Customer Reviews for

The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
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(13)

4 Star

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(5)

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(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A good read for science buffs.

This is a good read for those who like a true science related story. The flow of the book is well done, both with the main story and the sidebar stories about chemistry and nuclear history.

It was quite amazing what this teenager was able to pull off in his backyard...
This is a good read for those who like a true science related story. The flow of the book is well done, both with the main story and the sidebar stories about chemistry and nuclear history.

It was quite amazing what this teenager was able to pull off in his backyard science shed. I just hope he has not done any long term serious damage to his health.

posted by nuumaan on July 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Intriguing but for very scientific minds

The Radioactive Boy Scout was a very interesting read. The author, Ken Silverstein is obviously very passionate about physics and science in general, as you read you can tell that he painstakingly poured over each detail in the book, and that he researched a tremendous...
The Radioactive Boy Scout was a very interesting read. The author, Ken Silverstein is obviously very passionate about physics and science in general, as you read you can tell that he painstakingly poured over each detail in the book, and that he researched a tremendous amount. Various points of views are used as Silverstein interviewed many of the characters including the main character, David, and the reader sees the thoughts of these characters a few years after the fact and what they had thought at the time. I found this book to be very intriguing, however the plot became hard to follow at times, and the vocabulary was something one would expect spewing from the mouth of a college level professor during a lecture on radiation and nuclear reactions! For a teen not particularly interested in science, this would not be the best book, however for a physics or chemistry major, this book would be fascinating! It practically offers step by step instructions on making a nuclear reactor. Had the plot not been so centered on the actual science involved in making David's various "experiments", than perhaps I would have found it more entertaining, however the book was fine as is. Give it a try, what's the worst that could happen!?

posted by afahey622 on May 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2011

    A good read for science buffs.

    This is a good read for those who like a true science related story. The flow of the book is well done, both with the main story and the sidebar stories about chemistry and nuclear history.

    It was quite amazing what this teenager was able to pull off in his backyard science shed. I just hope he has not done any long term serious damage to his health.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 4, 2011

    Intriguing but for very scientific minds

    The Radioactive Boy Scout was a very interesting read. The author, Ken Silverstein is obviously very passionate about physics and science in general, as you read you can tell that he painstakingly poured over each detail in the book, and that he researched a tremendous amount. Various points of views are used as Silverstein interviewed many of the characters including the main character, David, and the reader sees the thoughts of these characters a few years after the fact and what they had thought at the time. I found this book to be very intriguing, however the plot became hard to follow at times, and the vocabulary was something one would expect spewing from the mouth of a college level professor during a lecture on radiation and nuclear reactions! For a teen not particularly interested in science, this would not be the best book, however for a physics or chemistry major, this book would be fascinating! It practically offers step by step instructions on making a nuclear reactor. Had the plot not been so centered on the actual science involved in making David's various "experiments", than perhaps I would have found it more entertaining, however the book was fine as is. Give it a try, what's the worst that could happen!?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 7, 2011

    hmmm

    ive heard about this story on the mews in '07. seems very intriguing...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    RADIOACTIVE

    Im waking up its hard to tell im locked up in a prison cell (7 seconds later) I FEEL IT IN MY SOUL DONT BREAK MY SYSTEM GOLD WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE TO THE NEW AGE WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE TO THE NEW AGE OH WHOA OH WHOA OH WHOA OH IM RADIOACTIVE RADIOACTIVE!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    Abby

    Bye

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    Songs

    Jar of Hearts
    Pompeii
    Miss Movin' On
    Moments
    Rock Me
    One Way or Another
    They Don't Know About Us
    Dark Horse
    Replay
    Mirror
    Coldplay Catching Fire
    Who Are You
    Wings
    Change the World
    DNA

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Thistlefant

    "Oh dang. Trying to think of anotherclan we coukd trust."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Shortkit to graykit

    Come to result 4.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    Sylvia

    Name:Sylvia of the Oak trees Gender:Female Species:Hamadryad Eye Color:One is the brown of Oak tree bark the other is the green of its leaves. Looks:Fair skinned and wears a foilage dress. No shoes. Parent:Hamadryad named Leafy Godly Parent:According to Greek its Pan but Roman its Faunus. Powers:Can tree hop(walk through trees),Can control Nature. Pets:A Tree Swallow named Speck Age:No clue but looks 16.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    Lea

