Did you ever wonder how the U.S. went from inventing atomic weapons in the 1940s to having a full-scale nuclear weapon industry a decade later? Ever want to visit an atomic test site? Wonder where they make weapons-grade uranium? Ponder the current state of the U.S. nuclear stockpile? Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger's recent book, A Nuclear Family Vacation, has the answers.
A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry is like a travelogue/history lesson/geopolitical thriller that traces the development of U.S. nuclear facilities across the nation and weaves it together with the uncertainty of today's nuclear nightmare. Hodge and Weinberger visited missile silos and uranium plants, traveled to Iran, and explored several old test sites near Las Vegas and in New Mexico. This isn't just a guide to nuclear tourism - they discuss controversial proposals for expanding American nuclear stockpiles and resuming American nuclear testing.
The book makes an excellent companion piece to Trinity and Beyond, the Shatner-narrated documentary of U.S. atomic testing that is long on stunning HD mushroom clouds but a little short on detailed information. You can listen to Hodge and Weinberger talk about A Nuclear Family Vacation on NPR's Fresh Air. Image by: Bloomsbury USA.