Blood and Water

Book Review



Blood and Water: Sabotaging Hitler's Bomb


Dan Kurzman


Henry Holt & Company, Inc.



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

October, 2000



During the early years of the World  War II, the Nazis possessed the world's largest manufacturing plant of heavy water, an important ingredient in the development of the atomic bomb, yet were unable to complete the design and assembly of a bomb prior to the end of the war. This book details the heroic efforts of the Allies to prevent the Germans from winning the atomic race and developing the bomb first.

In terms of manpower, the resources expended on these sabotage operations were minimal, but were of vital importance in determining the outcome of the war. The Norsk Hydro facility, located in a mountainous region of Norway, was responsible for virtually all of the world's production of heavy water. Several distinct commando operations were formed and failed with loss of life before the plant was finally put out of commission. Information gathered during these operations was used to plan one final massive bomber attack on the factory.

This book almost seems as if it is a fictional thriller, yet the people and places are real. The author provides a detailed glimpse into the personal lives of the participants on both ends of the battlefield. The story of the first of the commando missions has a particularly surreal and horrific tone as many of the commandos are injured and captured, then executed one by one. The second mission has more success, but again at an extreme cost to the participants. The Norwegian factory employees, understanding the significance of the uses for heavy water, assisted the Allies by sabotaging the production process whenever possible, then ultimately pay the price as Allied bombs drop onto the factory and nearby town killing family and friends.

The book is well written and researched. The small scope of this campaign allows the author to present many small details not normally available with other works about this war. The center section of pictures includes many from private collections of the surviving individuals themselves. This is an exciting and enlightening night of reading for those that enjoy action and adventure stories.

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