Snake Dance: Journeys Beneath a Nuclear Sky by Patrick Marnham - review by Matthew Green

Matthew Green

Bomb Voyage

Snake Dance: Journeys Beneath a Nuclear Sky


Chatto & Windus 331pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

A magisterial mix of history, biography and travelogue, Snake Dance grew out of the author’s obsession with a seemingly incidental historical detail: the uranium used in the Manhattan Project was excavated from a mine in the Belgian Congo by the same company that had employed Joseph Conrad half a century earlier. The stage is set for an exploration of the relationship between the brutalities of imperial conquest and man’s Promethean quest for a world-killing weapon.

Patrick Marnham builds his narrative around a series of journeys through the Democratic Republic of Congo, New Mexico and Japan in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster that he undertook while co-directing the film Snake Dance, which was shot at the same time as he was researching the book. His

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