The fine writers I read…

This jumble of book offcuts has been silent lately. I’m in Darwin, working on the reactor design ferment in the 50s, and it’s not a field that has attracted much attention, so nearly everything I have goes in the book rather than this blog.

But here’s a thought: one of the pleasures of history reading is discovering fine writers waxing on about my topic. One such is American nuclear scientist/engineer James A. Mahaffey, who has written three entertaining, kaleidoscopic books about the nuclear sector: Atomic Awakening in 2010; Atomic Accidents in 2014; and Atomic Adventures in 2017. They’re all worth a read, most notably for Mahaffey’s colorful, apt style. I make quite some use of Mahaffey in my book, although much of what he writes is either slightly off topic or overly terse for my purposes. An example of the second is the following paragraph from his second book. My book will take pages and pages to make this very same point:

At the end of World War II, the United States had the only uranium enrichment plant in the world, turning out U-235 in any desired concentration limited only by the volume of material loaded into the front-end. The availability of this one facility would influence the path of nuclear-power development in the United States, make it different from the course taken in any other country with nuclear ambitions, and permanently affect worldwide nuclear design.