Operation Crossroads: Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946

William L. McGee, with Sandra V. McGee. BMC Publications, $19.95 trade paper (132p) ISBN 978-0-9701678-5-9
In this brief firsthand account, McGee revisits the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests, the first such tests administered after WWII. McGee served on the USS Fall River, a U.S. Navy cruiser that was present as the flagship of the supporting task force during the detonation of two atomic bombs in July 1946. Using his own and his shipmates’ recollections, supplemented by ship’s logs, he recreates his day-to-day experiences as one of over 40,000 U.S. military personnel who lived and worked for months within a 15-mile radius of the Able and Baker detonations, both of which were bigger than those that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The most startling revelation that McGee relates is the absolute ignorance of the military and civilian leaders of the dangers of nuclear radiation poisoning. After the blasts, sailors and scientist went about routine duties for weeks in a highly contaminated environment with virtually no extra precautions. McGee points out that this tragedy was largely the result of ignorance, compounded by the more egregious actions of the Veterans Administration, which in subsequent years denied veterans the health care necessary to treat their radiation-related illnesses. Though slight, McGee’s work offers a good introduction to the subject. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
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