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Posted January 16, 2011
With all the information we know today in regards to radiation exposure it does seem ludicrous that such reckless testing was done with the H bomb. Harris' interesting memoir chronicles his days spent on the Pacific Proving Ground in 1955 and depicts the stress of those who were stationed on a small island in the Atolls. Like the author, I would've been horrified to hear that a co-workers toenails were glowing in the dark,to swim with three eyed fish, or to stand outside in view of a mushroom cloud. Although I found the "guy" talk a little too coarse for my taste and was put off by some of the way the guys related to and "tortured" each other, the story kept me quite interested.
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Posted November 22, 2013
Have you ever been glad that nuclear war was averted? Nevermind, because it wasn't. In the 1950s we detonated nuclear weapons willy nilly and made people hang out in the fallout.
The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground by Michael Harris is a gripping memoir. His narrative about his year in Eniwetok drags the reader through an experience that is surreal, malicious, and as dark as a thermonuclear explosion is unbearably bright.
I was immediately attracted to this book because the Cold War and nuclear testing have always fascinated me. As a little girl I used to lay awake at night and worry about nuclear war. The fact is it happened before I was even born. My review of Trinity: The Atomic Bomb Movie explains my thoughts on this era pretty well. In Trinity I noticed the servicemen in the Pacific. There are films of them working, at the beach, and witnessing detonations. I always wondered what their experience was like. How many had died of cancer before their time?
In The Atomic Times, Michael Harris provides the answers to all my questions and more. His horrific account of twelve months in a realm where "censorship is self imposed" locks the reader in the concrete hell of faggot-hunting MPs, insane commanding officers, and mutated fish.
Oh, and the enlisted men didn't get goggles when they had to stand in formation and await the megaton dawn. They got to duck and cover.
Michael Harris is a skilled writer who delivered a read I couldn't put down. I look forward to reading more of his work.
Posted October 4, 2013
Posted July 4, 2013
Amazing how callous the military can be about the welfare of its own rank & file. That was the most shocking part of the book. Only the officers got protective eyewear and everyone else was just told to stand and "turn away" from the atomic testing blasts? Are they kidding? That was unconscionable. These were real people, fellow Americans, young American soldiers!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2013
Reading this book is the next best thing to being there, and since nobody in their right mind would have wanted to be there (catch-22?), then read the book. I can't be as eloquent as those who've sang it's praises before me, so I won't try. My philosophy is simple: if it's good, tell someone else. If you like it, do the same.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.