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Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown
Cover of Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown
Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown
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New York Times bestselling author Steve Sheinkin presents a follow up to his award-winning book Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, taking readers on a...
New York Times bestselling author Steve Sheinkin presents a follow up to his award-winning book Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, taking readers on a...
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Description-

  • New York Times bestselling author Steve Sheinkin presents a follow up to his award-winning book Bomb: The Race to Buildand Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, taking readers on a terrifying journey into the Cold War and our mutual assured destruction.
    As World War II comes to a close, the United States and the Soviet Union emerge as the two greatest world powers on extreme opposites of the political spectrum. After the United States showed its hand with the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, the Soviets refuse to be left behind. With communism sweeping the globe, the two nations begin a neck-and-neck competition to build even more destructive bombs and conquer the Space Race. In their battle for dominance, spy planes fly above, armed submarines swim deep below, and undercover agents meet in the dead of night.
    The Cold War game grows more precarious as weapons are pointed towards each other, with fingers literally on the trigger. The decades-long showdown culminates in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the world's close call with the third—and final—world war.
    A Shelf Awareness Best Children's Book of 2021
    A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book of 2021
    A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year

    Praise for BOMB:
    A Newbery Honor book
    A National Book Awards finalist for Young People's Literature
    A Washington Post Best Kids Books of the Year title
    "This is edge-of-the seat material that will resonate with YAs who clamor for true spy stories, and it will undoubtedly engross a cross-market audience of adults who dozed through the World War II unit in high school." —BCCB, starred review
    "...reads like an international spy thriller, and that's the beauty of it." —School Library Journal, starred review
    "[A] complicated thriller that intercuts action with the deftness of a Hollywood blockbuster." —Booklist, , starred review
    "A must-read..." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
    "A superb tale of an era and an effort that forever changed our world." —Kirkus
    Also by Steve Sheinkin:

    The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery
    The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
    Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team
    Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
    Which Way to the Wild West?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About Westward Expansion
    King George: What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution
    Two Miserable Presidents: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the Civil War
    Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Steve Sheinkin is the acclaimed author of fast-paced, cinematic nonfiction histories, including Fallout, Undefeated, Born to Fly, The Port Chicago 50, and Bomb. His accolades include a Newbery Honor, three Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, a Sibert Medal and Honor, and three National Book Award finalist honors. He lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, with his wife and two children.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2021
    A heated account of the Cold War. Sheinkin, known for his accessible, narrative-styled history books for young readers, tackles the arms race during the Cold War era. Opening with a James Bond-style introduction to spies' tradecraft--hollow nickels, dead drops, and secret codes--it moves through the Eisenhower and Stalin administrations to focus on John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, culminating in an hour-by-hour breakdown of the Cuban missile crisis. Thoroughly sourced, this fast-moving history provides a good overview of massively complex topics, lighting on the science behind hydrogen bombs, Duck and Cover drills, a bit of cryptography, and a compelling account of Kennedy's exploits during World War II. There's not enough exploration, however, of why America was so opposed to communism, no discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of global capitalism, and insufficient exploration of whether America was morally equipped for its superpower status, leaving gaps in the narrative that would help readers gain a deeper understanding of these issues in context. Whipping back and forth between times, places, and people may make it hard for some readers to follow at times, but the adventurous tone will capture and sustain their interest. An account of a gripping real-life adventure that isn't over yet. (source notes, bibliography, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from July 1, 2021
    Grades 7-10 *Starred Review* In 1961, the world almost came to an end. U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons were armed and ready, frozen in delicate d�tente. In this gripping account, Newbery Honor Book author and Sibert medalist Sheinkin offers an intense narrative that captures the terrifying tensions of the Cold War. Ample historical, political, and social context helps create an engaging history of how the world's two superpowers started amassing nuclear warheads at the same time diplomatic relations began to crumble due to the Space Race, overt acts of espionage (described in satisfying detail), the construction of the Berlin Wall, Soviet missile bases in Cuba, and the ultimate Bay of Pigs standoff. Sheinkin writes with his usual real-time intensity, vividly describing scenes such as nuclear-bomb tests and spy-plane missions. He brings major players to life, introducing readers to Soviet Union First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, U-2 pilot Gary Powers, and several spies on both sides. He also identifies unsung heroes, individuals who made decisions that prevented all-out nuclear war. Lots of period photos, copious source notes, and a lengthy bibliography make this ideal for research. This is also a thoroughly compelling read and should keep audiences turning the pages.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The prolific and decorated Sheinkin follows up his immensely popular Bomb (2012) with another wartime story that will leave readers--and educators--eager.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2021

