Book Review: The Winter Fortress, by Neal Bascomb – Stopping Hitler’s A-Bomb

The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb

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The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb

Neal Bascomb, author of Hunting Eichmann and The Perfect Mile, details explicitly an epic adventure and spy story of Norway’s sabotage of the World War II production of Heavy Water and the defeat of Hitler’s attempts to produce nuclear reactors and an atomic bomb

What an amazing description of the wartime lives and the feats of sheer survival that humans fighting for their freedom can endure. Even the ‘Epilogue’ is amazing to read in the end as it summarizes how the survivors of the Kompani Linge viewed their own participation in the war, and lived through the years of post-war trauma through sharing the experiences that they alone could fully understand while trying to reach some form of a reconciliation in peaceful life with the deeds of the war. This is a book best read chapter by chapter with time for the reader to absorb the immensity of the secret small war to prevent the German’s from obtaining sufficient deuterium to make a breeder reactor to produce Plutonium and thus an atomic bomb. From the cod liver oil contamination of the heavy water to the descriptions of the over-wintering in the arctic conditions of Norway, to the biographies of the men in Kompani Linge and the struggles of their families to survive the Nazi occupation, the book is an education for all of us on the fragility of freedoms we cherish and holding on by a thread to those values and truths during the worst of times. The book helps us also understand the tenacity with which the Norwegian peoples held to their values of truth, independence and social community and why they continue to do so today.

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