IN 1938 IT became common knowledge that it was feasible, as opposed to just theoretically possible, to build an atomic bomb. However, the Nazis thought that the war would be over by the time they could build their bomb and that the enormous resources required would be better utilised developing conventional weapons. Although many scientists had fled Germany, the Allies feared that the Germans were still capable of manufacturing an atomic bomb, and so on 24 September 1941 the British War Cabinet, at a lengthy meeting chaired by Churchill, decided that Britain should go it alone and build thirtysix atomic bombs of her own. Within nine days of this meeting, its minutes were being read by Stalin. Such was the extent of Soviet penetration at every level of the British political and scientific establishment, and eventually inside the Manhattan Project itself, that the USSR was able to explode an atomic bomb in August 1949, some years ahead of US predictions.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
In 2017 Jan Morris, who died last week, wrote a paean to George Borrow's 'Wild Wales' – 'the most celebrated book written in English about Wales'.
'She drank a lot of wine and some of the great bottles she savoured are listed here. But her biggest appetite was for love, no doubt fuelled ... by the lack of it in her early childhood.'
Cressida Connolly reviews a new biography of Sybille Bedford.
I have just spent a wonderful few minutes re-reading the best book review of the year in my opinion. It's by Piers Brendon in September's issue of @Lit_Review. Beautifully captioned as 'Jack the Lad', Brendon takes Fredrik Logevall's JFK: Vol.I apart! It's a laugh a minute. Ouch!