Two Frogs

The Day We Bombed Utah (Signet)

by John G. Fuller
Date Reviewed: September 12, 2003

This title is pretty misleading, since it tells the story not of a single day, but of a period spanning more than 30 years (the book was written in 1984). It is about the nuclear testing program in the Nevada desert, including the massive amounts of nuclear material used, and the amazing cover-up operations of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). It really is incredible the lengths to which government officials went to avoid revealing the dangers and unknowns associated with nuclear testing, and the risks American citizens were subjected to in the name of defense. I don’t know where the nuclear testing program stands now, but this part of the conclusion of the book (which was written when we were still in the throes of the Cold War) is interesting: “The United States and the Soviet Union sit facing each other, each twenty-eight minutes away from mutual incineration. The testing that began at the Nevada Proving Grounds back in the 1950s continues for the sole purpose of creating more redundant megatonage that can pulverize every man, woman, and child in the world many times over…This universal [fallout] cloud of deadly isotopes – formed without a single nuclear shot being fired in anger – has created a challenge that the leaders of the world must meet above all other issues, if there is to be a world at all.” The book is not without political slant, but I think it does a far better job than most, especially when you consider the times in which it was written.

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