The Bomb (novel)

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The Bomb is a 1995 novel by Theodore Taylor written to protest against nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll after the natives are forced to move. It was first published by Harcourt Children's Books in October 1995. The book won the 1996 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Plot summary[edit]

Sorry Rinamu is a sixteen-year old boy who lives on Bikini Atoll. In book one, Sorry and the natives live through World War II under constant threat by the Japanese soldiers occupying the island. However, one day, American forces attack the island, defeating the Japanese soldiers, and freeing the island. After they defeat the Japanese they give some of their equipment to the natives, but they keep the military equipment such as weapons. Sorry got a magazine when they were dividing the items obtained from the Japanese soldiers and is amazed by the cities and things he sees in the magazine. Later, World War II ends.

However, an American battleship lands in the lagoon, and a few days later, an American commander, one of which represents Operation Crossroads, delivers the news to the natives that Bikini has been chosen as a site for nuclear tests due to "ideal" conditions, and asks the villagers to move. Most agree, but Abram, Sorry's uncle, insists that the villagers should not submit so easily to white men, yet they still do. The villagers vote to move away from the island. The American tells the natives that the atoll will be returned in a few years, but Abram and Sorry believe that he is lying.

As scientists arrive on the atoll, it is being converted to a temporary military base. Abram comes up with a plan to stop the nuclear tests by sailing into the test area with a scarlet canoe, but he dies of a heart attack before he could carry out the plan. When Sorry decides that he should do it, the natives believe that he is insane, yet he is accompanied by Tara Malolo, a local teacher, and his maternal grandfather, Jonjen.

They carry out their plan, but the bombers fail to notice the canoe, and/or the light glinting of the tin they brought with them and they are killed by the blast.

The natives return in 1969 and stay for ten years, but doctors notice a radioactive element left over by the blast, Cesium 137, and the natives leave the island again.