The Bomber Mafia tells the story of a small group of American airmen who, in the waning days of World War II, conceive a plan to attack Tokyo with an atomic bomb. drawing on never-before-seen archival material and interviews with surviving participants, Gladwell paints a sweeping picture of this extraordinary group and their time inside what was then the most secret program in America. He takes us from Cambridge University to Tinian Island to Los Alamos as they attempt – unsuccessfully – to build a weapon more destructive than anything ever before conceived. Along the way, we meet some fascinating characters: William “Bunny” Hopkinson, an aristocratic British scientist obsessed by harnessing nature’s power; Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project and one of history’s cruelest men; Ralph Nelson Jr., headstrong sonof Hollywood royalty desperate for his father’s approval; Togo Tanaka, former student radical who becomes Japan’s first filmmaker after Hiroshima is destroyed. The Bomber Mafia is at once electric narrative history and cautionary tale about ambition run amok.
For who is this book for ?
The Bomber Mafia is for anyone who wants to know more about the history of World War II, specifically the atomic bomb. It’s also a great read for those interested in science and engineering.
- The Bomber Mafia is a well-researched and well-written book about a little known topic.
- It tells the story of a small group of American airmen who, in the waning days of World War II, conceive a plan to attack Tokyo with an atomic bomb.
- The characters are fascinating and Gladwell does an excellent job of bringing them to life.
- The Bomber Mafia is not a book for everyone.
- The focus of the book may be on a small group of American airmen, but it does leave out important aspects of the atomic bomb project as a whole.
- Gladwell’s writing style can be dense and difficult to follow at times.
Learn more about the author
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He has been a staff writer since 1996, and has written five books: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath.
“This book is a must read for all those interested in the history of World War II and the development of atomic weapons.”
“Gladwell is a superb storyteller and raconteur.”
“This is an excellent book – a page-turner, but with the scholarship and detail that makes it so much more. I learned about things I’d never heard of before.”