The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Books & Authors

This Book is Radioactive!

It's been over one hundred years since the discovery of radioactivity; seventy-five since the United States-led atomic bombings on Nagasaki and Hiroshima; almost thirty-five since Chernobyl; and almost ten since Fukishima. Because of its potential as a source of power and as a weapon, atomic energy has had a complex but fascinating history since its development. Learn more about this history and current trends with these books. 

Atomic Adventures : Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder--a Journey Into the Wild World of Nuclear Science by James A Mahaffey
With enthusiasm and witty intelligence, Mahaffey unearths lost reactors on far-flung islands and finds trees that were exposed to active fission--which then changed gender or bloomed in the dead of winter. He explains why we have nuclear submarines but not nuclear aircraft and why cold fusion does not--and cannot--exist. And who knew that radiation-counting was once a fashionable trend? Though parts of our nuclear history might seem like fiction--such as when cowboys got their hands on a reactor--Mahaffey's vivid prose holds the reader in thrall of the infectious energy of scientific curiosity and ingenuity that may hold the key to solving our energy crisis--or even send us to Mars.

Footprints : In Search of Future Fossils by David Farrier
The author surveys the traces we will leave for peoples in the very distant future. He shows that modern civilization has created objects and landscapes with the potential to endure through deep time, including the plastic polluting the oceans, the nuclear waste entombed within the earth, and the thirty million miles of paved roads spanning the planet. This is his mediation on climate change and the Anthropocene, and an urgent search for fossils -- industrial, chemical, geological -- that humans are leaving behind.

Fukushima : The Story of a Nuclear Disaster by David A Lochbaum
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake large enough to knock the earth from its axis sent a massive tsunami speeding toward the Japanese coast and the aging and vulnerable Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors. Over the following weeks, the world watched in horror as a natural disaster became a man-made catastrophe: fail-safes failed, cooling systems shut down, nuclear rods melted. "Fukushima" combines a fast-paced, riveting account of the tsunami and the nuclear emergency it created with an explanation of the science and technology behind the meltdown as it unfolded in real time.

Manual for Survival : A Chernobyl Guide to the Future by Kate (Kathryn L.) Brown
A chilling exposé of the international effort to minimize the health and environmental consequences of nuclear radiation in the wake of Chernobyl.

Midnight in Chernobyl : The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham
Draws on 20 years of research, recently declassified files and interviews with first-person survivors in an account of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster that also reveals how propaganda and secrets have created additional dangers.

Nagasaki : Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard
Published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, a riveting narrative of human resilience, told through first-hand experiences of five survivors, reveals the physical, emotional and social challenges of post-atomic life.

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, a Tale of Love & Fallout by Lauren Redniss
Redniss presents the professional and private lives of Marie and Pierre Curie, examining their personal struggles, the advancements they made in the world of science, and the issue of radiation in the modern world.

The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States : A Speculative Novel by Jeffrey G Lewis
Imagines the ramifications of a near-future nuclear attack on the United States by North Korea.

The Age of Radiance : The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson
When Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi, and Edward Teller forged the science of radioactivity, they created a revolution that arced from the end of the nineteenth century, through the course of World War II and the Cold War of superpower brinksmanship, to our own twenty-first-century confrontation with the dangers of nuclear power and proliferation--a history of paradox, miracle, and nightmare. While nuclear science improves our everyday lives--from medicine to microwave technology--radiation's invisible powers can trigger cancer and cellular mayhem. Writing with a biographer's passion, Craig Nelson unlocks one of the great mysteries of the universe in a work that is tragic, triumphant, and above all, fascinating.

The Doomsday Machine : Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg
The former defense analyst who revealed the Pentagon Papers offers an eyewitness account of America's nuclear program in the 1960s and reveals the dangers in the country's seventy-year-long nuclear policy.

Voices From Chernobyl : The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Aleksievich
Voices From Chernobyl is the first book to present personal accounts of what happened on April 26, 1986, when the worst nuclear reactor accident in history contaminated as much as three quarters of Europe. Svetlana Alexievich--a journalist who now suffers from an immune deficiency developed while researching this book--interviewed hundreds of people affected by the meltdown. Their narratives form a crucial document revealing how the government masked the event with deception and denial. Harrowing and unforgettable, Voices From Chernobyl bears witness to a tragedy and its aftermath in a book that is as unforgettable as it is essential.


Find this article at