Nick Bertozzi (Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey) magnificently illustrates the graphic novel edition of Steve Sheinkin's riveting 2012 National Book Award finalist and Newbery Honor book, Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, the true story behind the production of the atomic bomb.
Sheinkin's narrative begins in 1950 when FBI agents visit the Philadelphia home of the alleged Soviet spy Harry Gold. The ensuing interrogation of Gold forms the skeleton of the graphic novel as it moves between various historical episodes. In addition to the scientific masterminds behind the bomb's development, readers are introduced to anxious politicians, battle-hardened commandos, idealistic spies and even innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of warring nations. Sheinkin tells the story in tones that are triumphant, thrilling and, at times, heartbreaking.
Bomb skillfully employs the graphic novel form to make a complicated historical event both gripping and approachable. Bertozzi uses a palette of steely grays, blues, olive greens and earth tones to create a realistic World War II setting. His art, matched with Sheinkin's concise text and quotes from primary sources, creates a historically accurate and engrossing collaboration that is never dry or overly expository. Importantly, the creators never shy away from the human cost of scientific advancement: throughout the narrative, Sheinkin incorporates scenes in which the bomb's creators question the ethics of their actions, while Bertozzi's juxtaposing illustrations of life in Hiroshima and Nagasaki before and after the bomb's deployment are heartrending. Bomb, candidly told and arrestingly illustrated, offers an accessible way to learn about one of the most significant inventions in human history. --Cade Williams, freelance reviewer and junior reporter at DIG Boston