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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(5 star). See all 16 reviews
on March 18, 2004
David Hahn who has grown up in the suburbs of detroit for all of his childhood and teenage years.From the time he was about 4 years old he had a fascination with mixing things and expermintation which was on going process as he grew up with his parents buying remote control anything chemistry sets and the such and his desire not to play with some of these things but to take them apart and make other things.I think is desire was fed also from the fact he did not get much support from the family yes his mother loved him to death but she was dealing with mental problems and alcoholism,and his father who divorced his mother and married again into another family that left david feeling left out and seems he found at least some comfort in his voracious appetite for reading scientific material.
This book also cover alot about the nuclear industry from the time of discovery by the Curies,the Manhatten Project to modern day nuke power plants.There many interesting facts to see how people with no prior knowledge of the effects of radioactive exposure.In the early 1900's when they thought that Radium was a great elixir and the fact that it glowed they used on all kinds of things like roulette wheels clock faces people even smeared on the teeth and lips to make them glow,the cost for Radium was amazing they figure about 3 million an ounce an it only took about 70 cents to kill you.
David was by all accountswhat most people would figure a geek but according to the book he was not your typical geek in that he was a fairly good looking kid who had a very pretty gir;friend.He had a few other interest but his main ohter interest was in scouting which fed his desire to learn about atomic energy and related subjects and also gave him the drive to go on to be a eagle scout.He develop many things his own gun powder,fireworks,hair color,tanning solutions.
I am not against nuclear energy but it was interesting to see how atomic has been portrayed through the decades how in the 50's they basically said there was no real harm and that one day we would use nuclear products to operate everything cars ,airplanes and such and how in modern day how countries have went about saometimes for decades to cover up accidents.
There were many interesting things to learn in here like when they dropped the bombs in japan it cooked birds in midflight.Some of the scientific stuff was a little tough at times for a novice like me but the author did a pretty good job.I did not know there were so many things that wehave that have traces of radioactive material in it.This is a great book i encourage to give it a read.The only thing in conclusion is i wonder what course his life would take with a little direction
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on June 4, 2004
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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