Ancillary reading Number Gazillion … I came across Super Bomb: Organizational Conflict and the Development of the Hydrogen Bomb by accident but knew immediately I needed to read it. The decision by President Truman in January 1950 to develop an American thermonuclear H-bomb has only a glancing impact in my book, but I’d previously read plenty about that intriguing landmark policy step. Some of my characters took part in a bitter, bitter dispute between opposing camps of scientists and bureaucrats. This 2019 historical book, written by Ken Young and Warren Schilling, was a must.

Ken Young Super Bomb

A poignant sidebar is that by the time Super Bomb was published, it had two posthumous authors. Warren Schilling, an American political scientist of renown, died in 2013 at age 88, just after the other author, Ken Young, wrote to him offering to assist with resurrecting an old Schilling project. Just before 2019 publication, Young, a British political scientist, also died, aged 76.

Well, I can recommend Super Bomb but only if you’re either fully familiar with early Cold War history or if you have previously read up on the ferocious technical/military/political/moral battle that took place at the end of 1949 and into January 1950, a battle for or against developing an H-bomb. If this interests you, Super Bomb adds much nuance and historical accuracy. It’s cogently written. But here’s the caveat: if you’re only reading in this area for the first time, try something else, Super Bomb is incredibly detailed and needs prior knowledge.