Washington State U. Press
Made in Hanford; the bomb that changed the world.
Williams, a former science writer for the Seattle Times, was a teenager when his father, the editor of the local newspaper, agreed to censor news of the world's first plutonium factory at nearby Hanford during the WWII era. The family later housed two of the workers from the factory who helped produce the plutonium used to create 'Fat Man,' the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. In this portable (5.5x8 inches), eminently readable book, Williams blends accessible scientific explanations with history and personal reminiscences. Williams was also working as a newspaper reporter in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific during post-WWII nuclear testing. He offers his eyewitness account of the devastation and examines the impact on indigenous populations who were displaced for the testing. The account comes full circle when Williams witnesses Bikini Atoll elders returning to their damaged ancestral land in 1968. The book draws on an unedited copy of the diary of Lt. Col. Franklin T. Matthias, WWII Army commander at Hanford, and the author's interviews with Bikini Atoll elders. It also includes an epilogue on the careers of scientists, military personnel, and Hanford workers mentioned in the book. An appendix describes the 1945 Franck Report, in which scientists who helped develop the bomb urged the US military to postpone using it until the US public and the United Nations could be consulted. The book is illustrated with b&w historical photos. It will appeal to general readers and students. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)