Top critical review
Being left out of the equation.
on April 6, 2004
This book was quite scary. And it wasn't even fiction, which made it all the more frightening. (I also found it equally as frightening that at least two of the previous reviewers spelled "Manhattan" incorrectly as "Manhatten." It's called a dictionary. Look into it.)
In addition to hearing about how seemingly easy it was for David Hahn, the radioactive boy scout described in the title, to obtain radioactive materials from regular, nonrestricted products, I was just as surprised and shocked to hear about some of the other, larger nuclear accidents of the past few decades, some of them not well publicized.
While I was aware of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and some of the others, there were incidents from the 1960s such as the British Windscale plant and the breeder reactor around Detroit, which I'd never heard of.
(While the author is at it, he might look at Brookhaven National Labs in NY. Given the cancer clusters in the areas around it, I'm sure there's a book there too.)
I did see that the main story of David Hahn didn't take up a huge amount of space and that there was some padding with other, related material. However, I don't think that diminishes the impact of the story. The lesson here is that while nuclear planners have strategies for regulated, large-scale nuclear accidents, small-scale efforts by individuals seem to have been left out of the equation entirely.