A C Grayling

Atomic Angst

The Bomb: A Life

By

Jonathan Cape 416pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

ODD THOUGH IT may seem, fascination with the bomb is greater than the horror it inspires, at least at the moment. When some memorabilia from the Enola Gay were auctioned two years ago, one punter bought two little plugs, one red and one green, which had been part of the first atomic bomb actually used in anger, the so-called ‘Little Boy’ that flattened Hiroshima. The pair went for $167,000. US Government efforts to block the sale, on the grounds that the plugs were government property, failed in court. No one minded that the plane’s clock, and its navigator’s Bible, were also auctioned; indeed, no one seems to have commented on the fact that the navigator took a Bible with him on a trip to exterminate a couple of hundred thousand children, women and men.

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