In 1956—from Saturday, May 5 to Sunday, July 22—17 high yield nuclear devices (otherwise known as H-Bombs) were detonated in top secret tests. Ground Zero was located in the South Pacific because, according to the Department of Defense, the weapons “could not be tested in Nevada.”
Why? They were “unsafe.”
NUKED (19,000 words) focuses primarily on these explosions, codenamed Operation Redwing, and tells the story of What Went Wrong. What was dangerous. What it felt like being a human guinea pig.
1,612 army men (including me, a draftee) were exposed to radiation. So was the rest of the all male contingent (civilians and members of other armed forces), a total of 14,643. We were left to fend for ourselves and had to face radioactivity and military incompetence without recourse, relief or protective gear.
NUKED, by Michael Harris, is a companion to his memoir, THE ATOMIC TIMES: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground, nominated by Random House for a Pulitzer Prize.
“THE ATOMIC TIMES is a gripping memoir of the first H-bomb tests by one of the small groups of servicemen stationed at Ground Zero on Eniwetok Atoll. Leavened by humor, loyalty and pride of accomplishment, this book is also a tribute to the resilience, courage and patriotism of the American soldier.” — Dr. Henry Kissinger
THE ATOMIC TIMES is available in an e-book edition at Kindle.