Sunday, November 15, 2015

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb

Trinity is just what the title says, a graphic history of the first atomic bomb. This account details the Manhattan Project, the top secret project where the US developed the nuclear weapons that would end World War II. It does so in two ways. One, by introducing the major players behind the project, including the military leaders who organized it and the scientists whose work were instrumental in developing the weapon.
Two, it also does well in explaining just the scientific concepts that underpinned the eventual development of the bomb, by looking at elementary chemistry and physics. Thus, it is much a book about science as it is about history.
As you can see from the excerpts, the narrative is relatively straight forward and the art is very documentary, but they also have some personality and a sense of intrigue that keeps things from becoming dry. This book is an impressive debut graphic novel by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm. He has since gone on to create a second called Battle Lines, which is another graphic history about the US Civil War. He talks about his work on Trinity in this interview and also speaks about his process in this video.

Most of the reviews I have seen about this book have been very positive. Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred review and summed up that it "succeeds as both a graphic primer and a philosophical meditation." Michelle Legro called it "a fascinating visual reimagining of a story that is at once tremendously culturally significant and thrillingly human." John Dupuis called it "a real gem" and "a wonderful example of the graphic novel as social history of science." Publishers Weekly was much less taken with the book and criticized a few of its features.

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb was published by Hill and Wang, and they provided a preview and more information here.

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