The Nuclear Spies by Vince Houghton [7/10]

Historian and curator of what sounds like a fascinating institution, the International Spy Museum, Vince Houghton dives into two topics that have been tackled many times before but perhaps never as comprehensively. He asks, essentially: how did the Allies do so well in understanding the Nazis’ atomic bomb efforts in World War II, yet blunder so badly in predicting when the Soviets might test their first nuclear weapon (in case you don’t know, the second took place in 1949 and it left the Americans dumbstruck). Both topics are close to my heart, so I devoured “The Nuclear Spies: America’s Atomic Intelligence Operation against Hitler and Stalin” with the speed of a Dan Brown romp. Houghton’s organization skills and penmanship are exemplary, and the scholarship on display is first rate. “The Nuclear Spies” is modern history as it should be written.

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