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The Radioactive Boy Scout

The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor
Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Growing up in suburban Detroit, David Hahn was fascinated by science. While he was working on his Atomic Energy badge for the Boy Scouts, David's obsessive attention turned to nuclear energy. Throwing caution to the wind, he plunged into a new project: building a model nuclear reactor in his backyard garden shed.

Posing as a physics professor, David solicited information on reactor design from the US government and from industry experts. Following blueprints he found in an outdated physics textbook, David cobbled together a crude device that threw off toxic levels of radiation. His wholly unsupervised project finally sparked an environmental emergency that put his town's 40 thousand suburbanites at risk. The EPA ended up burying his lab at a radioactive dumpsite in Utah. This offbeat account of ambition and, ultimately, hubris has the narrative energy of a first-rate thriller.

©2004 Ken Silverstein (P)2019 Tantor

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  • 01-01-20

Interesting read

The author’s stance on nuclear technologies is obvious through phrasing designed to hype fear and influence the reader. Must be listened to with that in mind.

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Interesting story

It takes a while to get used to the narrator pausing for a breath after literally every sentence but if you can get over that it’s a pretty good book. The story is amazing but the writer put a lot of work to build a climax that it never really reached.

1 person found this helpful