Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book Review The Atomic Times by Michael Harris

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.

How did I find out about this cool book?

I got it from my subscription to the Fussy Librarian. A lovely book discovery email service that has the good taste to pick one of my novels. Rys Rising: Book I will be showcased by Fussy on November 25th.