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

Little, Brown. Jul. 2019. 464p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780316381680. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316381666. HIST
Best-selling author Kean (The Disappearing Spoon) tells the forgotten history of the spies and scientists working for the United States who helped sabotage and prevent Adolf Hitler’s scientists (the Uranium Club) from building the atomic bomb. Once the Manhattan Project began to construct their own bomb, it started an offshoot program called the Alsos Mission; participants were referred to as “bastards” because they did not officially belong to any specific military group. Kean offers a chronological telling of the people involved on both the Allied and Axis sides of the conflict. These fascinating characters include former professional baseball player Moe Berg (working for the CIA-precursor Office of Strategic Services), along with physicists Werner Heisenberg and Samuel Goutsmit as well as Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest brother of John F. Kennedy, and his terrible fate during a sabotage mission. The work is rounded out by source material and a summary of the main people involved.
VERDICT An exciting read for fans of World War II history, espionage tales, and the development of nuclear weapons.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing