Blown to Hell: America’s Deadly Betrayal of the Marshall Islanders

Walter Pincus. Diversion, $29.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-63576-801-5
Pulitzer winner Pincus, a former national security reporter at the Washington Post, debuts with a shocking account of the destruction wrought by atomic bomb testing in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958. The largest of these tests, the Castle Bravo detonation near Bikini Atoll in 1954, was “a thousand times as large as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima” and scattered radioactive material over inhabited islands more than one hundred miles away. Pincus delves into the race with the Soviet Union to develop nuclear weapons and the selection of Bikini Atoll (which was evacuated) as a testing site, and shows that U.S. government officials were more concerned about the costs of relocating people from other inhabited atolls than the danger of nuclear fallout. As a result, adults and children living on Rongelap and Utirik atolls were exposed to radioactive ash and contaminated drinking water in the aftermath of the Castle Bravo test, and went on to suffer low white blood cell counts, thyroid tumors, and numerous cancers. Though granular government and military details slow the narrative, Pincus makes a persuasive case that in “seeking a more powerful weapon for warfare, the U.S. unleashed death in several forms on peaceful Marshall Island people.” Readers will be appalled. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/03/2021
Release date: 11/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-63576-802-2
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