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The Radioactive Boy Scout

One of my resolutions for this year is to really try to get reviews posted in a timely fashion, hence, they may be shorter. This book is an expansion of Silverstein’s Harpers magazine article, for all the good and bad that portends. It’s the story of a kid who is obsessed with nuclear power [Aspergers anyone?] to the point that he tries to obtain as much nuclear material as he can, both legally and illegally, and tries to build a nuclear reactor of sorts in his backyard lab. Add a few inattentive ineffective parents to the mix and a lonely kid with few friends and social outlets and it turns into a mess that eventually turns the backyard into a Superfund site. Since most of the experiments and whatnot are related by the main character to the writer of this book, there is definitely some question as to the veracity of all the events, a note that is only sort of acknowledged by the writer towards the end. He has done a great job of expanding a magazine length article and adding in a lot of pretty interesting factoids about the American nuclear power industry and its history.