    Gr 6 Up-Sheinkin delivers another heart-pounding tale, picking up where his 2012 award-winning book Bomb left off: the end of World War II and the start of the Cold War. The story opens in 1953, with Jimmy Bozart, the 13-year old paperboy who discovered a hollow nickel dropped by Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, a key early player in the series of conflicts that would lead up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. In tightly organized chapters adorned with historical photos, Sheinkin seamlessly weaves the stories of different players and includes meticulously well-researched details to personalize and humanize his subjects. Key events from the Cold War are dramatized in detailed scenes, including the inception of the arms race between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., the capture of U2 pilot Francis Powers, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the building of the Berlin Wall. While Sheinkin examines up close the spies, ordinary citizens, scientists, and world leaders-including Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Khrushchev-who put events into motion, he simultaneously considers the bigger picture, not making outright villains or heroes of either side, except perhaps Soviet commander Vasily Arkhipov, who prevented a nuclear submarine strike during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sheinkin concludes with just how close the world came to catastrophe, and urges readers not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Teens who love history such as Marc Favreau's Spies and historical fiction like Jennifer Nielsen's A Night Divided won't be able to put this one down. VERDICT A first purchase for all teen collections.-Erica Ruscio, Ventress Memorial Lib., Marshfield, MA

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 13, 2021
    This twisty spy story interweaves tautly paced political drama to document the perilous Cold War period and escalating conflict between the United States and Soviet Union. Newbery Honoree Sheinkin immediately hooks readers with an account of how a 1953 chance exchange of two hollow coins with film hidden inside tipped the CIA off to a Soviet spy ring; eventually, the lens extends to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the standoff between U.S. president John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. In addition to spies and political machinations, Sheinkin skillfully describes the science behind the race to develop fission bombs and conquer space, the nuclear threat and mutually assured destruction, and how the fear, bomb shelters, and classroom drills infused everyday life. Throughout, the highly charged narrative maintains a strong perspective and keen attention to detail, rounding out the figures involved—such as the American pilot Gary Powers, who flew U-2 jets to spy on Russia—with character and personality. The midsection can sometimes lag as it details the intricate chess game between Kennedy and Khrushchev, but b&w photographs heighten the tension in this dramatic and informative chronicle. Ages 10–up.

  • The Horn Book

    Starred review from November 1, 2021
    Sheinkin returns to the milieu of his award-winning Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon (rev. 11/12) for this equally compelling sequel. In the aftermath of World War II, the United States and Russia emerge as global superpowers, each vying for ideological, technological, and territorial dominance. Cold War tensions eventually climax with the Cuban Missile Crisis, bringing the rivals perilously close to nuclear war. Castro, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Khrushchev play significant roles in shaping world events leading up to it: the partitioning of Germany, the Berlin Wall, and the metaphorical Iron Curtain; the development of the hydrogen bomb and the subsequent arms race; the equally competitive space race; and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. But Sheinkin also introduces a colorful parade of lesser-known characters who step forward for their fifteen minutes of fame -- scientists and spies; U-2 pilots and submarine captains; secretaries, cyclists, and mobsters. Deftly weaving these anecdotes into the larger tapestry of history and politics, Sheinkin crafts an epic narrative with a large cast of characters, far-flung settings, multiple plot strands, and rising suspense, further evidence that one of our best nonfiction writers is also one of our best storytellers. Black-and-white photographs are strategically placed at the beginning and end of chapters, while generous source notes, a bibliography, and an index are appended. Jonathan Hunt

    (Copyright 2021 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)

  • The Horn Book

    November 1, 2021
    Sheinkin returns to the milieu of his award-winning Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon (rev. 11/12) for this equally compelling sequel. In the aftermath of World War II, the United States and Russia emerge as global superpowers, each vying for ideological, technological, and territorial dominance. Cold War tensions eventually climax with the Cuban Missile Crisis, bringing the rivals perilously close to nuclear war. Castro, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Khrushchev play significant roles in shaping world events leading up to it: the partitioning of Germany, the Berlin Wall, and the metaphorical Iron Curtain; the development of the hydrogen bomb and the subsequent arms race; the equally competitive space race; and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. But Sheinkin also introduces a colorful parade of lesser-known characters who step forward for their fifteen minutes of fame -- scientists and spies; U-2 pilots and submarine captains; secretaries, cyclists, and mobsters. Deftly weaving these anecdotes into the larger tapestry of history and politics, Sheinkin crafts an epic narrative with a large cast of characters, far-flung settings, multiple plot strands, and rising suspense, further evidence that one of our best nonfiction writers is also one of our best storytellers. Black-and-white photographs are strategically placed at the beginning and end of chapters, while generous source notes, a bibliography, and an index are appended. Jonathan Hunt

    (Copyright 2021 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)

  • Booklist, starred review

    "In this gripping account, Newbery Honor Book author and Sibert medalist Sheinkin offers an intense narrative that captures the terrifying tensions of the Cold War."

  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review "Sheinkin reprises his role as masterful, ever-so-wry storyteller, winking his audience into complicity in his critique of boneheaded brinksmanship..."
  • The New York Times "Steve Sheinkin's new nonfiction thriller about the Cold War is like one of its key emblems, the U-2 spy plane: fast, lean and able to survey a huge amount of territory."
  • Kirkus Reviews

    "An account of a gripping real-life adventure that isn't over yet."

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