Bobby and the A-Bomb Factory: Growing Up on the Banks of the Columbia
Bobby was born in the middle of the Cold War in the shadow of the big A-bomb factory which employed his father, a poor farm boy made good, This was the factory that made the Nagasaki bomb. Stumbling through childhood, Bobby is unaware that the area where he is growing up was once the home of the proud Plateau Indian culture, sharing with the bomb factory a deep dependence on the mighty Columbia River coursing through eastern Washington. In this memoir, at times touching, at times troubling, at times exhilarating, a grown-up Bob traces his father's family back to the great-grandparents who eked out a destitute existence on the South Dakota prairie, and retells his father's astonishing leap from crippled farm boy to Ph.D. physicist working on the nation's most advanced weapons programs. Bob presents a deeply personal account of how his father tried, with mixed success, to balance his roles as scientist, husband, father, and church member. He pulls together the threads connecting him to the Indians whose unseen culture surrounded him as a child, their great spiritual and political leaders Smohalla and Chief Joseph, and the missionaries who came west in the 1800s to bring them the white man's religion.
"Bobby " goes on to recount disturbing stories of the corners cut to get the A-bomb ready to drop on Japan, pauses to ponder the nature of human disease, and paints an unforgettable picture of daily life in mid-century America.