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21 January 2018

BOOM! The Chemistry and History of Explosives

By the title I was super excited to read this book. A chemistry guy who loved to blow things up in my youth, I was ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Instead what I got was a rather dry read. The history was interesting and the chemistry, precise but the writing was dull and it was a struggle to complete. That being said, it was not a lost cause.

Simon Quellen Field leads us on the path through the history of things that go BOOM! and in doing so, teaches us the basics of the chemical properties needed to make explosives. Though dry and often hard to understand, Field does what he intended, or at least what I think he intended. He teaches us that explosives are a complex subject with many cool pathways. We learn about everything from TNT to black powder to more exotic boom booms. He also teaches us that not all of these tools of destruction were made by design, many were simple accidents.

Field sheds light on a subject you are not likely to get in school and for this he deserves to be applauded. From a technical point the book s awesome, from a literary point if falls flat.  I would recommend this book only to most die hard nerds who truly want to know every detail about the hows and whys of explosive lore.

Assuming you are one of those die hard chemically adept nerd, you may buy the book on Amazon.


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