Sabotage: The Mission To Destroy Hitler's Atomic Bomb

320p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545732437; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545735339.
RedReviewStarGr 8 Up—The people of Norway had hoped to remain neutral during World War II as they had in the Great War, but that hope was shattered when Nazi Germany invaded Norway's ports in the early days of April 1940. In addition to taking over Norway's land and exiling their king, Germany also intended to capture the hydroelectric plant at Vemork in Norway's frozen highlands. The plant was one of the only places in the world that produced a substance called heavy water, an extremely important ingredient in Germany's race to develop an atomic bomb. It would take the Allies several unsuccessful attempts before a time bomb planted on the ferry transporting the heavy water and production equipment across a deep lake spelled the demise of Germany's atomic research. Bascomb is a master of taking complicated histories and turning them into exciting works of nonfiction. By exploring the various backgrounds of each of the Norwegian resistance fighters and scientists, he gives readers a chance to understand their motivations and properly empathize with their struggles. This investment pays off as the stakes get higher, and the narrative deftly switches between their perspectives, creating a dramatic and suspenseful tension like no other. A generous amount of captioned black-and-white photos of the men, buildings, and artifacts help to guide readers through the text.
VERDICT This excellent treatise on a little-known episode of World War II is a first choice.

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