The Bastard Brigade

The Bastard Brigade

The True Story of the Renegade Scientists and Spies Who Sabotaged the Nazi Atomic Bomb

Book - 2019
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Traces the story of a renegade group of soldiers, scientists, and spies who were sent into Axis territory to spy on and sabotage Germany's nuclear weapons research and prevent Hitler from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
Published: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316381680
Branch Call Number: 355.8251 KEA
Characteristics: xii, 447 pages, 22 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations (some color) ;,25 cm


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Feb 09, 2020

The Bastard Brigade
reviewed by Rich van Kooy

The Bastard Brigade is a non-fiction, cloak & dagger, war story about a motley crew of scientists, and a warrior, Nobel-prize-winners, teacher, baseball player, Irene & Fred Joliot-Curie, Joe Kennedy Jr., and not many more on a mission to sabotage Nazi efforts to get the A-bomb first.

Written by Sam Kean, published 2019, this is a 420 page, page-turner of an historical narrative. The assembled team of spy-saboteurs is referred to as the Bastard Brigade because it existed outside of regular military organization. To set up the story, each major character is given a short biography.
It reads like a war story, which it is, but an intricate, well-researched true war story.

The tale, as told, is highly episodic, yet unified by the mission. It might have been called Get Heisinger. Many of the scientists were acquainted before the war. Their interactions add complexity and unpredictability to the tale; so, too, does the atomic toothpaste.

I think you may have, by now, got the idea that I think very highly of this opus. You bet. I already have another of Sam Kean’s books on order.


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