When the United States detonated its first hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in 1954 it conveniently neglected to evacuate the inhabited islands downwind of the blast, exposing the unsuspecting natives to enormous levels of radioactive fallout. The oversight was minimized with a callous what's-done-is-done argument, but evidence has since shown it to have been a deliberate (and successful) attempt to provide scientists with a perfect, insulated testing ground for studying the effects of radiation on human beings. Dennis O'Rourke's look at the harrowing aftermath to Operation Bravo sounds at times like speculative fiction, but his evenhanded documentation of some damning facts is too convincing to be anything but the truth. President Reagan himself is allowed to deliver the final epitaph, tacitly admitting a duplicity of frightening proportions.
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