But mysteriously there’s enough recognizable and even semi-linear as narrative here to keep a halfway intelligent or imaginative person interested all the way through.
Dennis D. McDonald’s BOOK REVIEWS
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I’ve always been fascinated by “big science” projects and how they were managed. Often there’s a confluence of private and public sector, academia, and military; the nuclear arms race as presented here is certainly not an exception.
This book describes what it was like to bomb Japanese cities via B-29 raids conducted by the U.S. during 1944 and 1945. Most of the action is from the American perspective and takes place on the air-base islands off Japan from which most raids were launched (chiefly Tinian and Saipan), in the air while over water, or over Japan itself
I read a lot of history books where you get caught up in the sweep of big ideas, big movements, and larger-than-life historical figures. In THUNDER BELOW we have a captain, his crew, and the ship, doing their job while trying to stay alive. It’s a keeper.
If you’re interested in history and how languages evolve, this book is for you. Bragg treats English like an evolving organism that absorbs and transforms itself as it grows.
The scale and scope of the operation are huge. Hundreds of crew are sent in deep sleep while a smaller “first shift” prepares the massive ball of ancient ice for human habitation. The authors think through the physics and the logistics of such a massive operation and make you believe — almost — that something like this might really work.
Having always been a fan of aerospace history this book is one of the first I’ve read that actually attempts to answer in some depth the question, “What was it like to be part of the Apollo program?” We hear from the different participants from astronaut on down. It’s highly educational and even surprising in parts.
You have to be interested in engineering and technology to appreciate this book and its detail. So many aircraft books emphasize operational or military applications while skimping on the details that allow an appreciation of the huge number of challenges involved in aircraft development. This one really delivers the goods.
Forester’s message is pretty transparent, though: high class are low, educated or not, smalltown or urban, young or old — all have parts to play in the well oiled war machine that cares less about class than about performance.