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Trinity: A Graphic History of the First…

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb (2012)

by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

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Jonathan Fetter-Vorm's Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb traces the origins of atomic theory, the early work developing a working knowledge of critical mass, the Trinity test, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the early Cold War, all while telling the story through the framing device of Robert Oppenheimer preparing the Trinity test for July 16, 1945. Fetter-Vorm's art brilliantly condenses complex concepts, such as atomic theory, in a manner that's both dramatic and easy to understand. He also knows when to let the art speak for itself, such as in his portrayal of the aftermath of Nagasaki. As an historian, Fetter-Vorm echoes the conclusions of John Earl Haynes when he writes, "Even before this world war had ended, the Cold War had begun" (pg. 93). As both an introduction to the history of the early atomic age and an insightful volume in its own right, Fetter-Vorm's Trinity belongs on the reading list of Cold War historians and students alike. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Apr 18, 2017 |
TRINITY A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB. This graphic novel which I found in the science section ,not the history section is a novel explaining the Manhattan Project's quest for atomic power and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Trinity refers to the place that our country first tested the atomic bomb. The author focuses the story on the scientists and their discoveries, and their trepidations of pushing the world into the new atomic era. It is both an enjoyable and informative read. It focuses more on the scientific concepts of fission and the domino effect of atomic power. It explains it so well that, this reader, who could never wrap her mind around scientific concepts, now understands what fission power is. The novel is a story and begins with the birth of the atomic age through of the discovery of uranium by Marie Curie. Then the story goes onto debates between scientists including chemists and physicists like Lise Meitner. These first characters, the scientists who are researching atomic energy, seek out Albert Einstein for both his expertise and his advice. A philosophical debate ensues on the issue of whether American scientists should acquire atomic energy. The scientists discuss it with those in power, and the US Government races to be the first to possess this great power. The scientists and us government officials agree that this Constitutional Republic should be the first to hold such power and the secret Manhattan Project begins. In novella form the author continues with all the pertinent information that a student should understand about the race for an atomic bomb. It includes all pertinent dialogue and even internal monologue by the key people involved. In internal monologue, the author uses the mythology of Prometheus to illustrate the overwhelming power of this atomic knowledge. As the scientists attain their goal of weaponizing atomic energy, the author shares poetic inner monologues that resound with the angst of the Indian myths of Shiva, The Destroyer.
This novel introduces the reader to General Leslie Groves, the man who oversaw the building of the Pentagon. The author uses his "no nonsense' gruff, military persona to move the story along the epic project. He is a grounded character who in truth did anchor this heady project into the gruesome reality of the destructive bomb dropped by the Enola Gay.

The story then turns to the name all students must know, Oppenheimer. The author mythologizes the paradoxical Oppenheimer. He present Oppenheimer with a drawing, of a provocative "man in black" type character. This character gazes at us from under a tilted Fedora and powerfully states "what this project needs is a visionary. " The paradoxical Oppenheimer is revealed in block drawing form from childhood to adulthood, with interesting captions such as "Oppenheimer was that visionary... even though it is difficult to know just what kind of man he was..." This vibrant presentation will provide for a student an interesting look at all the important aspects of our country's thrust into the Atomic Age. It includes all facts the WWII student must know, but in a truly entertaining and moving presentation. This non fiction graphic novel genre, is perfect for late adolescents learning about WWII in school. In fact, I am using this graphic novel in my student teaching presentation as it meets the criteria for the GLE's the students need to acquire for The Common Core program. ( )
  Tarasusan | Mar 19, 2017 |
This captivating graphic novel gives its audience both a history and a science lesson through words and images that mutually support each other. Its narrative, comic book format practically necessitates dialogue, leading the author to "introduce language that hews closely to...these characters" (p 153). The so-called faction format is the only drawback of this book, but forgiveable because the conversations presented were secretive when conducted and are thus inaccessible to any author. The assumed conversations flow naturally and strongly support the known facts. The science lessons address complex concepts, but clarity of words and illustrations enable nearly any reader to understand how an atomic weapon works.

Perhaps most importantly, grave ethical concerns shared by the bombs' creators and contemporary Earthlings alike are addressed and conveyed through poignant black-and-white illustrations. If used as a classroom teaching tool, these concerns provide ample opportunity for critical thinking excercises and class discussions.

The book includes delightful cultural references. On page 87, figures from Picasso's monumental painting "Guernica" illustrate the mention of Axis bombing of the titular Spanish town. The original painting is black and white, like this book, which all feels like the newspapers that reported such atrocities. On pages 146-147, scenes from the popular didactic film "Duck and Cover" convey the fear of Americans after the development of these atomic weapons and reveal now laughable efforts to cope with that fear in the face of helplessness. ( )
  ProfDesO | Feb 10, 2017 |
This was my first ever read of a Graphic Novel. As a physicist and a voracious reader of non-fiction material, I was extremely happy with this book. This medium of literature makes a lot of complex information inherently accessible to a larger audience. This was a great dive into one of the most influential physics endeavours this world has ever undergone. ( )
  Scerakor | Dec 20, 2016 |
This graphic novel was so powerful.

It's a piece of non-fiction about the history behind the first atomic bomb.

I really appreciated the fact that this book was so entrenched in history and fact. He introduces scientific ideas that are complicated and gives very simple, easy-to-follow analogies for a wee pleb like me, who understands very few scientific concepts in general.

I also really appreciate that Jonathan Fetter-Vorm acknowledges that he doesn't write important conversations of people word by word, and he also acknowledges that a topic such as this cannot be condensed into 154 pages. He provides a reading list at the end of the novel, for anyone who's interested in reading further - a list that contains material from both sides of the coin.

I loved the texture in this graphic novel, I loved that it was in black and grey, I loved the fonts and typefaces used, I loved the writing, I loved the direct quotations. If you're interested in history, or graphic novels, or non-fiction, you should definitely check this piece out. ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809094681, Hardcover)

Trinity, the debut graphic book by the gifted illustrator Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, depicts in vivid detail the dramatic history of the race to build and the decision to drop the first atomic bomb. This sweeping historical narrative traces the spark of invention from the laboratories of nineteenth-century Europe to the massive industrial and scientific efforts of the Manhattan Project. Along the way, Fetter-Vorm takes special care to explain the fundamental science of nuclear reactions. With the clarity and accessibility that only a graphic book can provide, Trinity transports the reader into the core of a nuclear reaction—into the splitting atoms themselves.

The power of the atom was harnessed in a top-secret government compound in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where some of the greatest scientific minds in the world gathered together to work on the bomb. Fetter-Vorm showcases J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and General Leslie Groves, the fathers of the atomic bomb, whose insights unleashed the most devastating explosion known to humankind. These brilliant scientists wrestled daily with both the difficulty of building an atomic weapon and the moral implications of actually succeeding.

When the first bomb finally went off at a test site code-named Trinity, the world was irreversibly thrust into a new and terrifying age. With powerful renderings of the catastrophic events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fetter-Vorm unflinchingly chronicles the far-reaching political, environmental, and ethical effects of this new discovery. Richly illustrated and deeply researched, Trinity is a dramatic, informative, and thought-provoking book on one of the most significant and harrowing events in history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A graphic novel account of the race to construct the first atomic bomb and the decision to drop it, tracing the early research, the heated debates, and profiles of forefront Manhattan Project contributors.

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