Fallout, by Lesley MM Blume. Pub 2020
I read the “Hiroshima” issue of The New Yorker a few years ago, and like most people over the decades – from 1946 to now – I was spellbound by the issue and article. I was therefore intrigued to read Fallout to learn, as advertised, about the cover-up behind it and the inside scoop of how he got that story. Sadly, the book is quite boring.
The machinations required to access the story’s materials and subjects, the secret development of the magazine issue, and the revelation that the government – shock! – was less than forthcoming with the truth – none of these revelations were either surprising or very interesting. The best parts of this book are the rehashings of the original stories presented in 1946, and those are done in a very slap-dash way, making these very compelling stories less interesting. The book is also plagued with editorial errors and typos and so much repetition as to be frustrating and often boring. Also frustrating is the absence of annotation; the book includes nearly 60 pages of numbered footnotes, but none of these are referenced in the book text so there is no way to know when and where the footnotes belong.
Overall, it was a disappointing read, with the only outcome being that I’ll likely seek out and read the original material again. While not exactly drivel, this is certainly not going to be a recommendation, and it’s also a good reminder that a book being on a list (in this case, the NYT 100 Notable Books of 2020) does not always align with a book being good (in this case, it was just popular).
Fate: charity shop/little book library.
8 – a book with a female author
13 – a book set somewhere I’ve never been (the main location for the events is Japan)
20 – a book with a one-word title
25 – a new author to me
31 – a book about history/politics