    Name: Lea vani
    Parent: Hades
    Looks: dirty blonde and blue eyes
    Age: 12( birth day. Next week)
    Wears: black groillaz ( the band) shirt black nerd glasses and wonderwoman high tops.
    Weapons: twin daggers
    Powers: controling the dead.
    Personlity: geeky. Jokester. Kinda smart
    Likes: comic books. Boy converse

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    This book was great to read. I loved the beggining and the beggi

    This book was great to read. I loved the beggining and the beggininmg of the middle. From then on the book was pretty much the same and did not change much. I do enjoy however, that this is based off of a true story. I hope he did not get to hurt in his backyard shed. But the fact that he did manage to get about all the elements on the periodic table was very amazing. Just to find some of them if very hard and costs a lot of money. I really like the books written by Ken Silverstein. He is amazing at finding stuff to write about. A 15 year old chemist. Who could have thought of that?! I dont like that in this book his mom was a heavy drinker and a chain smoker. I did not find that relevant to the story. David seems like a nice person. How could he have no friends outside boy scouts?! I would surely be friends with. My overall opinion of the book was that the book was ok but it definatley could have been much better.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2005

    Great story, just ignore the axe grinding!

    Wow... That was my reaction to this book on a couple different levels. I first heard about his story when Mr. Silverstein was featured on NPR after his Harper's article appeared. I found the exploits of David Hahn fascinating and picked up the book when I spotted it. As others have mentioned here, the telling of David's story is very well written. Hahn's 'Mad Scientist' persona and incredible disregard for the personal safety of himself and others around him is alternatively very funny and scary. It's amazing that his family got to the point that they were 'used it' the occasional explosion in the basement. It's also too bad that someone in David's life wasn't able to focus all of that brilliance. However, also very funny (perhaps not in the way that Ken Silverstein intended) is the manner that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is portrayed in the book. The things that are said about the BSA are downright laughable. Per Silverstein, the BSA is a 'dogmatic' right-wing political indoctrination machine that demands 'absolute obedience' of its members. Such accusations (with no evidence cited) are heavily sprinkled thought the book. Later on we read about an un-holy conspiracy between the Atomic Energy Commission, the BSA, and Walt Disney (!!!) to peddle nuclear power to the masses. Wow... He's so wrong, and incomplete, on so many levels that I don't know where to begin. I've been involved with the BSA as a youth and an adult for 30 years in numerous places in two different states. The BSA that this book describes is totally unknown to me. I've never met a 'dogmatic' troop leader who attempts to impose mindless group-think or politics on his or her charges. If a reader were to spend some actual time with some troops they would see how they actually operate (the best term I can think of is 'organized chaos'). As for the BSA's 'alliance' with the AEC... that's not the full picture either. The Atomic Energy merit badge was introduced during the halcyon days of 'The Atom' in America. As Ken Silverstein points out, our whole culture was swept up in 'atom fever' then. Whenever the BSA introduces a Merit Badge, it usually partners with an outside authoritative organization to write the requirements and develop any instructional materials. In the case of a 'Medicine' MB, it could be the AMA. For photography, they might call on Kodak for help. And so on. Working with the AEC would have been a logical choice for the BSA. Once created, Merit Badges will only live so long as their popularity allows. Once the number of Scouts earning a Merit Badge drops below levels that can support the cost of printing and stocking their associated materials, they are dropped from the BSA's program (see if you can earn Pigeon Raising MB today!). If kids didn't want it still today, the Atomic Energy MB wouldn't exist today. The BSA's 'agenda' isn't driving things. A quick look at some of the requirements for other MB's also undercuts the book's claims about the BSA right-wing political agenda. I defy anyone to examine the requirements for MB's like Environmental Sciences, Nature, Soil and Water Conservation, or Weather and conclude that the BSA is a tool of the right. They even have a merit badge concerning labor unions! So go ahead and read the book and be amazed by the antics of David Hahn... it's a quick read. Just take the author's personal agenda with a grain of salt the size of a potting shed!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2005

    You Gotta Read this Book!

    What a great read! Fast moving, captivating, funny, hilarious. I laughed and laughed. Scary. Very scary. Some say that young people shouldn't read this book. I disagree. Everyone can learn a lot about nuclear safety from this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2004

    Interesting, but not exciting read...

    This book , when it stuck to the story of David Hahn was interesting. It seemed to drag at times, especially when the author covered some extraneous material. What I found amazing was the families lack of interest or oversight of David's activities. I also would have enjoyed more information as to what David is doing these days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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