In Hannah’s War, Jan Eliasberg, uses two mysteries from World War II – the woman who discovered nuclear fission and why the Germans never developed an atomic bomb – to create her own story of explanation. Both events led to the war’s conclusion to some degree – at least part of the motivation to create the atomic bomb was due to fear that the Germans were developing one, and the atomic bomb wouldn’t have been possible without nuclear fission.
Jack has been assigned to find the spy in their midst who’s suspected of collaborating with the Germans, and like with any good spy story, he finds and participates in lies, secrets, deception, suspicion, and double crossings as he tries to extract the truth from Hannah. Jack and Hannah develop a trust and affection for each other. It is only at the end of this quick-reading story that the reader, along with the characters, learn the real truth.
In addition to the story, the reader is allowed behind the scenes of a physics experiment that ended up changing the world permanently. Not only does Hannah’s War weave an interesting story answering a big “what if,” but it also brings to light an individual forgotten from history, Dr. Lise Meitner.
I read this book in about a week, so on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it a seven and a half.
Source: Eliasberg, Jan. (1919.) Hannah’s War. Little, Brown and Company: New York, NY.