2009-05-08 / Top Stories

'The Day We Lost the H-Bomb'

By Jessica Durham

"The Day We Lost The H-Bomb" is the new book from author Barbara Moran. "The Day We Lost The H-Bomb" is the new book from author Barbara Moran. Barbara Moran found the Cold War nuclear bomb incident in Spain interesting and decided to do more research on the subject. She never thought she had to go through so much hassle to get her information.

The information was classified, Moran said, so she had to get it declassified by the government. "It took a long time," Moran remarked. She even did research all over the country and beyond. She traveled to the B-52 planes in North Dakota. She went to Spain to uncover more information about the nuclear bomb incident. She went all over the United States to interview over 100 people.

Moran has always been interested in science and history. A few years ago, she was at Woods Hole, a science research institute in Massachusetts, and came across a small plaque about the fourth bomb located after the nuclear bomb incident. She had never heard of the story before. But she found science and deep ocean technology interesting, and so Moran decided to do more research about the story and the characters. This is why she took it upon herself to write her first book called "The Day We Lost the HBomb," published by Random House on April 29, 2009.

Moran said that her family has a house in Breezy Point. Her grandparents were among the original house owners in that section of Rockaway. She spent some summers down there, and during her research period she decided to do most of the research in Breezy Point. "Some of my best research was done in Breezy Point." Moran said. She got a lot of work done because it was quiet.

"The Day We Lost the H-Bomb" is a true story with true characters about the worst nuclear accident in history. The accident occurred in 1966 during the Cold War. A U.S. bomber that carried four nuclear bombs collided with another plane over the village of Palomares. As a result of the collision, the plane dropped four hydrogen bombs. Three of the bombs fell on land and the fourth fell in the ocean. The book talks about how the U.S. had a hard time finding the fourth bomb in the ocean and that the whole accident involved a huge amount of money. Seven men who were in the planes died as a result of the accident.

The book's website, www.writtenbybarbaramoran. com, simply states, "'The Day We Lost the H-Bomb' is a singular work of military history that effortlessly and dramatically captures Cold War hysteria, high-stakes negotiations, and the race to clean up a disaster of unprecedented scope."

The book also talks about how the U.S. set up a camp of 700 men to clean up the debris and radioactive soil and plants to bring back to the U.S. The U.S. never cleaned up all the debris, which the book discusses, and explains the strained relationship between Spain and the U.S. The accident created tension between the two countries and put the future of U.S. bases in Spain in jeopardy.

There is some controversy over what caused the accident, Moran said. The question is whether it was an error by the pilot of the plane or was there something wrong with the plane. Another controversy is about the radioactive plutonium released during the accident. People argue how bad the damage was and how to go about cleaning up the radioactivity from the accident, Moran said.

The author graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Boston University's graduate program in science and medical reporting, according to the website. She lives in Boston with her husband and 14-month-old son. She is a writer and a television documentary producer. She is now working on a documentary for the National Geographic about the solar eclipse in the summer.

The story in "The Day We Lost the H-Bomb" is really interesting and it's for anyone who is interested or not interested in history, Moran said. "People need to be aware that these accidents happen." Everyone needs to be aware that nuclear weapons have risks," Moran explains. "America tends to forget about history very quickly." After reading this book, one should definitely be a little more aware of the real consequences of a nuclear bomb, whether it's an accident or not.

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