Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
SF author Benford (the Galactic Center series) makes the relevant science accessible to the lay reader in this intriguing alternate history thriller that speculates on the road not taken in the U.S.'s frantic path toward developing an atomic bomb during WWII. Chemist Karl Cohen's suggestion that centrifuges be used to create the weapon accelerates the production process, so that it's available for use in 1944, against a different Axis enemy than the Japanese. En route to that deployment, Benford brings to life all the heavy hitters involved in the Manhattan Project, such as Enrico Fermi, Leo Szilard, and Robert Oppenheimer. Diagrams help illustrate the scientific concepts involved, and the story line is laced with stranger-than-fiction facts, such as the national security apparatus's concerns that stories in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction were based on leaks of classified information. Cohen's conversion into a field operative later in the book is a stretch. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Karl Cohen is working under Harold Urey as a physics research assistant at Columbia University, where their discoveries bring them into the circle known as the Manhattan Project. In this alternate history (illustrated with historical photographs), Karl, being in the right place at the right time, moves up the timetable on the making of the first atomic bomb. Rather than targeting the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the first "little boy" is deployed June 5, 1944, on Berlin. Physicist and best-selling author Benford (Timescape) keeps most of his narrative solidly grounded in historical facts but not overwhelmingly so, and his engaging and compelling characters (all real people) are easy to connect with. While pondering what might have been, this insightful work provides a sobering look at how fragile the whole process of building an atomic weapon really was. Verdict Providing plenty of detail without slowing the story down, this title is recommended for an audience that enjoys alternate history with a solid grounding in reality.-Mark Hanson, Maranatha Baptist Univ. Lib., Watertown, WI © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.