which is unprofessional and unfair to readers.
All in all, the product seems to reflect little but laziness. That's a shame because an insightful and careful analysis of the case might have been a good contribution to the literature of the nuclear debate.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read, but over-editorialized, May 24 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor (Hardcover)
Silverstein does a decent job of relaying a fascinating story; the book is a quick read and moves along smoothly. There are three down-sides to the book:
1) His anti-nuclear biases are blatant enough to make one question the integrity of his reporting; his editorializing is tedious and simple-minded.
2) When one takes a step back and analyzes the story, much of it appears quite over-blown, which I suspect is the real reason it did not get much press attention when it occurred (without giving away the story, i will say that the conclusion is long on hypothetical, somewhat hysterical hyperbole and short on actual nefarious consequences).
3) His characterization of the boy and his family is jaundiced and needlessly judgmental; it is clear that the author has only a cursory understanding of the struggles and limitations many individuals face.
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